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Squash - 05. April 2007.

British Open Becomes ‘Open’ To All Players

NEWS RELEASE

British Open Becomes ‘Open’ To All Squash Players

The opportunity for amateur club players to compete in the British Open Squash Championships - the ‘Wimbledon' of Squash - is launched today (Thursday) jointly by England Squash and the internationalSPORTgroup.

An extensive Pre-Qualification competition will offer players the chance to play against the world’s very best professionals on the spectacular all-glass show court at the Dunlop British Open – Manchester 2007.

The British Open, the world’s most important, prestigious and longest established squash championships, has been staged since 1922. Every professional player strives to win the sport’s blue riband event and any player who has won the British Open can lay claim to the status of ‘Number One in the World’.

Past champions include: Jahangir Khan (a record 10 titles from 1982 -1991), Geoff Hunt (8 titles from 1969-1981), Hashim Khan (7 titles from 1951-1958), Jonah Barrington (6 titles from 1967-1973), Jansher Khan (6 titles from 1992-1997), Heather McKay (a record 16 women's titles from 1962-1977), Susan Devoy (8 titles from 1984-1992), Michelle Martin (6 titles from 1993-1998) and Sarah Fitz-Gerald (2 titles 2001 & 2002).

Through this exciting new initiative, players will have the opportunity of competing in the world’s largest combined men’s and women’s squash championships - and the chance of progressing to the National Squash Centre in Sportcity, Manchester, where the championships will be watched by over 6,000 spectators from 20-24 September.

The 2007 Dunlop British Open Pre-Qualification is open to all England Squash members, with two men’s and women’s qualification places being awarded to the respective pre-qualification finalists.

Nick Rider, England Squash Chief Executive, said: “A central part of our plan for the British Open has always been to create a truly distinctive feel to this exceptional event. We believe that “Open” should really mean open – it works for the greatest golf championship in the world, so why not for squash?

"The chance for our members to say “I played in the Open” is really exciting," added Rider.

Paul Walters, of internationalSPORTgroup, added: "This is a truly unique opportunity for all squash players and enthusiasts to compete in the world’s oldest and prestigious tournament - one that recognises the origins of the British Open as ‘the Open’ championships.

"Last year’s British Open attracted players and spectators from over thirty-five different countries and we are confident that the introduction of pre-qualification will further add to the appeal and reach of the championships."

To join defending champions Nick Matthew and Nicol David and play the world’s very best professionals, players are requested to register their entry into the 2007 Dunlop British Open Pre-Qualification by telephone on 07973-544719 or via e-mail to info@iSPORTgroup.com.

- ENDS -

Issued by Howard Harding on behalf of England Squash

Tel: 01737-243333; Mobile: 07773-325130; Email: Howard.Harding@englandsquash.com

ES 210 5 April 2007

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