London, June 22, 2018: The World Squash Federation (WSF) and the Professional Squash Association (PSA) today announced the line-up of their joint initiative SquashFORWARD.
The programme brings together eight top young squash players (four young women and four young men), all under 23 years old, with the aim to further actively engage with the next generations and shape the future of squash as a vibrant and healthy sport.
Quite symbolically, the announcement comes on the eve of the Olympic Day, envisioned to encourage young people to move, learn and discover new sports.
The SquashFORWARD members selected from across the world each bring her or his own perspective on the future of their sport.
They will become the ambassadors of thousands of young players internationally and will aim to capture the aspirations of their generation. Nour El Sherbini from Egypt (WR #1) and Diego Elias from Peru (WR #11) will co-chair the group.
The development follows on the announcement made by WSF president Jacques Fontaine in April 2018 in Bangkok during the SportAccord Convention.
SquashFORWARD line-up [for more background information please refer to the Note to Editors below]:
Victor CROUIN (France, 18 y.o)
Diego ELIAS (Peru, 21 y.o)
Nour EL SHERBINI (Egypt, 22 y.o)
Eain Yow NG (Malaysia, 20 y.o)
Marina STEFANONI (United States, 15 y.o)
Dimitri STEINMANN (Switzerland, 20 y.o)
Nadia USENKO (Ukraine, 18 y.o)
Satomi WATANABE (Japan, 19 y.o)
The group will meet regularly over the next few months to share their vision of the sport and discuss how to make the game even more innovative, inclusive and sustainable than it is today.
SquashFORWARD will kick off its activity at the Dutch Junior Open, which will be held in Amsterdam from 12-15 July.
Members of the initiative will host a focus group with junior players from all over the world and gather their ideas focusing on four major topics: innovation, sustainability, inclusiveness and accessibility.
SquashFORWARD will analyse the ideas in the weeks that will follow the tournament and turn them into a set of practical recommendations.
It is envisioned that SquashFORWARD will share their findings and forward-looking recommendations during the Buenos Aires Youth Olympic Games in October where squash will be present as a showcase sport.
Nour El Sherbini, WR #1 and SquashFORWARD co-chair, said: “Being on top of the World Rankings is a huge responsibility and I feel that I have to give back what I’ve learnt, to give back for the future of the sport which means so much to my life and the lives of so many young people around the world.
Through the SquashFORWARD initiative, I’m sure we can capture a dialogue between continents and generations and shape how squash should develop in the next years.”
WSF President Jacques Fontaine said: “SquashFORWARD is an initiative truly driven by the youngest stars of squash, many of whom dream one day to become Olympic champions.
I’m sure this programme will create new thought leaders and help our sport remain at the forefront of what young people seek today from a sport that matches their lifestyles and aspirations.”
PSA CEO Alex Gough added: “One of the core missions of squash is to provide access to sport to young people all around the world. In dialogue with young players on the SquashFORWARD group we can ensure that we do it in the best possible way.” —- WSF