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Welcome to the world of squash

Peking University, Apr. 11, 2014: To promote squash on campus and let more people benefit from playing squash, PKU Squash Association invited Ren Zengli, co-founder of Beijing USS Squash Club and two other experienced squash aficionados to give a public lecture on Squash 101 on March 21.

It was Friday night but the lecture attracted almost a hundred students and teachers into the lecture hall in PKU Gym. They embarked on the journey into the squash world by watching an exhilarating clip of a recent top-level squash match. Afterwards, Professor He Zhongkai, advisor of PKU Squash Association, introduced the three heavyweights in the circle of squash in China.

“If you can beat them in squash, you are at the top 10 level nationally!”

Indeed. Ren Zengli was the former number One squash player in Beijing and former national team player. Now he devotes most of his time to running Beijing USS Squash Club and promoting Squash. After providing basic information about the history and development of squash over the world, he began to introduce the status quo of squash in China through his own experience.

Ren picked up squash racket in 1994 after seeing some foreigners playing this interesting ball game in a high-end hotel. He became addicted to it and with some guidance from an experienced foreign player, started training and competing regularly in his spare time before getting recruited to form the first Chinese National Squash Team in 2006 prior to the Doha Asian Games. “We were not professional athletes and we were not young; the five of us all had our own jobs. And at one point we could not even rival some 19-year-olds in Hong Kong where squash is much more popular.” Ren recalled.

Ren encouraged the audience to play squash regularly as a means to improve physical fitness and give it a shot to become involved in competitive squash. “I never thought I was going to be an athlete and would play for China when I was your age. Maybe you can do it too. Squash is still in its infancy in China.”

To Ren and many squash lovers, squash is a lifestyle. The next speaker, Li Hai, is one vivid demonstration. He looked much younger than he really was, if not betrayed by his white hair. “Look. I am still quite healthy and flexible for my age. Playing squash is my secret. I still play squash regularly and would love to play more often if not for my work.” The audience was impressed. He also shared his knowledge of the squash courts as he was the man behind the company which built the two high-standard glass-wall squash courts in PKU Gym.

Coach Wang Yan from USS Squash Club went on to talk about the ins and outs of a squash game, from equipment to basic rules and game strategies. He was formerly a tennis player but shifted to squash which he truly excels at and loves. His personal charisma and interactive speech style took the lecture to a climax as many beginners present eagerly sought his advice on how to improve their squash skills.

Most of the audience stayed for the whole two and a half hours and exhibited much interest to play squash more and become better at it. It was truly a comprehensive and rewarding journey in the world of squash.

Exactly a year ago, PKU Squash Association was founded as the first university squash association in Mainland China. Over the course of 12 months it enjoyed a big boost and grew into a family of over a hundred members. Earlier this year, they teamed up with Beijing USS Squash Club to promote squash on campus and started to explore new channels of cooperation such as training and holding frequent friendly matches.

Written by: Cheng Zui and Chen Long
Edited by: Chen Long
Source: PKU News (Chinese)