Birmingham 2022 medal contender Sarah-Jane Perry believes that the new temporary glass squash court installed at Birmingham New Street station this week can inspire a new generation of squash players to watch the sport and even give it a try themselves.
“The glass court at New Street is colourful, it’s vibrant but it looks sharp as well,” said Perry, who is from Kenilworth and will be competing at her home Games this July.
“It looks intriguing and people are going to be drawn into what’s going on. The modern day glass courts we have in squash nowadays look really slick and they really pop and this one looks fantastic in the middle of this really modern station. It’s going to surprise some people who maybe knew squash in the old days, before the modernisation of the courts. I also think it’s going to appeal to a new, younger generation who haven’t necessarily seen squash before.”
The court will be in place between 4th and 11th April and will host activities with a goal of spreading the word about squash and whetting the appetite for this summer’s Commonwealth Games, which the city is hosting. It is part of a wide range of initiatives and activities to create a Games legacy which organisers hope will see people across the Midlands reaching for their rackets.
“This is a real opportunity to relight the fire for people who stopped playing squash for whatever reason but might get back into it, and to introduce it to as many young people as we can and get as many of them on the squash train,” said Perry. “That would be the best legacy for Birmingham 2022.”
Perry was a silver medallist in singles in 2018 at the last Commonwealth Games and will be among a strong group of squash medal contenders from the home nations.
“Because squash isn’t in the Olympics, the Commonwealth Games really is the pinnacle for any English squash player but to have it in the city where I live, down the road, is incredible,” said Perry. “I was born in the city, I’ve lived here my whole life and I’ve got loads of friends and family who have got tickets to come and watch. I’m absolutely determined to just go out there and enjoy every moment of that. My sights will be set on a gold medal but there are plenty of good players. Having a home Games is so lucky anyway but then to have it in your hometown – you can’t comprehend how perfect that is. I’m really, really looking forward to it.”
The squash programme at the Birmimgham 2022 Commonwealth Games will be held between July 29 – August 8 at the University of Birmingham Sport, with medals on offer in singles and doubles for men and women as well as for mixed doubles. The Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games will also be broadcast live on BBC TV and radio.
The New Street 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. Spearheaded by England Squash, the Professional Squash Association (PSA) Foundation, Rackets Cubed and the World Squash Federation. Squash United’s aim is to take squash to new audiences and make the sport more accessible than ever. The project is supported by commercial partners Aston & Fincher and Gowling WLG as well as Office Principles.