Martin Watts: European Championships 'will inspire players', says Guernsey chief

Chris Simpson
Chris Simpson is Guernsey's only professional squash player

Guernsey director of squash Martin Watts says being given membership of the European Squash Federation will reignite interest in the sport.

Their application was unanimously approved, meaning they can now compete in the European Team Championships.

The Sarnians have followed in the footsteps of fellow islanders Jersey, who made their debut last year.

"It will inspire players to improve their game, get on court and train," Watts told BBC Radio Guernsey.

"It's very easy on an island to become a little bit stagnant and not have the interest from players, but if you have something for the top players to aim for that filters down through the system."

Guernsey will enter a men's and women's team into division three of the European tournament in April, where they could face the likes of Italy, Greece and Portugal.

Chris Simpson, the island's highest-ranked player, won division one with England in Romania this year and must now choose whether to represent them or Guernsey.

"Chris is a professional athlete so we've got his best interests at heart as well," added Watts.

"It's the next level down really, for the guys that are looking to possibly aspire to Chris' standard in the future.

"The reason we've done it is squash isn't always in the Island Games and it's becoming much harder for our players to get into the Commonwealth Games, so we need something for our elite players to aim for."