As we eagerly wait for the news on whether Squash is to be an official Olympic sport – little do people know about Squash’s association with the Pan-American Games – a summer event with Olympic structure and held in different parts of America.
The first Squash event at the Pan American games were held in 1995, and just like the Olympics Games, the Pan-American Games are a quadrennial event and organised by the Pan American Sports Organization (PASO), who are the governing body of the Pan American Games movement and adhere to the structure and actions.
Participating Nations of Pan-America
Just like the CASA Senior Championships, there is strong competition amongst the Pan-American continents play in a bragging match of who is the best at Squash in Pan-America. In the last 22 years, the following participating nations at the Squash event have been:
- United States
The most successful country at the Pan American Olympics is Canada with medal haul of 36 medals (13x Gold), next up is the USA with 22 medals (6x Gold); after these main two squash superpowers – Mexico is the most successful South American squash playing nation.
Check out the video below of the 2015 Pan American Games Squash semi-finals in Toronto (credit Ulrezaj):
Meanwhile, from the Caribbean – Guyana is the only West Indian country to date, that has won a medal at the games. This honour was achieved by their former No.1 player Nicolette Fernandes winning a Bronze medal at the 2011 Pan-American Games, in Guadalajara, where she beat Theisa Serafini of Brazil to reach the semi-finals. Since then, this feat has not repeated – but there are signs that Guyana will do this again as their junior squash team are doing well.
Competition format at the Games
The competition consists of six events will be contested (three each for men and women) in singles, double and team matches, from which individuals and teams are crowned champion of the Games.
Canada is the most successful team at the games, with 4 team titles. In the singles categories, Miguel Ángel Rodríguez (squash player) has won the men’s title on 3 occasions, whereas the most successful female squash player is Samantha Teránwith of Mexico with 6 Pan-American women’s titles to her figure.
Pan American Games and Squash Pros
Since the introduction of Squash at the Pan American Games, a strong number of past and present professional squash players from the Americas have won medals in the Pan American Games, as well as professional squash tournaments:
Rafael Alarçón, Marnie Baizley, Jorge Baltazar, Luciano Barbosa Viktor Berg, Olivia Blatchford, Sabir Butt, Javier Castilla, Ronivaldo Conceição, Samantha Cornett, Jamie Crombie, Hernán D’Arcangelo, Shawn Delierre, Stephanie Edmison, Diego Elías, Nicolette Fernandes, Eric Gálvez
Christopher Gordon, Natalie Grainger, Jorge Gutiérrez (squash player), Louisa Hall, Todd Harrity, Andrés Herrera, Julian Illingworth, Melanie Jans, Latasha Khan, Alana Miller, Hollie Naughton, Catalina Peláez, Robertino Pezzota, Rodrigo Pezzota, Jonathon Power, Michelle Quibell, Meredeth Quick, Preston Quick, Miranda Ranieri, Shahier Razik, Runa Reta, Miguel Ángel Rodríguez, Leandro Romiglio, Carolyn Russell, Graham Ryding, Arturo Salazar, César Salazar, Bernardo Samper, Andrew Schnell, Amanda Sobhy, Samantha Terán, Nikki Todd, Laura Tovar Pérez, Karla Urrutia and Heather Wallace.
Raising the profile of Squash in Pan-America
To conclude the Pan American Games are the most interesting events in Squash is a part of and the sport has shown to have a great profile in Pan-American from which gives Squash its global appeal with squash players from around North and South America countries playing in tournaments in Europe and Asia.
With news that the US city of Los Angeles is hosting the 2028 Olympics Games and Para Olympic Games, this is a positive for the US, as the country has a strong Squash fan base and given the accolades of the Pan American Games – there is no doubt that the US will be looking to capitalise on home turf.