Just 12 months after visiting the northernmost squash court in the world, WISPA stars Nicol David, Rachael Grinham and Sarah Fitz-Gerald took time out during their promotional tour of South America to check out the most southerly court, in the Argentinean city of Ushuaia on Tierra Del Fuego.
David, the world number one and reigning world champion from Malaysia, is joined by Australians Rachael Grinham and Sarah Fitz-Gerald, the world No3 and record five-times world champion, respectively, on the ninth annual promotional expedition organised by the Women's International Squash Players' Association.
The tour to Argentina, Uruguay and Chile is the latest initiative in WISPA’s continuing drive to promote women's squash around the world.
Ushuaia is the capital of the Argentine province of Tierra del Fuego and is the world's southernmost city. Located on the southern coast of the island of Tierra del Fuego, in a setting surrounded by mountains and overlooking the Beagle Channel, the city has some 60,000 inhabitants - with an average age of 20!
The unique Ushuaia court is located in the Las Hayas hotel. The visit provided a perfect opportunity for the WISPA trio to catch up on training while in the exclusive tourist resort - in the middle of the region's winter!
"It is an unusual court, in that the ceiling ranges between half a metre and a metre from the out-of-court line - so lobbing is out of the question," said Queensland's Rachael Grinham.
"But I really enjoyed playing on it - and to have visited the nearest squash court to the South Pole is something special to add to my CV!" added the former world number one.
Last year's WISPA Promotional Tour of Estonia and Norway took in the Norwegian island of Svalbard, where the northernmost court is located, within some 200 miles of the North Pole!
Whilst in Ushuaia, the WISPA party spent a morning at a nearby ski resort up in the mountains, where the snow was thick.
"Being in Ushuaia has been a great experience," said Nicol David, a Malaysian who is more accustomed to considerably higher temperatures in her home town of Penang.
"Despite being in the same country, you couldn't imagine a more different atmosphere from that of the Argentina capital Buenos Aires, where we began the tour.
"I would love to come back here again in their summer - and, if I did, at least I could keep up with my on-court training!" added the 23-year-old.
From Ushuaia, the WISPA party move onto the third leg of the Tour in Montevideo, Uruguay, before concluding the programme in the Chile capital Santiago.
The WISPA Promotional Tour concept was launched in 1999 with a visit to the Czech Republic. Successive years featured trips to Jamaica, El Salvador, Peru, Kenya, Thailand, Brunei, Sarawak, Russia, China, Nepal, Jordan, Turkey and, last year, to Estonia and Norway.
Issued by Howard Harding on behalf of WISPA
Women’s International Squash Players' Association
Tel: (+44) 1737-243333; Mobile: (+44) 7773-325130; Email: HowHard@aol.com
WISPA: Tel: (+44) 20 7222 1667; Email: email@example.com
WSQ 3926 9 June 2007
FRANK UIJLENBROEK WORLDSPORTPICS