August 7 – The Professional Squash Association (PSA) has named former England international Tim Garner as its European representative in its latest move to boost the sport ahead of its vote for inclusion in the 2020 Olympic Games.
After competing on the PSA World Tour for more than ten years and reaching a career high world ranking of 26, Garner has a wealth of experience in administration and event management which makes him an “outstanding candidate” for the new position, it is claimed.
As well as managing the British Squash Professionals’ Association (BSPA) since its inception in 1993, the 43-year old teamed up with fellow ex-professionals Angus Kirkland and 1999 World Open champion Peter Nicol to form Eventis Sports Marketing in 2002 to promote sporting events.
The company has successfully staged a number of competitions, including the PSA International 50 Canary Wharf Classic, which celebrated its tenth anniversary in London this year.
Garner has also been involved in various publicity events, including the Xodus Seven Continent Challenge in April, where he and Nicol contested seven squash matches in seven days and on seven different continents, and he sees his latest position as another chance to raise the profile of his sport:
“I am excited by the opportunity not only to work with the PSA, but also the various European Federations, to help grow our fantastic sport in the region,” Garner said.
“I will be looking to harness the talent, enthusiasm and endeavour that already exists – and help facilitate more opportunities for the players to play events and the public to see those players in action.
“In doing so this can only be good moving forwards into what will hopefully be an Olympic era, and if not will still I am sure be a period of growth for our wonderful sport.”
Lee Beachill, chief operating officer of the PSA, was similarly delighted to make the announcement and sees the appointment as “a major addition to the PSA team”.
He added: “Europe is a growing market for the PSA and we have no doubt that he will help advance our presence in this region.”
Although squash is a popular sport in many European countries, including Britain, the Netherlands and France – which won its first ever World Games men’s singles title this week courtesy of Gregory Gaultier – its profile is lower in some regions.
The appointment is consequently a further attempt to broaden its appeal in the build-up to the Olympic programme decision, which is due to be made on September 8 at the International Olympic Committee (IOC) session in Buenos Aries.
Squash is competing with wrestling and a combined baseball/softball bid for the one slot and is proposing knock-out singles competitions involving 32 male and female players.