A Cape Town crowd got the privilege of witnessing breath-taking squash on Women’s Day on the 9th of August 2019 at the Growthpoint SA Open held at V&A Waterfront, where local favourite Milnay Louw ensured that at least one South African would be represented in the finals of the tournament where she walked away with a silver medal.
With the number of women’s participation dropping, achievements such as these deserve to be celebrated and acknowledged in hopes of planting a seed of interest in new hopefuls.
Overlooking this challenge, juniors have various school leagues throughout the country, individual tournaments from Under 11 to Under 19, interprovincial tournaments (team) and Junior World Under 19 individual championships which takes place annually and the team championships taking place bi-annually.
Student athletes in tertiary institutions have individual events and world team events as well as USSA Championships and senior players are exposed to Provincial, National and PSA Individual events as well as senior Interprovincial – the Growthpoint interprovincial which has 2 women’s sections.
Fortunately, with funding from the Department of Sports, Arts and Culture there are 13 programmes country wide for juniors and there will be 10 more programmes focussing on women. One has been allocated to Department of Correctional Services and one to the SAPS.
Fuller and Louw Lead the Way for Upcoming Female Players
After the 80’s and 90’s domination of Renee Aucamp, who is a bronze medalist in the Women’s Doubles from the Commonwealth Games and Claire Nitch who earned a career high ranking on the World Circuit at number nine into the limelight appeared Siyoli Lusaseni (Waters) who reached a personal high of 28 on the world rankings and represented South Africa in 2008, 2010, 2012 and 2014.
She would have been in the team in 2016 but sadly due to there being no funding the Squash South Africa Executive did not send a team. Waters won the National title in 2013 and 2014 and was the runner-up in 2010, 2012 and 2016 and she was also a World Squash Federation Olympic Ambassador.
In recent years Alexandra Fuller and Louw who are both from Cape Town have been making their mark. In 2018 Fuller based herself in the UK and in 2019 Belfast became her home. She is presently ranked 41 with Louw standing at 71. Fuller won the SA National title in 2015 and 2018 and did not play last year (2019) and Milnay has won three times in 2016, 2017 and 2019.
2019 saw a number of PSA Closed satellites being played in South Africa – a real bonus for the players as they can earn valuable world ranking points without paying a fortune to travel overseas. In 2018 and 2019 Fuller received the UJ Sports Star award because of her achievements on the sports field and in her academics.
“We have a number of talented players in the Juniors side such as Panache Sithole (CG), Teagan Roux, Lara Patrick, Taryn Emslie (Border), Reese Thompson (NFS), Awande Malinga (N) and Savannah Ingledew (KZN) who need international exposure and regular tough squash in order for them to achieve in the international circuit,” states National Director of Squash South Africa, Liz Addison.
Squash SA held a strategy workshop on 17 October 2019 where; being different, supporting different conversations, relationships and actions, facilitated a constructive and successful workshop with members of the Squash Executive at the Wanderers Main Club.
“All provinces are encouraged to promote the sport although there are some challenges such as other sports dominating the school scene, funding, having teachers and not coaches and more women retiring to motherhood or the workplace which is applicable to everyone,” Addison concluded.
Photo 1 Caption: Milnay Louw, 2019 Growthpoint SA Open Runner Up. Photo: Ian Thurtell
With editing by gsport