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Squash player Vicky Botwright
"Squash sometimes gets left behind with the times"
 real 14k

Thursday, 7 June, 2001, 17:39 GMT 18:39 UK
Squash star told thong's wrong
Vicky Botwright in her revealing new squash outfit (SquashPics.com)
Botwright feels her outfit is for the good for the game
Squash player Vicky Botwright has been advised against wearing a thong at this year's British Open Championships in Birmingham.

The 16th seed, who revealed her choice of outfit at the championships, has had to abandon plans to wear her preferred choice of clothing - a sports bra and thong - on court.

Women's International Squash Players' Association (Wispa) rules stipulate the players must wear either a skirt or a dress - but does not mention underwear.

But squash officials believe the 23-year-old's revealing outfit would prove to be too much of a distraction for referees.

Speaking to Radio Five Live, Botwright said: "I approached Andrew Shelley, who is the chairperson of the Wispa, if us girls were allowed to wear skimpier clothing.


"Squash always seemed to be skirt and top or dress - it's quite boring really, we need to attract a wider audience
  Vicky Botwright

"He saw the clothing and said 'not really', but he said he would put it to the board and see what they said.

"The board had a meeting but they still came back and said 'no'."

Botwright denied accusations of copying tennis pin-up Anna Kournikova, the Russian star who has made her name with her looks and racy outfits.

But the Manchester-born squash player believed allowing more revealing clothing would inject a renewed enthusiasm for the sport.

"Squash sometimes gets left behind the times," she added.

"You look at other sports like athletics where they wear little bra tops and running knickers and you look at tennis and they are all trendy - they are becoming more revealing.

"Squash always seemed to be skirt and top or dress - it's quite boring really, we need to attract a wider audience."

And if wearing less is the way forward for squash to become a mainstream sport, then Botwright is in full support.

"I don't think squash can complain about what anyone takes an interest in because we are a minority sport - any interest is good interest."

Vicky Botwright in her new outfit
Will Botwright set a new squash precedent?
Wispa has been criticised by British Open promoter Paul Smith, who believes Botwright is about to revolutionise women's squash.

"I think it is somewhat archaic of Wispa to ban the clothing, this is the kind of publicity we want to see in terms of changing fashions in the sport," he said.

"Squash is becoming more mainstream and I'm delighted that Vicky's pictures have created a lot of interest.

"Most of the girls on the circuit can match the girls on the tennis tournament and I think squash will follow the same route."

However, Wispa chairman Shelley was keen to reiterate no final decision had been made on Botwright's outfit.

"We want to be sure there are no downsides if the women are wearing thongs," he said.

"We want to take a common sense view and that will take a few days to decide.

"It is the integrity of the players we are concerned about and we hold their best interests at heart."

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