Zena Wooldridge praises Birmingham's Commonwealth Games legacy. WORLD SQUASH

World Squash Federation President Zena Wooldridge OBE has praised the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games legacy programmes as five new outdoor squash courts are being built across Birmingham with Sport England funding for England Squash.

Wooldridge, who led the World Squash Federation's successful campaign for inclusion in the LA28 Olympic Games which thrilled the world of squash, was previously Director of Sport at the University of Birmingham and a member of Birmingham's 2022 Commonwealth Games Bid Committee.

"It's fantastic to see the impact the Commonwealth Games continues to have on Birmingham and the West Midlands. This Sport England funding for the innovative outdoor courts builds on the success of England Squash's legacy project to engage diverse communities who haven't previously appreciated what squash is, by bringing the courts into the heart of communities. Once they experience it, they love it, with over 300 new regular players to date as a result of this project."

The innovative outdoor courts are designed to increase participation and engagement levels, particularly among young people, and make the practice of this sport more accessible. They also aim to build on the legacy of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games by creating a sustainable squash infrastructure in the local community.

"The surge in interest in the sport since the Commonwealth Games has been fuelled by the establishment of the historic British Junior Open Squash Championships in Birmingham since 2018, with players from over 50 nations competing, and the return to Birmingham of the flagship British Open Championship, which was superbly staged at the Birmingham Rep Theatre," said Wooldridge.

Squash will make its Olympic debut at the 2028 Olympic Games in Los Angeles, marking another milestone for the sport. "Last October's news of squash's inclusion in the LA28 Olympic Games has accelerated the momentum behind the sport, the events and the legacy projects," she concluded.