By Linda Sivlane
When attending some social expat gatherings, for me as a passionate squash player it´s impossible not to mention my favourite sport. Almost every time I do that, I find quite a few expats among us who used to play squash but have stopped because of different reasons. But guess what – every time I talk to them, I see a sparkle in their eyes that comes from their desire to find their racquet and clean the dust from it, and get back on the squash court right away. After a couple of situations like the one described, I thought there was a need to bring the good news to the international society in Valencia – squash is very much alive and waiting for you, so – what are you waiting for?
Squash is an absolutely fantastic sport that is played on all continents in some 185 countries. It demands the best of you, including strength, speed, reaction, concentration and resistance; furthermore it´s one of the most fun and entertaining ways to keep yourself fit.
Squash was found to be the healthiest sport, according to the prestigious magazine Forbes and the calculations based on expert feedback. Of course, networking and socialising is another enormous advantage of it, especially when you are relatively new in town– it´s one of the best ways to meet new people (it´s hard not to agree that after sweating on a squash court and playing against someone, the formalities can be left apart).
Although it wouldn´t be appropriate to compare Valencia´s (and Spain´s in general) squash traditions with Anglo-Saxon countries’ great passion and long history of this sport, apart from football, jogging and cycling, Valencia has got a lot to offer to squash players too.
There are around 20 squash courts located in Valencia and its surroundings. There is a decent and friendly squash community, including expats from the UK, Germany, France and Latvia, and a very active squash club that organises the Valencia Squash league of around 250 players where all levels are represented; plus social and professional squash tournaments, as well as special events for children, ladies and masters.
Every year Valencia hosts the PSA (Professional Squash Association) tournament where you can be inspired by the top performances of the world´s best players. Some of the professionals reside in our city too – such as Alex Garbí and Marina de Juan, both working as coaches here and helping other players to brush up their squash skills.
Apart from all that, since September 2015 in Valencia there has been an active movement to promote female squash Ladies Squash Valencia with its main objective to involve more women regardless of their age, physical preparation and squash skills.
Two Latvian squash players Linda Svilane and Janis Melderis came up with this idea and started organising weekly training and social gatherings for ladies, and now after 8 months they can proudly say there are around 30 new beginner female players already.
On April 30 the first Ladies Squash Valencia OPEN will take place and all women who have ever held a squash racquet in their hands are encouraged to sign up.
For the ones who haven´t played squash yet but would like to give it a try – there will be a Free Introductory Session on the same day from 12 to 2pm.
So, no more excuses, your squash time has come!