Squash: Attempt to avert English boycott

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The Independent Online
ENGLAND is in danger of having to participate in next year's World Team Championships in Pakistan without three leading players unless a threatened boycott of next month's National Championships in Manchester is called off.

With selection being conditional upon participation in the Nationals, the Squash Racquets Association has extended its deadline for entries by three days, until Monday, in the hope that the players may change their minds.

'We don't want to get into a blackmail situation,' Julie Goodacre, the SRA's events manager, said. 'We are not pressurising the players to play. We just want to allow time for communication so they are aware of the situation.'

The players involved are the defending champion, Peter Marshall, and six of the next seven on the national ranking list: Chris Walker, Simon Parke, Phil Whitlock, Tony Hands, Jason Nicolle, Stephen Meads and Del Harris. They are demanding that the decision to change the event's title from British to English National Championships be reversed and that there be a doubling of the prize fund.

The SRA has underwritten the tournament with pounds 10,000 prize money. However, that may not be enough to attract full-time touring professionals, four of whom can be included in a national team.

Marshall, who has qualified for the clashing Super Series final in Zurich, will be excused. In the last World Championships England won a silver medal.

Brett Martin, who had already knocked Pakistan's Jahangir Khan out of the Hong Kong Open, yesterday ended the run of England's Simon Parke. The Australian beat Parke 13-15, 15-8, 15-4, 15-8, to secure a semi-final place against his fellow countryman, Chris Dittmar. The other semi-final is also all-Australian, with Rodney Martin, who defeated England's Chris Walker, meeting Tristan Nancarrow.

Results, Sport in Short, page 51