Knickers in a twist


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SQUASH authorities got their knickers in a twist in a row over the revealing pictures of rising England star Vicki Botwright published on this site ( and in yesterday's Daily Express.

The Lancashire Hot Bot - a new world sensation

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See the pictures and report that caused the storm

Vicky is top of the Bots - official!

The 23-year-old was refused permission to wear a thong and bikini top on court by her players' governing body. She had planned to wear the revealing gear in yesterday's British Open second round match against No.5 seed Natalie Grainger at the National Indoor Arena in Birmingham.

The pictures published yesterday provoked a furious response from the Women's International Squash Players Association. WISPA director Andrew Shelley said: "We are delighted to see increased coverage for women's squash but we do not wish to see our members to be exploited in any way."

This brought WISPA into direct confrontation with tournament promoters The Eye Group. The London-based TV production company have revolutionised the coverage of the game, surrounding the all-glass court with eight cameras and developing live broadcasts on Sky TV for the first time.

Eye Group managing director Paul Smith said: "The views expressed by WISPA are a backward step for the sport.

Vicky on court today"We are doing everything we can to promote the game to a wider audience but the players' governing body is holding the sport back with its antiquated views. I know that the players want the freedom to wear lighter and more comfortable clothes on court and if that means their outfits are more revealing then so be it. The squash girls are just as attractive and glamorous as the tennis girls and the world is waking up to that fact."

Botwright, 23, wore a silver-grey outfit on court today but lost in straight games to Grainger, the former Nottingham-based player who now lives in America. Grainger sported a white skirt and slinky grey top. Grainger now meets England captain Linda Charman in the quarter-finals.

Paul Smith went live on local BBC radio tonight to defend his stance on the affair. On the Radio WM Drive Time show Paul was interviewed by husband and wife presenters Tony Wadsworth and Julie Mayer. Julie gave him something of an interrogation. She pursued a rather aggressive line of questioning verging on accusations of exploitation, but Paul stood up for his stance, stressing the importance of moving the game forward. After the show several callers supported Paul's and Vicky's positions on the affair that has rocked squash.

WISPA chief Andrew Shelley will be interviewed live on BBC News 24 at 8pm tonight ...

bulletSee the pictures and report that caused the storm
bulletVicky is top of the Bots - official!


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