Revolutionary outdoor court to make squash more accessible to hundreds of Birmingham pupils as Commonwealth Games approach
A new innovative outdoor squash court has been officially unveiled today at King Solomon International Business School in Birmingham which aims to build on the excitement of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games and introduce the sport of squash to potentially thousands of young people.
World No.5 squash player Sarah-Jane Perry and Perry the Bull – the official Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games mascot – opened the court alongside England Squash CEO Mark Williams and Founder of the school, Dr Cheron Byfield.
Funded by England Squash, the new court is the latest in a series of initiatives by Squash United, the collaborative group leading the squash legacy programme which is an official project of United by Birmingham 2022, the community programme for the Commonwealth Games.
More than 600 pupils at the school will benefit from the new court, which will help to improve physical and mental wellbeing both in curriculum time and outside of school hours. 12 pupils and eight teachers have received Squash Activator training so that they can help deliver squash sessions to their peers.
Mark Williams said: “We are so proud to be part of Squash United and to have funded this amazing new court, which we hope will inspire a new generation of players to develop a lifelong love of squash.
“It’s a hugely exciting year for squash as we look to build on the excitement around the Commonwealth Games to make the game more accessible than ever.
“This revolutionary outdoor court concept could be a game changer for school squash, and we would love to see more being installed up and down the country to help engage young people in our game.”
Ming Lee, founder of Squash United said: “We are delighted to be creating new sporting opportunities at King Solomon International Business School and a tangible Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games legacy. It’s wonderful to give Birmingham children a Game’s experience and ignite dreams of being a future squash star like Birmingham-born Sarah-Jane Perry!
“This amazing playground squash court has been designed to be flexible and scalable as part of a coordinated programme to create a squash culture in schools and a pathway into clubs across the country.
“Making squash visible, accessible and appealing to young people is vital to our mission of having more people playing squash after Birmingham 2022 than before COVID-19.”
Dr Cheron Byfield said: “I am delighted that the children at King Solomon International Business School will have the opportunity to play and learn this exciting sport.
“Thank you to the Parent School Partnership and everyone who brought this project together. This innovative yet bespoke mini squash court really is a thing of beauty. I should also like to thank England Squash for donating the funds to make it a reality and Squash United for training our Sixth formers and teachers to be Squash Activators for the school children. This is a wonderful legacy of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, and our children and the community will enjoy it for many years to come.”
John Crabtree, Chairman of Birmingham 2022, said: “It is wonderful to see this great concept of introducing squash courts to new spaces and communities in Birmingham come to life.
“The court will be a unique addition to the playground at this school, enabling greater participation within the sport and a chance for some young people to play squash for the very first time.
“As a permanent feature at the school, the court will be a great long-lasting benefit linked to the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, raising the profile of one of our sports and allowing more local youngsters to engage with this exciting sport.”