By Marcus Crawley

Chiu_Wing_Yin_squash_action_15-08-11August 16 - A worldwide programme to increase female participation in squash has been launched by the World Squash Federation (WSF), part of the sport's inivitiatives to help boost its chances of getting onto the Olympic programme for 2020. 

World Squash Day 2011, which takes place on Saturday, November 5, will focus on attracting a new generation of female players to the sport.

The WSF will be encouraging clubs and associations all over the globe to open their doors to welcome potential new girl and women enthusiasts – no matter what age or ability.

Andrew Shelley, the WSF chief executive, said: "Female participation is a very important ingredient for every sport and squash is no exception.

"Squash has a long and varied history of junior and adult female participation and indeed competition dating back more than 100 years, and is such an ideal sport for women and girls who want to have fun and keep fit.

"At the highest level, today's leading female squash professionals are phenomenal athletes who set an ideal example as role models for any would-be participants.

"But of course first and foremost it is a sport for today, a sport that doesn't take up too much time and is healthy.

"Squash has frequently come out on top in a variety of fitness tests and the respected Forbes Magazine voted squash the best indoor sport for fitness and calorie burning."

Nicol David (pictured), the world number one and five-time world champion from Malaysia, is right behind the programme which could help boost the sport's chances of being elected onto the programme for the 2020 Olympics.

It is one of eight sports shortlisted. 

"Squash appeals to women everywhere; anyone who is looking for the perfect sport to pick up," said the 27-year-old from Penang.

"It provides the most all-round workout and it's a lot of fun with friends.

"Anyone can play it.

"This World Squash Day is focused on getting women and girls to join squash, so create a social trend among your girlfriends to keep fit with squash."

The highly-successful WSF Women's World Junior Championships took place in Boston, where Egypt provided both finalists in the Individual competition and beat host nation United States in the final of the Team Championship.

The strength of both nations at international level is due to a growing playing base of young female participants, with excellent governing body development programmes allied to world-class coaching teams.

World Squash Day coincides with the Women's World Open in Rotterdam, which is fast approaching a sell-out as crowds throng to see the game's leading female athletes in action, alongside the top men and their own World Open.

As well as building pathways for elite competitors, the WSF is keen to boost the numbers of recreational players who will choose squash as their preferred sport for health and fitness.

For full details on the World Squash Day visit here.

Contact the writer of this story at [email protected]

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