More youths have started taking up squash, and Squash Racquets Association Vice-President Raymond Tan believes the popularity of the sport is on the rise (photo by VOXSPORTS).
Squash is very much a fairly overlooked sport here. Many still have misconceptions about the game. Squash is a racquet game played between either 2 or 4 players depending on whether it’s a singles or doubles match, where players must take turns to hit the ball against a playable surface on the 4 walls.
The trend of squash has been a real roller-coaster ride. Studies done by the Straits Times in the 2010 showed an increase in bookings of squash courts over a period of time back then. That doesn’t seem to be the case nowadays as many squash courts around Singapore have been replaced by other sports facilities to cater to other types of sports.
“I do think that the sport is on the rise actually, mainly because more youths are taking part in it,” mentioned an optimistic Raymond Tan, Vice President of the Singapore Squash Rackets Association. “The only thing that I would deem as an obstacle is the lack of facilities for squash players to practice, as most of the courts end up being in the private condominiums.”
A Turn for the Better
After constant dips and rises in the trend of squash participation, things are finally making a turn for the better in the local squash scene. Wooden racquets no longer hold a place amongst local players and have since been replaced by sturdier professional racquets. Facilities to play squash have been vastly improved and now can be found in many parts of Singapore. Increased media coverage for the sport, such as live telecast of the CIMB Open, has also contributed to the growth.
Other continued efforts to keep the sport alive are such as SAFRA and SAFSA incorporating squash courts into their club facilities for squash enthusiasts. A vast majority of condominiums have also incorporated squash courts into their facilities having seen the rise in the number of people taking part in it.
With youth categories springing up even in international squash competitions, it is evident that the younger crowd has taken a liking to the sport and are not only participating in it as a hobby, but are also stepping forward to take part in the sport competitively.
“I think Squash has recently become a huge sport for the youth community in Singapore. It can be seen from this championships especially, where over 100 of the participants are actually from the youth crowd,” commented Raymond Tan.
Unlike Rugby, where one might argue that it’s a game for men, the humble game of squash is a game for both males and females. The sheer number of categories for girls and women in the championships itself shows the impact the sport has left on the female gender as well.
The resurgence of the sport can also be identified as more people are attempting to pick up the sport. Many are opening avenues for these people to do so; websites such as squashpassion.com where training sessions from professional coaches have been offered to those interested. Various other organizations such as the Learnemy have also opened their doors to offer squash lessons.
With these efforts being stepped up to promote squash to the public and to increase participation, the sport will definitely gain presence in the local sporting scene in no time.
The Masonry National Squash Championships 2013 is back again this year with various competitive categories for squash enthusiasts to participate in. Coined as the biggest squash competition held in Singapore, the championships this year is held at the Kallang Squash Centre and will be played from 18th July to 27th July.