Lithuanians get taste of top level squash

  • 2001-10-04
  • Tassos Coulaloglou
VILNIUS - The Vilnius Squash Club held an event Sept. 28 to showcase the game of squash. It featured a demonstration from the fifth-ranked women's player in the world, Fiona Greeves.

Called the Squash Squad Program, its aim is to promote squash in Lithuania and stir excitement among Lithuanians, according to Richard Lockhart, the club's coach.

The club opened in April 2000 and is the biggest and most popular squash facility in Vilnius.

Among those in attendance was the vice president of the World Squash Federation, Joyce Buckley, as well as the vice president of English Squash, Ian Robinson.

Being an ex-international player himself, Robinson's enthusiasm for the sport was palpable, and he is the main driving force for the Squash Squad Program.

According to the Squash Squad Newsletter, its aim is to increase participation in squash, raise the level of play and improve infrastructure, among other things.

Squash, a game similar to racquetball and played on an indoor court, has been gaining in popularity in recent years. Greeves and Buckley spoke of an international tournament held in Egypt in the middle of the pyramids. Greeves had just returned from tournaments in Egypt and Hong Kong.

Buckley related with enthusiasm how, "just being there and seeing the all-glass court among the pyramids makes your hair stand up on the back of your neck."

Greeves agreed, having played there herself.

Two years ago there was not a single court in Lithuania, according to Gintaras Latusinskas, vice president of the Lithuanian Squash Federation. Now there are 10 and two more are under construction in Kaunas. One of those two should be opening next week, he said.

Latusinskas said that "we will have a national Lithuanian tournament next year." Lockhart chimed in to say, "before Easter." But for less intense competition, a tournament is held four times a year at the Vilnius Squash Club for players of any level.