SQUASH BOSSES GET
KNICKERS IN A TWIST
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 (www.britishopensquash.co.uk) and
in yesterday's Daily Express.
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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.
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 ...