Wednesday, 3 December 2008

Women's World Teams - watch for free!

The Women's World Team Championships 2008 is currently at the quarter-final stage in the National Stadium, Cairo.

Though reigning champions England are weakened by the recent retirement of Vicky Botwright, their strength in depth has carried them through to the final stages relatively untroubled.

And if you know where to look, you can watch it for free ...

Live coverage will be available free to squash fans worldwide following an agreement reached between the World Squash Federation and 247.TV.

"This will be the biggest ever live webcast of a squash tournament - and the audience is also expected to break all records for a live audience," said 247.tv spokesman Peter Wickson. Watch live coverage at 247.TV

During the recent Olympics presentation in Lausanne, the fact that web streaming of squash matches has become commonplace was given as evidence that the sport is embracing new technologies and selling itself to a worldwide audience.

Web streaming of live events has only really started to become mature in the past couple of years as the baseline client technology of regular users has become sophisticated enough to allow let people watch coverage uninterrupted.

I remember a year ago at the British Open it was announced that the public was going to be allowed to watch the Final live for free - a great idea, until the server crashed due to unprecedented demand: a vindication, of sorts!

Here's hoping that viewers of the 247.TV coverage have more luck.

Hong Kong spring upset, New Zealand look strong

Ninth seeds Hong Kong scored a 3/0 win over France to take a place in the latter stages. Hong Kong number two Joey Chan put the outsiders ahead, beating Celia Allamargot 11-8, 11-6, 13-11. It was left to the squad's third string Shin Nga Leung to ensure Hong Kong a place in the top eight - their highest-ever finish in nine appearances since 1990 - when the 19-year-old beat Maud Duplomb 12-10, 11-7, 11-9.

Third seeds New Zealand garner fewer column inches than they should, perhaps because they have been overshadowed by their neighbourly rivals Australia for so many years.

Now what Australia are no longer the force they once were in women's squash (many reasons - see here and here), the main challenge to the English girls comes from Egypt, though the Kiwi trio of Jaclyn Hawkes, Louise Crome and Shelley Kitchen have justified their third-seed status through a number of notable individual performances over the past year, and I would suspect that neither of the top two teams would want to face them in the final.

Women's World Team Championships 2008

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