It’s finals day at the Karakal British Open Masters Squash at Colets Health and Fitness in Thames Ditton, England. The event has attracted a record number of more than 300 entrants competing in 18 age categories across the Men’s and Women’s Championships. Players have travelled from neighbouring countries, mainland Europe and further afield, such as Australia, the North Americas and South Africa.
A visit on Day 2 of the event was like a trip down memory lane. There were many familiar names among the draw, some local and others former nationals. It’s great to see people still playing through the age-categories. It’s a rejuvenating process every five years as you come of age and enter a new category. The tactically astute save themselves and turn up every five years a mere youngster in an older category, hoping to seek an age advantage.
Ross Norman is one that pops out of retirement brushing the dust off his rackets each time he qualifies for a new age category. But in his case it’s more of a personal challenge and he has tended to outplay everyone. I would not expect anything less – Ross was the player who brought Jahangir Khan’s unbeaten run of 555 victories to an end in the final of the 1986 World Open in France.
It was great to see Peter Marshall in the over 45s, still enjoying squash with his deceptive two-handed style. There will be more tired but determined bodies in action as the Championships reach their finale today. The flesh might not be quite as willing, but these troopers clearly get an adrenaline rush from playing, so more power to their elbow!
It can viewed online via http://www.englandsquashmasters.co.uk/