Simon Warder squash tournament on this week

Juan Camillo-Vargas, left, of Columbia, faces off against Anthony Graham of the U.K. during the semi-final match of the 2016 Simon Warder Memorial Prostate Cancer squash tournament at Huron Oakes. Wayhot Graphics photo

Troy Shantz

Local players are joining some elite names in squash in Bright’s Grove this week for the 6th annual Simon Warder Memorial Prostate Cancer Squash tournament.

The event sanctioned by the Professional Squash Association has drawn players from around the world, and features local hopefuls including Rory Bradd, Deirdre Bradd, Holly Delavigne and Micaala Seth.

The qualifiers began Monday and are building to the finals on Sunday, Nov. 19, hosted at Huron Oaks. The prize purse for both the Men’s and Women’s Pro Divisions is more than $6,000.

Amateur matches are going on this week in conjunction with the professional tournament at the Sarnia Riding Club and Huron Oaks.

The event honours Sarnian Simon Warder, who was an accomplished player, referee, active member of Squash Canada and instrumental in forming the Sarnia Junior Squash Program. He passed away in 2011 after a five-year battle with prostate cancer.

“Simon was an incredible influence to many junior players locally and nationally,” said Brad Fisher, a tournament committee member.

“Simon’s incredible knowledge and passion for the game inspired so many of us to carry on promoting this game to the next generation.”

For those new to the game, tournament matches are open to the public at Huron Oaks, which offers a 360-degree view of the court. Tickets are available at thesimonwarder.ca.

Since 2012, organizers have raised $109,970 for cancer research, including $42,800 last year for the Prostate Care Clinic at Bluewater Health.

Proceeds from this year benefit Bluewater Health and St. Joseph’s Hospice.