Triple world champion Nick Matthew will spearhead squash’s involvement with the Queen’s Baton Relay when it arrives in England this weekend on the penultimate leg of its journey to the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.
The reigning Commonwealth men’s singles and doubles champion will welcome the Baton to the South Yorkshire village of High Bradfield on Sunday morning at around 9am, along with the Lord Mayor of Sheffield, Councillor Vickie Priestley.
The Baton then moves on to the Concord Sports Centre in Sheffield, where Matthew will be giving some free coaching master classes from 11.30am to 12.45pm, before taking part in a 30-minute question-and-answer session from 1 to 1.30pm.
It finishes its stint in South Yorkshire at the English Institute of Sport, which is staging a private event to mark Matthew’s third world title by unveiling his image in the EIS Hall of Champions at 3pm.
“I am thrilled to be part of the Queen’s Baton Relay in my home town,” said the world no.2. “It will be a great opportunity for people to see some of the fantastic sporting activity that takes place in Sheffield.”
The Baton’s first day in England is tomorrow, when it will visit Manchester and Congleton. The Baton will start at the National Cycling Centre and then move to the city’s National Squash Centre, where Laura Massaro, England’s other world squash champion, will be involved in some free coaching sessions from 10 to 11.30am and a Q&A.
The NSC will be open from 9am to 12pm for anyone wishing to try out squash and racketball for free, and there will be a similar opportunity from 11.30am at the Congleton Leisure Centre in Cheshire. Local coaches will be in attendance at both venues.
After Sheffield the Relay moves to Birmingham on Monday, when squash will again be represented as one of several Commonwealth Games sports taking part in SportsFest in Centenary Square from 4 to 7pm. Local coaches will be on hand to demonstrate how to play the sport on an inflatable court and to encourage the public to have a go.
There will be a similar arrangement at the Festival of Sport in London’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park on June 8, when squash will be one of over 30 different sports and activities for members of the public to try across the Park from 10am that morning.
Squash’s final involvement in the Relay before it heads to Scotland after a 190,000-kilometre journey across the Commonwealth nations comes on June 11 and 12, when it returns to Yorkshire.
On June 11 it will visit Hull, where there will be an inflatable rebound wall in Queen’s Gardens from 5 to 8pm for passers-by to have a hit on, before switching to Leeds the following day, when the rebound wall will be in action again at the John Charles Centre for Sport from 11.30am to 3pm,
Around 1,000 children from schools in the West Yorkshire city will be encouraged to try squash along with other Commonwealth Games sports and Jenny Duncalf, Yorkshire’s world no.12, will be there to support the event.
For further information on Matthew’s involvement in the Relay, please see: www.welcometosheffield.co.uk/visit/events/qbr
For a full rundown of the Baton’s journey around England, please see: www.weareengland.org/home/glasgow-2014/qbr/queens-baton-relay-schedule