Public squash courts up soon
SPORTING CHANCE - Joaquin M. Henson (The Philippine Star) - June 5, 2017 - 4:00pm

Philippine Squash Academy (PSA) president Bob Bachmann is keeping his fingers crossed that within two months, the country’s first public squash courts will be inaugurated at the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex. Since the Manila Boat Club built the first squash courts here in the early 1970s, the game has been accessible only to members of exclusive sports facilities.

With squash gaining in popularity all over the world, Bachmann said it’s time the Philippines joins the bandwagon in a big way. “The construction of two singles courts and a doubles court at Rizal is ongoing,” he said. “I’m hoping it will be completed by July or August but everything depends on whether the PSC will push through with the sale of Rizal Memorial or not.”

Bachmann said aside from the Rizal courts, he also has in mind to open a National Squash Center. “We’ll push and work very hard for a National Squash Center to make the sport even more accessible to the public,” he said. “The plan is to put up eight singles courts, four back-to-back, with movable walls to allow for four doubles courts, a jumbo doubles court and a championship glass court. The facility will be air-conditioned with showers, lockerrooms, office space, players lounge and spectators gallery. I’m now talking to a prospective major sponsor for the National Squash Center.”

The PSA recently made history by hosting the first-ever $10,000 Professional Squash Association level-5 tournament here with 48 world-ranked players from 10 countries participating. India’s world No. 89 Harinder Pal Singh Sandhu won the premier men’s title while Japan’s 18-year-old Satomi Watanabe upset Wales’ Deon Saffery in a 73-minute five-setter for the premier women’s crown. The Philippines’ No. 1 male player Robert Garcia took the elite championship.

The tournament’s only multiple winner was 16-year-old Cente Abad Santos who beat P. J. Austria for the Division II trophy and India’s Ranjit Narasimhan for the juniors crown.   Abad Santos trained over a month in Singapore under squash legend Zainal Abidin and did twice-a-day workouts to improve his squash. Abidin flew over to coach Abad Santos in the tournament and attend to a personal business matter in Manila. Abad Santos even joined the qualifying draw for the premier men’s division to gain experience and lost to India’s Vijay Kumar, 11-3, 11-1, 11-1.

Bachmann said the PSA level 5 tournament was the biggest squash event in Manila since the 2005 Southeast Asian Games. The Philippine team is now getting ready for the SEA Games in Kuala Lumpur in August. The national players, led by Garcia and Myca Aribado, are currently on a 36-day training tour in New Zealand. 

Fausto Presyler, the 1977 East Asian singles champion who put the Philippines on the international squash map, was at the Manila Polo Club to witness the final matches. Preysler said Philippine squash has come a long way and he’s looking forward to more Filipinos playing the sport at a high level. He joined Bachmann in awarding the trophies to the winners.

There’s an exciting golf tournament set at the Ayala Southlinks Golf Club in Ayala Southvale, Las Piñas, on June 14 and the organizing Mega-C Health Ventures is pulling out all the stops to make sure its first-ever golf event will be a huge success.

The Mega-C Golf Cup will use a System 36 scoring system. Tournament day check-in begins at 6 a.m. with tee time at 7 a.m. Entrance fee is P3,500 per player and it includes provision for caddies, golf carts, breakfast, lunch, green fees and kits with a golf cap, T-shirt and more. Aside from trophies for the winners, special fun awards will be given for the nearest to the pin, most accurate drive and nearest to the hole. Loads of giveaways from sponsors, raffle draws with exciting prizes and a grand prize for the hole-in-one shootout are also in store for participants.

Corporate executives, government officials, entertainment celebrities and sports stars are expected to play in the tournament where part of the proceeds will be donated to Bahay Pag-Asa, a transformation center for children in conflict with the law under De La Salle University in Dasmariñas, Cavite. Instead of detaining the children, they will be cared for in a monastery-type center with the purpose of reaching their full potentials and becoming positive resources for the church and country.

Fuego, the energy booster in a capsule, and Yoshinoya are proud supporters of the event with 105.9, 107.5 crossover, Sunshine Media Network, The Philippine Star and GMA 7. For inquiries, call Tel. No. 885-0509 or cell nos. 09151962647 and 09063300817 or email or visit Facebook account Mega-C Golf Cup.

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