Science - January 24, 2008

Squash players seek trainer

There is no squash club in Wageningen, although quite a few people would like to be able to take a few lessons and find new opponents. Miranda Zoelen organised a tournament for advanced players to bring squash enthusiasts together.

Willem Rienks was on good form at the squash tournament in Wageningen.
It was still early on Sunday morning when the first players started hitting a ball around in the University sports centre, De Bongerd (USB). Between ten and three o'clock, the sixteen squash players competed in a tournament. Most participants have something to do with Wageningen University, either (ex-) student or member of staff. The organiser, Miranda Zoelen, studied Soil, Water, Atmosphere in Wageningen and during that time became a board member for Thymos sports association. After completing her bachelor's she switched to a Sport, Health and Management course.

‘Squash is good for working up a sweat, having fun with someone, and it's exciting,’ Zoelen says. ‘Lots of people in Wageningen play squash, but there are no clubs or tournaments.’ Last year she asked around among squash players to find out they would like. ‘Most wanted lessons and to find new opponents. It’s difficult to find someone of the same level, and the lessons that sports-card holders can follow now are often not what they are looking for in terms of level and frequency.’

During the discussion in the lunch break, half of those present indicate that they would like to take lessons occasionally and then be able to put what they have learned into practice. ‘We are going to look into whether we can arrange a trainer ourselves,’ said Zoelen. She is also going to try and set up a better matching system so squash players can pair up on the USB website, where you reserve squash courts. On 10 February there is a tournament for beginners, and in April there will be tournaments for beginners and advanced players. ‘It’s still a bit too early to form a club, but this way we can start gradually, perhaps,’ says Zoelen.

International students also take part in the activities. Adur, a Basque student, enjoyed knocking a ball around on Sunday. ‘It’s fun to play against lots of different students,’ remarked the student of International Horticulture. The tournament produced at least one exciting match. Willem Rienks, a researcher at Centrum Landschap at Alterra, who was third last summer in the kaatsen championships in Friesland, won the final.

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