At the World Squash Federation Annual General Meeting in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in October 2009, Susie Simcock stood down from her last formal role with World Squash as Director of the Olympics and Major Games Committee.
This brought to an end a significant and extended role with World Squash that saw Susie hold a number of prestigious positions, but none more so than President of the World Squash Federation.
Susie's international involvement started in 1980 as the New Zealand Squash Representative on the Women's International Squash Racquets Federation, which was the forerunner to the Women's International Squash Players' Association. Following her involvement with women's squash, Susie was elected as Vice President of the World Squash Federation in 1989. The World Squash Management Committee comprised a President and three Vice Presidents, and Susie's election was a huge compliment to both her technical abilities but particularly her ability to develop good relationships with squash administrators all over the world.
In 1996 Susie was elected as President of the World Squash Federation and was subsequently re-elected twice. She held this role until 2006 when she was subject to compulsory retirement. The role was particularly demanding for a New Zealander involving extensive travel and attending to business during hours that suited those in the Northern Hemisphere. Susie was widely respected and admired for the strong relationship she built for squash with the IOC and other influential sporting bodies. Communication was one of her real strengths.
Following her role as President, Susie was Emeritus President from 2002-2008, and in the last year was Director of the committee that led Squash's bid for inclusion in the 2016 Olympics. The one recurring theme during Susie's involvement with World Squash was the strong drive to join the Olympics. Huge progress was made in establishing squash as a credible candidate. During the period of Susie's involvement, World Squash extended its membership significantly and squash became a part of every major games events other than the Olympics. This was recognised when squash was voted the number one non-Olympic sport for inclusion on the Olympic programme at the 2005 IOC session in Singapore. The inability for squash to finally obtain a place on the Olympic Games programme has been due to factors beyond the influence of World Squash. The fact the squash is such a strong candidate for inclusion and has been shortlisted, albeit unsuccessfully, for the 2012 and 2016 Olympic Games is testament to the outstanding work undertaken by Susie during her extended involvement with World Squash.
There is nobody in squash and few people in international sport that do not know or have heard of Susie Simcock. At any gathering she is difficult to miss. Her vivacious, outgoing and friendly manner has made her a great friend of many but more importantly, an outstanding ambassador for World Squash and for New Zealand.
There is a large gap to fill for World Squash, but a deserved break from the riggers of international sports administration and travel for Susie.
Susie, thanks and best wishes from the international and New Zealand squash community.