Christchurch SC recently held an R18 Women's-only tournament with a twist, all in the name of showcasing the sport to more women. The event was part of the Year of Women's Squash which encourages clubs and Districts to run programmes and events that are targeted towards the specific needs and wants of women and girls.
The club held the Tournament over the weekend of 9-11 August and had some coverage in the large Christchurch newspaper, The Press. The tournament drew 52 entries - half for the graded divisions and importantly half for the social draws. By allowing non-graded players to participate, the club removed a barrier for many women, who feel that they are simply not good enough to participate in competitions. Players ranged from A2 to non-graded and included eight players who were so new to squash that had only ever held a racket a couple of times!
During the event, the host club were determined to offer more than just squash and transformed their facility into a market atmosphere with a coffee cart and plenty of home baking. At lunchtime everyone was invited to a free Zumba class held in the lounge, which was a very popular attraction! The evening function included more food, wine (of course!) and a fashion show where four lucky ladies were given a free styleover.
The tournament received a lot of positive feedback and the club are so pleased with the event that they plan to make it annual and have already started making plans for next year's event, which they hope will attract even bigger numbers. A key measure of success for the club was whether any of the participants enjoyed their experience so much that they joined the club... and in that they have succeeded, as the feedback below suggests...
"... just want reiterate again our thanks and congratulations on a awesome tournament over the weekend! We had such a cool time and really really enjoyed the social on saturday... what has come out of it are 4 new-bees to squash. ...the body isn't suffering too much today, surprisely and we are getting together to have a hit tomorrow night. We look forward to the next tourney" - Darlene
"Hi Christine, I would just like to congratulate you and your tournament team on a fabulous tournament. I had a lot of fun and some great squash. It was great to see so many new players and I hope they enjoyed it as much as I did." - Eleanor
Squash New Zealand would like to congratulate Christchurch SC on their great Year of Women's Squash initiative and wish them well in their future events.
Article and photos courtesy of Chris Cumming