Inspirational Pakistani squash player Maria Toorpaki Wazir – who last week spoke at the Vatican at the first global conference on Sports at the Service of Humanity, met with Thomas Bach, the president of the IOC, and received an award from the Italian Squash Federation – was honoured by US Squash yesterday during a day of celebrations dedicated to honoured the achievements of women in sport.
The annual Women In Sport Day took place during the 2016 Delaware Investments U.S. Open and saw Wazir honoured after local girls from Philadelphia’s SquashSmarts urban youth enrichment program had the opportunity of a lifetime by joining the likes of Joelle King and Laura Massaro on court for a special coaching clinic.
That also preceded a gala reception that brought together more than two hundreds guests to celebrate the accomplishments and contributions of women in squash and the broader sports world – where PSA Deputy Chairman Ashley Bernhard discussed the importance of prize-money parity.
“We are proud to celebrate equal prize money for female squash players here at the US Open and to come together to celebrate the recognise the accomplishments and contributions of women in sport,” said Bernhard.
“The future is going to be bright. Parity has proved to sustainable for the Tour and every World Series event will have full parity by the end of 2017.”
Toorpaki Wazir said: “It is a miracle I am here today.
“I dedicate this award to all the fathers who are supporting their daughters. His trust and his love has given me courage. This is the time when we are recognizing the power of sports. We can transform our lives, our souls, we can connect to each other. This is the way to peace.”
Joining Wazir in being recognised was AJ Copeland – a leader of Women’s Squash Week and a co-chair of US Squash’s Women’s Committee.
“Squash has given me so much more than I could ever give back,” said Copeland. “The friendships I have in the game mean everything to me.”
The President’s Cup is the highest individual award at US Squash. Inaugurated in 1966, the award is given to men and women who have made substantial contributions of the game of squash. Toorpakai is the forty-fifth recipient of the President’s Cup and the second, after Hashim Khan in 1978, to hail from Pakistan.