British Open - November 6th - Preview
The British Open Class A event will have a new winner and the likely first winner of a world ranking event. Alex Hartley won the Welsh Open in 2009 and Rakesh Gupta has won international O45 events but everyone else has only won domestic events. Domestic winners of events include Duncan Stahl, Chris Mckee, Keith Lesser, Stuart Hobden and Paul Wallace as well as Hartley. Jermaine Manners didn't enter and Ed Batson is takling a rest from the sport after moving to a different part of the country for a new job. Ray Jordan will act as tournament referee as the domestically ranked number one isn't ready for the tournament following a trip to Australia.
Other contenders include David Culshaw, Tom Whitehouse and Jeremy Krystyniak who have finished runners up in previous events. As you can see it is probably the most open event ever held in the UK and the winner can almost be picked out of the hat. The match of the 1st round is probably Dave Culshaw v Tom Whitehouse. Both are strong contenders to win the event, with Whitehouse an established talent (with strong badminton pedigree) who did not quite yet reach his racketlon potential and Culshaw a new player who only lost to English Open 2010 winner Ed Batson by 1 point at the 2011 Surrey Open.
Tournament Organiser Rakesh Gupta will be happy with the 3rd UK Ranking event (and 1st World Ranking event) to be held at Virgin Active, Croydon. The entries are quite good at around 50 and there is room for improvement in future years. This is particularly in Ladies and Juniors which we had to cancel because of a poor entry. There are 2 entrants from abroad from Germany, which is not many, but equally not unexpected with the great selection of racketlon events now around the world and even another challenger on the same day in Gothenburg, Sweden which has attracted a class field. For future years, foreign players can be aware the venue is particularly convenient for London Gatwick Airport.
We also recently had the English Racketlon AGM. The election and re-election is below so racketlon in England is looking good and gaining momentum with some fresh faces.
English Racketlon Association – Executive Board and Sub-Committees
President – Stuart Foster
Chairman – Ray Jordan
Vice Chairman – Richard Lawrence
Treasurer – Keith Lesser
Events Officer – Dominique Ford, Sub-Committee & Event Organisers - Richard Lawrence, Keith Lesser, Rakesh Gupta, Duncan Marlow, Andrew Hopwood, Siraz Natha, Phil Todd, John Garland, Stuart Hobden, Daniel Woodley, Dianne Baker.
IT & Operations Officer – Richard Lawrence. Deputy – Hassan Kayani
Rankings Officer – Stuart Hobden. Deputy – Richard Boreham
North of England Development Officers – Siraz Natha & Phil Todd
Community Funding Officers – Siraz Natha & Laurel Bennett
Marketing Officers – Darren Vickery & Duncan Stahl
Sponsorship Officers – Stuart Foster & Rakesh Gupta
Sport England & Recognition Officer – Julian Kashdan-Brown
Clubs & Counties Officer – John Garland
FIR Council Representation – Gary Tovey