Barry’s renewed love for squash was ignited when he met up with his old friend Jahangir Kahn in December 2016. Now his goal, is competing in and hopefully winning the 2018 World Masters Over 55’s Open in Virginia, USA.
Barry Watkins was born in 1961 in Warrington, Cheshire. He began to play squash at the young age of 11. At 19 Barry was a finalist in the 1980 British Junior closed. His career quickly progressed as he became a quarter finalist in the British Junior Open as well as a World Junior Open quarter finalist in in 1980. Later that year Barry turned professional. In 1981 Barry was ranked number 71 in the world, followed by a UK ranking in the top 10 in the UK in 1982/83.
(Above Left: Barry Watkins and Jahangir Khan )
In 1982 his world ranking was increased to no 50.
Shortly after being ranked 50 in the world Barry contracted Glandular Fever, which in total took 14 months to recover from. Then after a run of good health and fitness he began to improve his game and was able to play better than he previously did in 1982. Unfortunately during this period, Barry received a strike to his left eye from the ball which stopped him from playing for a further 4 months.
In 1985, after making yet again another recovery, Barry carried out a tour in South Africa which proved to be very successful. On his return to the UK and Europe he played in a graded tournament in Barcelona, Spain. On the morning of the quarter finals Barry was involved in a serious incident, where he was knocked down as a pedestrian by a car in a hit and run scenario.
Shortly after this he retired from playing in 1986.
After only playing 20 times between 1986 and 2004, and then not again until December 2016, Barry has set himself a new goal. His target is to play in the over 55’s World Masters Open in Virginia (USA) in 2018, and like many others hopes to win. Physically he is not starting from scratch, as over the years he has remained working in the fitness industry after retiring from squash.
The decision to start playing again was ignited by Jahangir Khan ( regarded as the greatest squash player of all time) when he spent 3 days with Barry in December 2016. Jahangir encouraged him to finish off what he had started all those years ago…
The 2018 WSF World Masters Squash Championships – which attract more competitors than any other event in World Squash – will take place in Charlottesville, Virginia, following the World Squash Federation’s decision to stage the biennial event in the USA.
The 15th edition of the championships – but the first to be held in the USA – will feature men’s and women’s events in categories ranging from Over-35 to Over-80, and will take place at the McArthur Squash Center at the Boar’s Head Sports Club in Charlottesville from 29 July to 4 August 2018, under the auspices of US Squash.
“On behalf of everyone at Boar’s Head, we are delighted to serve as the host for the 2018 World Masters and truly grateful for the confidence the World Squash Federation has placed in us,” said Matt Harris, Boar’s Head General Manager.
Boar’s Head is one hour west of the Virginia state capital Richmond and only two hours south of the US capital Washington, D.C. Boar’s Head lies at the foot of the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains and is in close proximity to Monticello and the University of Virginia’s Academical Village, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, museums, local shops, numerous restaurants, breweries and wineries.
James Neiderer, Club Manager for the Boar’s Head Sports Club, added: “Our team will work diligently to ensure that the competitors and their guests have an enjoyable and memorable experience during their time in Charlottesville. Hosting this prestigious event is a significant step in recognizing the already accomplished growth story of squash here in Virginia and the mid-Atlantic. And, it rewards a community of people who have the leadership and ambition to further the growth of the sport of squash in our region.”
Mark Allen, Director of Squash at the McArthur Squash Center, which boasts eight conventional courts as well as an all-glass showcourt, said:
“Personally, I’m also looking forward to welcoming so many squash playing friends from around the world, the United Kingdom, South Africa, and other parts of the United States, to Charlottesville.” For more information on how to sponsor Barry Click HERE