‘We expect a low key season for squash,’ chairman Prosper | 22 May 2020
Seychelles Squash Association chairman Ridvan Prosper says that he expects it to be a quiet 2020 season for his sport.
Chairman Prosper, who is also an active squash player and the former number one local player, said that there are various factors that have affected squash this season amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“We had planned to renovate the squash court this season and this was to take place in April soon after our first local competition but this was not possible due to the COVID-19 pandemic which forced the country into lockdown and we could not receive the necessary building materials which we had ordered from Mauritius,” explains Prosper.
The squash chairman added that they had ordered special materials from Mauritius to enable them to resurface the squash courts but the equipment was stuck at the port and only arrived in the country last week.
“The delay in shipment was due to the coronavirus issue and now that we have received the necessary materials which we have stored at Land Marine we still have another problem on hand as the two South African experts who were supposed to undertake this job cannot travel as a result of the close down of borders and no available flights. Therefore, we will have to see in a couple of weeks if we can get a local contractor to do this job with this special wood which requires good expertise and particular knowledge and therefore we will ensure that the quality of the resurfacing is much better than the last time it was repaired,” claimed chairman Prosper.
Start of season
Mr Prosper also spoke about the bad start to the 2020 season when they could not hold their first team tournament for numerous reasons.
“We had a very successful 2019 season where we managed to organise all our competitions which were on our calendar with good support from our sponsors. Unfortunately, this season we did not have the best of starts as we had to cancel our curtain-raiser tournament as there was a lack of players. We needed not less than 20 players to organise a team tournament. In fact, I feel that this was due to some players travelling abroad while others were injured which is a result of the poor state of the court,” remarked Mr Prosper.
The squash association chairman felt that therefore it will be difficult to organise any competition until the courts are fixed to make it safe for the players.
“The renovation work on the squash court is our top priority for this season and for the moment, we cannot organise any tournament as the playing surface is not conducive and in light of the post COVID-19 health advisory in regards to social distancing. Since squash is a contact sport and the members socialise a lot together after tournaments, it will be difficult to organise competitions during this current period,” Mr Prosper related to Sports NATION as he also said that they have put on hold their youth development programme.
Sponsorship of tournament
The squash association also faces another dilemma in relation to sponsorship it receives from their faithful partners to help it organise its competitions on a yearly basis.
“We are very grateful that it is through generous sponsorships from our faithful partners that we have been able to purchase necessary equipment for renovation works to the courts. But with the economic situation, we don’t feel it would be appropriate to expect some of our usual sponsors to be able to sustain their support for our competitions at a time when all businesses are struggling,” felt Mr Prosper.
Restart of competitions
Nonetheless, chairman Prosper was adamant that they will be organising a couple of tournaments in the latter stages of the 2020 season.
“We may be encountering quite a number of difficulties at the moment but we are very confident that once our courts have been renovated, we will be able to organise at least two competitions such as the Eden Island and UCPS tournaments as we want to end the season on a high note. Then next season we will be in full swing with our complete calendar,” squash chairman Prosper told Sports NATION in conclusion.