Spotlight on Squash in Brazil

Like most countries, there seems to a Squash revival is happening following news of the Olympic inclusion – Brazil is one such nation that is making a comeback after a 12-year hiatus.

Squash in Brazil

As many know, Brazil is the birthplace of many great sports legends both in football such as Pele, and in F1 with Emerson Fittipaldi and the late Ayrton Senna.

For many Squash fans in Brazil, the last time the great nation took part in the World Junior Squash Championships, this was in 2012 from which their men’s team took part in Qatar, and even longer for the women’s team, who took part in home Squash tournament in Rio de Janeiro in 1997.

Fast forward to this year, the World Junior Championships to be held in Houston, Texas, from 12th to 23rd July 2024, Brazil is gearing up to make a significant impact.

Under the guidance of coaches Fábio Cechin and Thaisa Serafini, both the men’s and women’s junior squads will participate in the team events, which, for the first time in history, are being held concurrently. Additionally, Brazilian players will compete in individual events, showcasing their skills on a global stage.

Great enthusiasm for Squash in Brazil

The Brazilian Squash Confederation President José Henrique Lopes expressed his enthusiasm in an article in SquashMad on Brazil’s return to the World Junior Squash Championships:

“It is great to be back at the WSF World Junior Squash Championships; I feel optimistic about the future of junior squash in Brazil. A lot of hard work has been done to put the country back on the map of world squash. This participation in the World Championship is a testimony to Brazil’s commitment to reaching new heights in the sport, and the support of all squash enthusiasts is crucial for this continued growth.”

Making plans for grassroots

The return to competitive Squash is part of a broader, long-term strategy aimed at the continuous development of grassroots and junior squash in Brazil.

Renato Gallego, the technical coordinator of the Brazil team, highlighted initiatives such as the “Squash of Tomorrow” programme, led by Maurício Penteado, which have been instrumental in revitalising the sport.

These efforts have already started yielding results in South American championships, setting the foundation for future success in international competitions.

The women’s team, competing in the World Junior Championship for the first time since 1997, will be led by Laura Silva, a South American and Brazilian national champion in her age group. She will be joined by Gabi El-Masry, Linley Grosman, Alix Borges, and Luiza Niemeyer. The men’s squad includes Isaias Silva, André de Almeida, Caio Paiva, Lucas Carlson, Matheus Frabetti, and Lucas Pitta.

This renewed participation marks a significant milestone for Brazilian squash, symbolising a return to the international stage and a promising future for the sport in the country. As these young athletes prepare to compete, they carry the hopes and aspirations of Brazil’s squash community, eager to see their nation thrive once more in the world of squash.

Grassroots impact of “Squash of Tomorrow”

The “Squash of Tomorrow” programme has been a cornerstone of Brazil’s strategy to revive and promote squash among its youth. Led by Maurício Penteado, the initiative aims to identify and nurture young talent from an early age, providing them with the necessary resources and support to excel in the sport. This includes access to quality coaching, state-of-the-art training facilities, and opportunities to compete in national and international tournaments.

Since its inception, the programme has made significant strides in elevating the standard of junior squash in Brazil. Fostering a competitive yet supportive environment has helped young players develop not only their technical skills but also their sportsmanship and love for the game. The results are evident in the increasing number of Brazilian players making their mark in South American championships and now, once again, in the World Junior Squash Championships.

The Road to Houston: Preparation and Expectations

In the months leading up to the World Junior Squash Championships, Brazil’s junior squads have undergone rigorous training regimens designed to maximise their performance. Coaches Fábio Cechin and Thaisa Serafini have focused on enhancing the players’ technical skills, physical fitness, and mental resilience, ensuring they are well-prepared to face international competition.

Laura Silva, who will lead the women’s team, has been a standout performer in recent regional tournaments. Her success in South American championships has not only earned her a place on the national team but also made her a role model for aspiring young squash players in Brazil. Her teammates, Gabi El-Masry, Linley Grosman, Alix Borges, and Luiza Niemeyer, bring a mix of experience and youthful enthusiasm, forming a balanced and dynamic squad.

On the men’s side, Isaias Silva and André de Almeida have shown remarkable progress, demonstrating their potential to compete at the highest levels. Their dedication to the sport is evident in their rigorous training schedules and consistent performances in national and regional tournaments. Lucas Carlson, Matheus Frabetti, and Lucas Pitta complete the men’s team, each contributing their unique strengths and competitive spirit.

Perfect Destination for Outdoor Squash Courts

Given Brazil’s plans for junior Squash, we reckon the country would be an ideal location for outdoor squash courts due to its favourable climate, vibrant culture, and growing interest in sports. With its predominantly warm and sunny weather, players can enjoy the game year-round without the interruptions caused by harsh winter conditions found in many other regions.

Additionally, Brazil’s passion for sports, demonstrated by its enthusiasm for football, volleyball, and other outdoor sporting activities, creates a supportive environment for the growth of squash. The country’s scenic landscapes also offer picturesque settings for squash courts, enhancing the overall playing experience. This combination of climate, cultural affinity for sports, and stunning locations makes Brazil a prime destination for outdoor squash enthusiasts.

Looking Ahead

As Brazil prepares to compete in Houston, the excitement and anticipation within the squash community are palpable. The return to the World Junior Squash Championships is more than just a comeback; it is a testament to the resilience and dedication of Brazilian squash players, coaches, and supporters. It signifies a new chapter in Brazil’s squash history, one that holds the promise of future successes and continued growth.

The participation of both the men’s and women’s teams in this prestigious event highlights the progress that has been made and sets the stage for future generations of Brazilian squash players.

With the unwavering support of the Brazilian Squash Confederation and the continued efforts of programmes like “Squash of Tomorrow,” Brazil is poised to re-establish itself as a formidable presence in the world of squash. The journey to Houston is just the beginning of what promises to be an exciting and prosperous era for Brazilian squash.