The inaugural Squash Legends title will be contested between New Zealand’s former World Champion Ross Norman, famed for ending the five and half year unbeaten run of the greatest ever player Jahangir Khan, and England’s Gawain Briars, a former World No.4, British No.1 and two time British National Champion.
“This is the first time that the championships will feature a Legends title,” confirmed internationalSPORTgroup™ Chief Executive Officer Paul Walters.
“We are delighted that both Ross Norman and Gawain Briars have accepted our invitations to help launch this exciting new initiative which will undoubtedly help
reinforce the world’s oldest and most prestigious squash championships with its illustrious and unrivalled history.”
Ross Norman, a former World No.2 and New Zealand’s most successful men’s player, said: “To return after all of these years to the British Open and compete in the inaugural Squash Legends, is  a privilege. I have never stopped playing this great game and to once again perform on the all-glass show on Finals day against a quality opponent like Gawain Briars, will be a true adrenaline rush. Gawain had a good record against me in the '80's so it would be good to turn back the clock with a win!”
With both players recording four wins against each other on the World Tour, each will be keen to enjoy the bragging rights that victory would give them.
“I am delighted to have been asked to play this special Squash Legends match against an old foe and a good friend,” added Briars. “Ross is a true legend of the game who has kept himself in amazing physical condition. It will be quite emotional taking the court after all of these years at a British Open - especially on Final's day. Squash has given so much to both of us over our professional playing careers and I am very appreciative for this opportunity to roll back the years and once again compete at squash’s greatest tournament. I only hope his swing has reduced a little over the years!”
Australian David Palmer, who celebrated his thirteen successive appearance at this years event, since making his debut in 1997, added: “I think having revered players from the past competing alongside the present day players can only be a major boost for the British Open.
“Although I never played against either Ross or Gawain on the World Tour, I remember seeing both compete. Players and rivalries from their generation were a major influence during my own formative years. The British Open has a lot of history and tradition and this year’s event has only served to reinforce that it is still the tournament every player wants to win and I’m sure that the match between Ross and Gawain will be just as competitive as the women’s and men’s finals played on the same evening,” concluded the four time British Open Champion.
Instrumental in the launch of Squash Legends is Robert Edwards, a presenter of almost 300 major international squash events over the past 25 years squash, who concluded: “Over the years, at events around the world, I have enjoyed nothing more than relaxing with some of the players and other true aficionados of the game in debating the merits of the greats from the past.
“Would Jahangir have beaten Jonathon Power? What about Jansher Khan and David Palmer at their best? We will never know the answers but the Legends match will allow us to see again the skills of two players who achieved so much at the top of the game.
“In Ross and Gawain we will see two totally contrasting styles and personalities. I will be able to transport myself back to the days when I watched them at their best. It will be a trip that I relish. Both are still in tremendous condition and the pride and self belief that drove them in their playing careers will still be there. What a wonderful interlude for us all,” added The Voice of Squash.
The internationalSPORTgroup British Open – Manchester 2009 is the largest men’s and women’s World Tour ranking event in Europe and is supported by a diverse and distinguished list of event partners and sponsors, including: Manchester City Council, England Squash & Racketball, HEAD Sport, Michael Spiers Jewellers, Imperial Consultants, ASB Squash Courts and ROWE Motor Oil.
For further information, visit the internationalSPORTgroup British Open – Manchester 2009 Official Website, www.isportgroup.com/BritishOpenSquash, email: info@isportgroup.com or contact Press & Media Manager Peter Schmidl on mobile +49 172 7211162, Skype: peter.schmidl1 or email schmidl@squashnet.de
Issued by www.isportgroup.com/SquashNews

Promoters of the internationalSPORTgroup™ British Open Squash Championships, currently being staged at the National Squash Centre in Manchester,have announced the launch of Squash Legends – the first match of which will be played on the Finals evening on Monday 14th September.