Part 1: Our events and athletes
As we pass the halfway point of the year, we look back at what we have been busy with. While it may seem that nothing much has been happening, the Singapore Squash team has been working tirelessly in our mission to promote, support and advance squash, at both the elite and recreational level.
In this two part series, we first look at the events that took place, had planned but were not able to run, and the current status. We also update you on our national team, who continue to train tirelessly despite the uncertainty of events.
The Squash Ball is a fund-raiser event that was planned to take place in March 2020 to raise funds for an interim squash centre in light of the demolition of Kallang Squash Centre to make way for the Kallang Alive project.
The gala dinner was first planned to take place on 16 March 2020 and with COVID-19 coming into the picture, we postponed the event to 15 November 2020. As we know, we couldn’t have hosted such a big event given the circumstances. Given the changing Safe Management Measures every now and then, we have decided to postpone the event to August 2022, where we hope things will be a lot more settled then.
World Squash Federation Level 1 Coaching Course
After a hiatus of over a year, we managed to successfully complete the WSF Level 1 Coaching Course over the Hari Raya Puasa weekend (13-15 May 2021) at the Mountbatten Square and Singapore Swimming Club.
While it was planned as a 4-day course, we were forced to shorten it to three after the Further Restrictions Under Phase 2 (Heightened Alert) announcement that took effect from 16 May 2021.
Due to the Safe Management Measures, we were over-subscribed and only managed to accept 13 participants. Amongst the 13 were our national trainees Aaron Liang, Chua Man Tong and Jerome Aw.
The addition of more qualified coaches is certainly welcoming as it means more people can now learn our sport the correct way!
National Squash League
For many squash enthusiasts, the National Squash League is one of the highlight of their squash calendars. We did not manage to run it in 2020 due to the COVID-19 situation, but we were very hopeful we could do so at the beginning of this year as the situation became stable and manageable, so we opened registration for the season on 9 March 2021.
Eight Vets 2 ties were due to kick off the league on 5 May 2021, but the Phase 3 (Heightened Alert) announcement that came on 4 May 2021 meant we were left with no choice but to cancel the event yet again.
The SSRA membership fees will be waived for all teams who have submitted complete registrations for the NSL.
SGSquash Individual Events and Lexian Cup
We were fortunate enough that we were able to complete Tech Mahindra SGSquash Novice Tournament on 6 May 2021, just in time before the Phase 3 (Heightened Alert) measures kicked in on 8 May 2021. Chua Wan Tong and Liao Wenjun took top honours at the event after a week of competition.
The MARIGOLD SGSquash Circuit #2 that was due to start on 22 May 2021 is now postponed to 14-18 August 2021, effectively replacing the dates originally planned for the Circuit #3 that will now be cancelled.
The Oncocare SGSquash Junior Circuit #2 that was scheduled for 19-26 June 2021 however, is cancelled. This is in line with the announcement from the Ministry of Education to cease all youth-related events.
With international travel still not possible without the need for quarantine, the Lexian Cup remains the only possible jumbo doubles event. Originally scheduled to take place on 8-18 July at the Tanglin Club, it is now postponed indefinitely. However, we are still hopeful and are working with the club to find alternative dates given the current Safe Management Measures.
National team continues to prepare for major events
With the COVID-19 situation still looming, many major events on the international squash calendar are still doubtful. However, this hasn’t deterred our elite team from training hard to ensure they are competition-ready.
Even through the period where the squash courts were closed to the public, we managed to get clearance from SportSG to allow our senior high performance team to continue training under strict Safety Measures Management, while the rest of the team trained via Zoom meetings.
One of the biggest events on the calendar for us is the 20th Asian Team Championships, which is tentatively scheduled to be held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on 16-20 November 2021.
This is a highly important event because it serves as a qualification event for the 2022 Asian Games in Hangzhou, China. The Singapore National Olympic Council, who funds the major games trips, has given us a target of a top six finish for both the men’s and women’s teams to be included.
Following the Asian Team Championships, the Men’s World Team Championships is also scheduled to take place in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on 7-11 December 2021. Two years ago, we had made a historic return to the event in Washington DC, USA, having not participated for 22 years.
Another event on our radar is the SEA Cup, which Thailand is hoping to host. However, there is no confirmation from them yet as they are assessing the situation on a day-by-day basis. We have traditionally done well in this event and we hope to be able to compete in this one.
We hope you have been squashing once again now that the courts have re-opened. Please continue to train hard as we are working equally hard to make the events on our calendar happen. Most importantly, please enjoy your squash!