Pictured Right - Defending junior champion Diego Elias (Peru)
Organisers of one of the biggest squash events to hit New Zealand's shores have received a significant boost, a year out from the world junior championships in Tauranga.
The Government has announced it is investing $110,000 through the Major Events Development Fund for the July 19-28 2017 event, with Tauranga City Council also contributing $60,000 through its Major Events Fund.
The tournament will feature 250 of the best under-19 players on the planet, hailing from more than 30 countries, and will also incorporate the women's world junior team championships.
It will be the largest international sporting championships to be held in Tauranga, with a portable glass court and live-streaming to be used to showcase the city.
Organising committee chairman Wayne Werder said the funding announcement will allow the tournament to be run to the highest standards, ensuring the athletes, management staff and supporters arriving from around the world enjoy the best experience possible.
"We want our visiting athletes to taste the hospitality that New Zealand is renowned for and to leave with exceptional memories, while at the same time enjoying a tournament of the highest standard," Werder said. "This funding will help take the championships to the next level and we're delighted to be working in with both Major Events and the Tauranga City Council to help achieve that.
Tauranga Mayor Stuart Crosby said the benefits to the city would be significant and ongoing.
“Major events play a key role in showcasing Tauranga to a national and global audience; they bring economic activity and visitors year-round, and create an exciting city residents can be proud of," he said. “Tauranga City Council is proud to be a crucial part of bringing high profile events like this not only to the city, but also to the region. It is a great opportunity for our residents to embrace a world class event and to welcome visitors and athletes to the beautiful Bay of Plenty."
The tournament will be the first time New Zealand has hosted a world junior squash event since 2006, with three venues - the Devoy Squash & Fitness Centre in Tauranga and the Te Puke and Mount Maunganui clubs - hosting the 10-day tournament.
The glass court comprises 52 glass sections, weighing 100kg, that gives spectators a 360-degree view of the players. It was successfully used in Mount Maunganui's Bayfair shopping mall during the Mount Festival of Squash from 2008-09 and most recently at the Pak'n Save PSA tournament in Tauranga last month.
This year's world junior championships will be held in August in Poland, with 26 nations represented in the team competition alone.
Pictured Below - Defending junior champion Nouran Gohar (Egypt)