The spectacular - and unique - vision of three all-glass squash
courts greeted capacity crowds as they poured into the Palais
Des Sports in the city of Mulhouse for the 24th
staging of the WSF Men's World Team Squash Championship,
held in France for the first time in its 46-year history.
31 nations from all five continents competed over the week-long
championship at two venues - the Espace Squash 3000 Centre
and the Palais Des Sports, where matches were played
simultaneously on three ASB all-glass showcourts lined up
"This is the best set-up I have ever seen - wow!" said Scotland's
national coach Roger Flynn, while England's world No3
James Willstrop exclaimed: "The set-up here is almost
revolutionary - I've never seen anything like it before, with
three glass courts side-by-side. It's squash moving forward,
proving that it can do things in different ways - something
other sports can't do."
The championship, described by Indian number one Saurav Ghosal
as "the toughest tournament in the world", featured
international TV coverage - while play on all three glass courts
was streamed live throughout the week.
Willstrop clinched victory for England in a tense final
decider against favourites and defending champions Egypt,
giving his country the title for the first time since 2007.
Hosts France, narrowly beaten by England in a dramatic
semi-final the previous night which finished just before 2.00 am
- before a still packed and partisan crowd - defeated former
champions Australia in the bronze medal play-off.
Event newcomers Botswana recorded an impressive 24th place
finish with a squad led by world No15 Alister Walker -
but also including the event's youngest ever competitor,
14-year-old Theo Pelonomi.
Germany beat South Africa to win the play-off for fifth place -
their highest ever finish - while India became the
highest-placed Asian country for the first time after beating
Malaysia in the seventh-place play-off.
World Squash Federation President N Ramachandran,
who presented the trophy to England after the final, said: "The
value of all initiatives and innovations introduced into squash
over the past few years were brilliantly demonstrated in the
presentation of the Championship in Mulhouse.
"The French Federation, under the inspired leadership of
President Jacques Fontaine, mounted a spectacle to be
hugely proud of, clearly much enjoyed by all players, managers,
coaches, spectators and the media, and I congratulate and thank
them very much indeed for this."