Government’s backing the reason behind England’s squash success

KUALA LUMPUR: England have managed to produce a number of top 10 men and women squash players in the world because they receive good financial support from their government. 

Chief coach David Pearson (pic), who is here to watch his charges in action in the on-going women’s World Open, said that England Squash received £1mil in funding from the government annually. 

“England players are very lucky to get funding from the government. The money we get from the government is more than enough to pay for the players’ training allowances, coaches’ wages and do research in sports science,” said Pearson, who has been the national coach for the last 10 years. 

“We have a pool of 45 players comprising 20 senior men and women and the rest are juniors.” 

He added that they had six full-time coaches and eight regional coaches to train the players. 

“Our training is very systematic as we start our junior development programme at the age of 10. We make sure that there are enough junior players who can improve on their game from year to year and one day replace the seniors,” said Pearson. 

He added that the funds from the government came with high targets in international tournaments. 

“We have to achieve certain targets to continue receiving the funding from the government. All the six full-time coaches have to work very hard to make sure we hit the targets every year,” added Pearson. 

The 46-year-old Pearson added that competitions among the England players were stiff and the players had to maintain their form to stay in the top 20 bracket in the world. 

“We have eight women in the top 20 and we hope that in the next few years, the number will increase,” he said. 

“In the men’s division, we have five players in the top 20 bracket. Among them are world number one Lee Beachill and world number three Peter Nicol.” 

Pearson added that England had won basically all the major titles in the world. 

“And our target next year is to make sure we win the men’s World Team Championship in Karachi after losing to Australia last year,” he said. 

“We also want our women’s team to wrest the team title from Australia in two years’ time.” 

He added that they were confident of winning the women’s team title in 2006 because they had a big pool of good players. 

“However, I am surprised with the Australian team because they don’t have any pool of good players to replace the Grinham sisters – Rachael (world number one) and Natalie (No. 5),” said Pearson. 

“I am also happy that nine England players reached the second round of the World Open here.” 

Among them are world number two Cassie Jackman and the number seven, Linda Elriani. 

Pearson said that he was also proud that his stepdaughter, Jenny Duncalf, also reached the second round. 

“I hope one of the England players win the title here. England last won the women’s World Oen through Cassie Campion in Seattle in 1999,” he said. 

Pearson’s assistant Paul Carter is also here in KL to guide the English players in the tournament. 

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