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Paris Squash 2023, we're almost there... lookback into the big tournaments held in France

Updated: Aug 21, 2023

As we've already mentioned before, the Paris Squash 2023 (August, 27 to September, 2nd) will gather the elite of world male and female squash for a major event on French soil, and that will be a first. Nevertheless, there've been a few big events in France in the past, here is a lookback in time ...

While the French Squash Federation had just been created, an highlight for squash in France in the 80s were the Internationaux Guy Laroche, a famous fashion designer who was both a squash lover and a close friend of Jacques Chirac's. 6 editions in total were held between 1983 and 1988, and featured the best male players in the world. Therefore, it's no surprise to see Jahangir Khan's name several times in the list of winners.

In 1986 and 1990, the individual Men's World Championship was held in Toulouse (at the Palais des Sports, in front of several thousands of people). The final of the earlier one is legendary, because that's when New Zealand's Ross Norman ended Jahangir Khan's 555-match winning streak. In 1990, Jansher Khan won the 3rd of his 8 World Opens, beating Chris Dittmar in the final.

In 1988 and 1989, the same two players featured in the final of the two Open de Paris Perrier, which boasted a $60,000 prize fund and were held at the Jeu de Paume. The result was the same than in Toulouse, the Pakistani winning on both occasions.

After that, a few events, with a smaller prize money than the majors but featuring some elite players, such as the Internationaux de France in Antibes 2002, took place in France. In 2008, a glass court was set up in the salle Charpy in Paris, for a new edition of the Internationaux. 4 top 10 players were featuring for this $64,000 Men's event, and Spaniard Borja Golan knocked two of them out - Thierry Lincou and James Willstrop - before surrendering to the top seed, Frenchman Grégory Gaultier in the final.

In 2019 and 2022, l'open international de Nantes - unanimously praised for the quality of its organization - benefited from the designation "open de France". Four years ago, Camille Serme won the women's tournament, to the delight of a very loud local crowd, while Paul Coll came out on top in the men's draw. There was another burst of joy last year with the triumph of youngster Victor Crouin, whose win over Marwan ElShorbagy in the final propelled him in the world top 10, while Nele Gilis lifted the women's trophy after beating her younger sister Tinne.

Come to the Palais de Tokyo from the 27th of August onwards and help us write another page of French squash history!

📷 Chisholm Larsson Gallery, PSA, Lauranne Rochais, SiteSquash

By Jérôme Elhaïk

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