A whopping $18,000 was raised at the Friends of Squash fundraiser event organised by Ultimate Squasher. Held over a Saturday afternoon, the event saw squash aficionados throng the Kallang Squash Centre to contribute their donations in return for a game with their favourite national player.
Just to put things into perspective, World Champion Tarek Momen and World Number 6 Diego Elias both walked home with USD 12,000 (approx. SGD 17,000) each when they won the Canada Cup and Motor City Open (both $70k events on the PSA World Tour) last month. Tarek took a total of 3 hours and 42 minutes over the course of 4 days to win this amount, while Diego took about an hour less. On average, that works out to just over 3 hours.
Well, that was also about how long it took the 150 people to raise the $18,000 at the Kallang Squash Centre.
For a minimum of $50, one gets to play a national junior. Double that, and one gets a national senior of their choice. However, the turnout was so overwhelming that there were many who didn’t actually get a game due to court and time constraints. It is especially encouraging to see many who had paid for game but did not actually get one, still decided to contribute to the fund.
Sandra Wu, former Singapore national coach and one half of Ultimate Squasher, who was seen at the event busy scheduling matches was clearly overwhelmed by the response to the event:
“We are surprised and encouraged by the numbers that turned up. It just goes to show that we have a vibrant and strong squash community in Singapore. The national players were amazing themselves. They turned up in full force and they have inspired many on the day.
“Squash has grown from strength to strength over the years. We certainly have a healthy following as we can see today. The whole purpose of the event is to assist SSRA in their plans of getting us a new squash home. I think it is timely that Kallang is going so that the authorities can plan for a more improved Squash centre that is befitting of Singapore.”
It is estimated about 100 games took place and what was also surprising was the fact that many had contributed and played more than once.
Apart from Singapore’s finest, the event was also graced by former World Number 5 Low Wee Wern and Elvinn Keo, both whom are known strong supporters of Singapore Squash. Wee Wern has been around for tournaments and coaching clinics, while Elvinn is currently a regular sparring partner here.
Wee Wern was undoubtedly the crowd puller at the event and even at $200 a game, she was fully booked up. The Malaysian number one was full of praise of the event and said:
“I think the event was pretty successful raising $18,000 in just a matter of 3 hours. Singapore is very close to home and to see familiar faces coming out to support the event is uplifting, especially during these challenging times with the virus. It’s also good to see that squash is not a dying sport here and I’m thrilled to be a part of the passionate group people doing everything they can to help the sport we all love.
I would like to thank Ultimate Squasher for organising such a meaningful event, SSRA for their support and a special mention to Josef (Ching), who was my sponsor when I was just starting out my career, who did a Head racket sale here where all the profits were channelled to the event as well. Some were even lucky enough to get the special WWL signed Head rackets.”
Fellow Penangite Elvinn Keo was also a popular figure on the day. Many have often seen him bedazzle their eyes with his shot making skills at various tournaments in Kallang over the years, so many took the opportunity to square off with him. Just to add spice to the competition, Elvinn sportingly played most of his games with an old wooden racket. Even with such a disadvantage, he still managed to push all his challengers to the limit!
“I’m very happy and honoured to be part of this and be able to help Singapore squash in a way. It is very encouraging to see people coming down to support. A big thank you to Ultimate Squasher and SSRA for hosting this and of course, the supporters who came and made this a success”, Elvinn said.
As part of the One Team Singapore Fund (OTSF) and Bicentennial Community Fund (BCF), every dollar raised from the event will be matched by the government. While the event was a success, we are still a little off from the targeted maximum $800,000 amount. As of Friday, 20 March 2020, we have received $647,320 (including amount raised from this fundraiser) and we are just over $150,000 short.
We still have a week to get to that amount and we urge you to help us get there. You can do so at the following url : www.giving.sg/singapore-squash-rackets-association_27652914 or contact SSRA at firstname.lastname@example.org / email@example.com.