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The weblog of Tony Morris

Australians in sport

Posted on November 22, 2006, in Sport

If you live in Australia and you own a television, you’ll likely be aware of the retirement of Ian Thorpe - one of our best swimmers. As per usual for the media, the coverage of “Thorpy’s” retirement is disproportionate to the event and no doubt we (Australians) will be hearing about it for days to come, with follow ups of course. Personally, I do not enjoy watching swimming, regardless of the speed of the “fish” at hand - I find it boring, though I do admire the athleticism, training and dedication of its participants.

While Thorpe’s achievements in swimming should not be undermined, I turn attention to a sport that over the last couple of decades has lost the spotlight with respect to the media and remind Australians of some of our other courageous sports-persons. I hope Thorpey is grateful for my attempted diversion :) It must be horrible having a live and detailed personal profile plastered nation-wide.

David Palmer is an Australian who has held the world number 2 - repeat, world number 2 - position on the Professional Squash Association rankings list for almost all of 2006. I say “almost” because he achieved world number 1 in February and world number 4 in January. While his profile is not as high as our beloved Thorpe, he is just as strong an athlete and being a competition squash player myself, I have a personal admiration for the skill of players at his level, since they are skills that I aspire to.

If we take a look at the PSA World Rankings, we also note some other Australians; Anthony Ricketts, Stewart Boswell and Cameron Pilley, all of which I watch with awe as they perform on a squash court. If we turn our attention then to women, we have the two “Grinham sisters” within the top 5 and some rising Australian stars following on the WISPA World Rankings.

As Australia becomes the 52nd state of America (culturally and politically), we lose some of our tradition and along with it, our love of the sport of squash - Americans have a negative stigma attached to squash as they generally prefer racquetball, though I believe or at least, hope, that this is changing with some “education” i.e. Trying It And Seeing. You’ll note many British and Middle-Easterners on the world rankings list. Nevertheless, Australians need to be reminded of some of our equally talented athletes in other disciplines besides “getting from one end of the pool to the other as quick as you can”.

Cheers to Thorpey.