British Open will showcase city, squash player says

Sarah-Jane Perry
Sarah-Jane Perry won a silver medal at the Commonwealth Games in 2022 [Getty Images]

A top squash player has said the staging of the British Open in Birmingham will showcase the city as a destination for sport.

World number 18 Sarah-Jane Perry, who lives in Kenilworth, Warwickshire, was a previous finalist at the British Open and will compete again in the championships this year.

The British Open will start at Edgbaston Priory Club on 2 June before moving to a special glass court on the stage of the Birmingham Rep theatre from round three.

"The theatre lends itself really well to the drama of our sport but also for viewing, the Rep is perfect," Ms Perry said.

The 34-year-old added the stage would be lit up, showcasing the athleticism and the drama of the "gladiatorial" sport.

Joelle King of Team New Zealand and Alison Waters of Team England compete during the Mixed Doubles
Birmingham hosted squash competitions during the Commonwealth Games in 2022 [Getty Images]

The Open has been won by all the greats of the game, including Jonah Barrington and Jahangir Khan, but it is now seven years since the last British winner, Laura Massaro in 2017.

Egypt is the strongest country in the sport at the moment and last year’s champions, Ali Farag and Nour El Sherbini, are back to defend their titles.

"All the top players in the world mark this event on their calendar as something they’d like to win," Perry said.

She added it was hard to predict a non-Egyptian winner, but she hoped for drama along the way with British interest later in the draw.

Squash will be included in the Olympics for the first time at Los Angeles in 2028.

Rob Owen, who coaches Ms Perry, has been appointed Olympic Programme Consultant by England Squash.

“It’s our dream, a showcase for squash, which will get new countries involved and help us grow the sport,” he said.

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