ESF European Team Division 1 Squash Championships: Women's preview

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ESF European Team Division 1 Squash Championships: Women's preview

Can Belgium's Gilis sisters prevent England's women winning a staggering 41st title at the 2024 ESF European Team Squash Championships? That will be an intriguing plotline at the prestigious event in Zurich on 1-4 May.

England have only been denied the ESF European Team women's title twice in 42 stagings of the competition (in 2019 by France and 2010 by the Netherlands). They will be bidding to continue their extraordinary dominance, led by recent German Open champion Gina Kennedy.

Their nearest rivals are likely to be last year's runners-up Belgium, for whom Nele and Tinne Gilis will pose a serious threat. France and Wales are seeded to complete the semi-final line-up and will hope to spring a big surprise.

We take a closer look at the eight teams lining up at the Squash Arena in Uster, Zurich:



Commonwealth Games gold medallist Gina Kennedy takes the captain's armband for the first time as England bid for yet another European team title. As well as the world no.6, England have the highly experienced Sarah Jane Perry, national champion Jasmine Hutton and a collection of richly talented younger players including Lucy Turmel, Katie Malliff and Torrie Malik.

Key player: Gina Kennedy
Young gun: Torrie Malik
Full squad
Coach: Nick Matthew & Tania Bailey


Melissa Alves and Marie Stephan are both experienced campaigners in the world top 50, but perhaps the most exciting player in the French squad is 17-year-old Lauren Baltayan, who led France to their first ever European U19 Team title last month and finished third in the U17s at the British Junior Open.

Key player: Melissa Alves
Young gun: Lauren Baltayan
Full squad
Coach: Yann Menegaux


Spain were promoted from Division 2 in 2022 and finished a creditable fifth last year in Helsinki. They are without Cristina Gomez this year, however, so Marta Dominguez leads the team. She is boosted by winning the recent World Championship qualifying event in Nantes. Ona Blasco, former winner of the US Junior Open U11 title, will be fascinating to watch.

Key player: Marta Dominguez
Young gun: Ona Blasco
Full squad
Coach: Borja Golan


Czech Republic were promoted to Division 1 last year after finishing runners-up to Scotland in Helsinki. They will be hoping to make an impression at Europe's top table, where they will be led by 32-year-old three-time national champion Anna Serme. Michaela Cepova, 23, has also had some notable results on tour this season. Karolina Sramkova, currently fifth in the European U19 rankings and who finished fourth in the European U19 Individuals last month, will be an important member of the squad.

Key player: Anna Serme
Young gun: Karolina Sramkova
Full squad
Coach: Ondrej Uherka



Nele and Tinne Gilis almost led Belgium to a first-ever European Team title last year in Helsinki but Tinne's four-game defeat to England's Jasmine Hutton proved crucial in the final. It seems likely to be just as close in Zurich. Nele and Tinne, currently No.4 and No.9 in the world, will be joined in the squad by young Chloé Crabbé, who is currently ranked three on the ESF U19 junior circuit.

Key player: Nele Gilis
Young gun: Chloé Crabbé
Full squad
Coach: Ronny Vlassaks


Wales' women finished third last year in Helsinki and a best-ever second in 2022 in Eindhoven. Can their titanic duo Tesni Evans and Emily Whitlock get them on the podium once again in 2024? Evans has now recovered from a horrible injury sustained at last summer's British National Championships and reached the semi-finals of the recent German Open, while Whitlock, now 30, remains inside the world's top 25. Ellie Breach, recent winner of the French Junior Open, will be one to watch.

Key player: Tesni Evans
Young gun: Ellie Breach
Full squad
Coach: Greg Tippings


Swiss no.1 Cindy Merlo has been in and around the world's top 50 for the last four years and Nadia Pfister is a player of similar ability also in her prime at 28 years old. They will guide the slightly younger Celine Walser and Ambre Allinckx as the Swiss aim to match their best ever finish of third place in 2001.

Key player: Cindy Merlo
Young gun: N/A
Full squad
Coach: Pascal Bruhin


Scotland have a fresh young squad bursting with potential and will want to make their mark in Division 1 after being promoted as Division 2 champions last year. Georgia Adderley reached a career-high world ranking of 32 last month as well as winning her biggest PSA Tour title so far in Calgary. Alison Thomson has also won two PSA trophies this season, while Robyn McAlpine is a hot prospect who has achieved podium places at the Nordic, Irish and Scottish Junior Opens this year.

Key player: Georgia Adderley
Young gun: Robyn McAlpine
Full squad
Coach: Paul Bell


Follow live streaming of the ESF European Team Championships from 1-4 May on our YouTube channel and Eurovision Sport, plus groups, schedule and results here

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