Squash is ‘one of the toughest sports on the planet.’ Declan James
How would you describe the sport of squash in 3 words?
Brutal, creative, complex
How would you describe the state of squash as a sport in the UK today?
The product itself is wonderful, the athletes are amongst the fittest in the world and the skill level is extremely high. What’s needed is people to come in and make the sport more commercially interesting to promoters and the audience, we need to revamp and bring the sport into the new age.
Is it globally popular?
Yes Squash is played in over 185 countries by 20 million people. The product itself is wonderful, the athletes are amongst the fittest in the world and the skill level is extremely high. What’s needed is people to come in and make the sport more commercially interesting to promoters and the audience, we need to revamp and bring the sport into the new age.
Were you surprised to hear that squash has been selected for the LA 2028 Olympics?
Pleasantly surprised yes! It’s been such a long time coming feels like a just reward to a sport that offers so much.
Will you be there?!
That is certainly the plan. I will be 35 then which means I stand a good chance of being at a top level if I remain healthy and injury free.
What do you hope Olympic inclusion will do for the sport of squash both globally & here in the UK?
I hope it brings in more big companies, sponsors, and investors to help boost the sport and give it the platform it deserves. The players are such high performers and deserve to be given more of a showcase to display their capabilities to the world.
What else do you think will help raise awareness and the profile of squash?
I think more needs to be done around social media content and the type of content that is made. We live in an attention society where content has to grab you within seconds. We should be thinking outside of the box with this and bringing in higher quality of editing, production, and cinematic’s around the events to make the sport as appealing as possible. I also think we need to promote ourselves as players more as people tend to show interest in personalities as much as the sport itself.
In the US squash is seen to be an upper-class sport, whereas in the UK it’s a working man’s sport. Do you agree with this, and why do you think this is?
I do yes, historically in America the sport is played in private clubs by the bankers and lawyers alike. This is evolving with the respective urban programmes which are bringing the game to the youth especially in deprived areas. In the UK Squash is far more accessible through the leisure centre type venues. The great thing about the sport is that it can be played by anyone and brings people together of all creeds, races, and beliefs alike. We should tap into this as it’s such a unifying sport.
In 2003, Forbes published that squash had been named the healthiest sport on the planet, and two decades later it is still considered to be – would you agree & why do you think this is?
It’s absolutely up there, in terms of calories burned per hour etc. Also in terms of time spent near the maximum heart rate there aren’t many sports that compete. For example when playing the top guys I can experience an average heart rate of over 170bpm for upwards of 90 minutes. The average person will burn over 1000 calories playing for an hour so it really is a physical challenge.
What does the future hold for the sport of squash?
I’d like to see a time where the sport gets more coverage across the board, and where the players get more rewarded for the effort they put in day after day. It would also be great to have more of the younger generation growing up wanting to become Squash players because it really opens so many doors for you in life, not least with networking but also with discipline, fitness, and skill.