It usually takes something like the Pan-Am Games, the Commonwealth Games or the Olympics to bring together top competitors from countries all over the world.
In squash, that feat can be accomplished without rings, torches or changes to infrastructure of any kind.
It takes just two words: Nash Cup
It has been the little tournament that grew and it has now made London a key destination for many of the squash world’s Top-100 players. There are 14 of the top female squash players in the world and 17 of the top men’s competitors.
Competition has been taking place all week in London and the fleet of athletes on both the women’s and men’s sides have rallied themselves down to the elite eights of the quarter-finals to be played Thursday.
They will be followed by the semi-finals on Friday and the finals on Saturday.
Tournament spokesperson, Jay Nash says it is pretty overwhelming to think about how the event has grown.
“This was a pipe dream ten years ago,” admits Nash as he looks around with a bit of a gleam in his eye at the number of people packed into the London Squash and Fitness Club. “Being the largest tournament in the country wasn’t really on the radar.”
But, that is what the Nash Cup has become.
“We have 18 countries represented and we have 55 pros in the draw,” says Nash. “In the final 16, they are all top-100 players.”
The event also has an amateur component to it, which allows all players the opportunity to be around some of the sport’s best. Nash says the tournament has also done an excellent job in helping to promote grassroots in squash.
“Part of the focus of this tournament early on was to assist the university team who have now won 34 years in a row in Canada, but also to build our junior program in the city. The region is an even better story with clubs in Windsor and (other cities) having 50 juniors in their programs. The number of players in squash is very high, partially because the barrier for entry into the sport is very low.”
READ MORE: Here is a look at the 2017-18 London Knights
Canadians have risen to the top at the Nash Cup twice.
Shawn Delierre won in 2011 and is making his 6th tournament appearance. Danielle Letourneau was the number six seed in 2016 and rolled to an incredible underdog victory. She is back to defend her title in 2017.
Here is the lineup for Thursday’s quarterfinal action:
For the latest results, visit Nashcup.com