Thousands of commuters and Birmingham residents are set to witness the arrival of a world-class glass court popping up inside the atrium of New Street station this week. From April 4-11, the station will be hosting an action-packed week of activity celebrating the exciting sport of squash and allowing visitors to meet the world’s best players ahead of this year’s Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.
The glass court has been built to inspire a new generation of players and create a lasting legacy for squash across the region as the sport celebrates its starring role in the Games being held at the University of Birmingham Sport in July and August this year. The arrival of the squash court at Birmingham New Street aims to rally the local community which will see thousands of school children having a hit on court, as well as open play sessions for the public, a number of taster sessions including squash for beginners, plus exhibitions matches and an opportunity to meet professional players.
The court is the latest in a series of initiatives by Squash United, the collaborative group leading the squash legacy programme which is an official project of United by Birmingham 2022, the community programme for the Commonwealth Games. Squash United’s aim is to take squash to new audiences and make the sport more accessible than ever and with Birmingham New Street being one of the busiest transport hubs in Europe and used by an estimated 170,000 people a day, many of whom may never have played squash or seen it played live, it’s the perfect place to try and get a rally going.
On April 8 and 9, passengers and passers-by will get a taste of just how exciting and dynamic live squash can be when the glass court hosts the semi-finals and finals of the University of Birmingham Open – a professional tournament on the PSA Challenger Tour. On April 10 and 11, the public will be treated to a sneak preview of the Birmingham 2022 squash competition when a host of the world’s best squash players, including England No.1 and local squash star Sarah Jane Perry, head to New Street fresh from competing at the World Doubles Championships in Glasgow.
This is also not the first time squash has been played in a railway station, the glass court at Birmingham New Street is inspired by a similar court installed at New York’s famous Grand Central Station, which hosts a professional squash tournament every year.
The squash programme at the 2022 Commonwealth Games will be held between July 29 – August 8 at the University of Birmingham, and broadcast on television and radio, with medals on offer in singles and doubles for men and women as well as for mixed doubles. The home nations have a strong record of success in squash, with England and Wales winning multiple medals in successive Games, so there should be plenty for local crowds to cheer.