The Professional Squash Association (PSA) Foundation has given its support to today's United Nations’ (UN) International Day of Sport for Development and Peace.
Officially declared by the UN in 2013 and supported by the International Olympic Committee, the day celebrates the power of sport to drive social change and community development, foster peace and promote understanding and falls on the anniversary of the first Modern Olympic Games in 1896.
As part of the #WhiteCard campaign, figures in the sports community are invited to share a photo of themselves on social media using the hashtag and holding up a symbolic white card to show their commitment to peace efforts worldwide.
The day coincides with the final qualifying rounds of the El Gouna International Squash Open and Orascom Development PSA Women’s World Championship.
To mark this year’s celebration, squash players will rally around the symbol of a white card "as a sign of the sport’s commitment to peace efforts worldwide".
Among the sport's stars to have featured in the campaign include Egyptian brothers Mohamed and Marwan Elshorbagy, ranked third and fifth in the world respectively, and two-time Commonwealth Games gold medallist Nicol David of Malaysia.
"Peace and Sport have played a tremendous role all over the world by supporting sports initiatives that have a deep social impact and they have provided inspiration, guidance and expertise to those seeking to use sport to build sustainable peace around the world," said PSA marketing and foundation manager Adriana Olaya.
"Through the PSA Foundation, we are committed to promoting the same ideals and supporting more squash programmes and initiatives that serve as an element of peace, development and inclusion.
"The PSA has witnessed firsthand how squash changes lives through inspiring stories like our very own Peace and Sport ‘Champion for Peace’ Maria Toorpakai which is why we are actively participating in celebrating this date."
Toorpakai of Pakistan joined the Champions for Peace club at last year's annual Peace and Sport Forum in Monaco.
She comes from a region of the world where girls are not allowed to practice sport and was forced to disguise herself as a boy for the first 16 years of her life to play competitive sport.
Toorpakai defends the rights of women in Pakistan and has set up a foundation encouraging families to educate girls and allow them to play sport.
The PSA Foundation has provided children in disadvantaged communities with access to recycled squash equipment, with the Foundation’s "ReBound" initiative providing equipment to over 500 children involved in urban outreach programmes in India, Colombia, South Africa, Zimbabwe and Nigeria.
Most recently, the PSA Foundation’s charitable endeavours helped raise over £4,000 ($5,000/€4,600) during the Allam British Open for 11-year-old squash player Sumner Malik, who has been diagnosed with Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma, a rare form of brain tumour.
England's Nick Matthew sensationally donated all of his prize winnings from the PSA Canary Wharf Classic in March to Malik.
"I know the the Malik family and they live and breathe squash," the Englishman said.
"We're fortunate to do what we do for a living and we take it for granted at times.
"I don't want any thanks or personal gain for doing it - it's about raising awareness for him and it's the least that I can do.
"I'm a parent myself and hopefully he can have a great life ahead of him and I'm glad that I've been able to give them a good fund."
The first rounds of the El Gouna International Squash Open and Orascom Development PSA Women’s World Championship begin tomorrow, with both tournaments continuing until April 14.