Murray Smith picked up a silver medal in squash at the recent World Police and Fire Games in Vancouver.
Held biennially, the World Police and Fire Games saw more than 10,000 athletes, representing 56 countries, compete in more than 65 sports during 10 days of competition in late August in various venues around Vancouver and the Lower Mainland.
In 1985, the World Police and Fire Games Federation, a non-profit organization, run by the Californian Police Athletics Federation, established the World Police and Fire Games. Today, the Games are a spectacular international sporting event, offering police officers, firefighters, customs and correction officers from around the world an opportunity to showcase their athletic excellence.
Smith was one of only two athletes representing the Conservation Service at the event.
He said there were 100 entrants in the squash competition. The competitors were put into draws according to age groups; 19 to 29, 30 to 39, 40 to 49 and 50-plus. Smith is 49, but for some reason was put into the 30 to 39 draw, which proved to be the toughest group.
He lost his first match and dropped down to the consolation side where he won his next two matches to earn a spot in the consolation final where he lost to finish 2-2 overall, earning him a silver medal.
"It was a wonderful experience," said Smith. "The level of squash was very high. But when the squash was over, it was all about meeting each other and talking about [our] jobs and experience. The Games in Vancouver were outstanding and from what the organizers were saying, one of the best Games ever held."
At the local level, Smith said the Sunshine Coast Squash Association has lots planned for their new season.
The junior program starts the first week of October and continues until the end of March.
Private lessons will be taught for junior players from four new certified coaches. Smith said they are also hoping to start a high school program at Elphinstone and Chatelech.
Squash BC will be partnering with the association, bringing several top junior players to the Coast for an exhibition event. In January, a major cash tournament is taking place in Vancouver and the association is hoping to bring up a few top players from that tournament for another exhibition match.
This is the second year for the association that now has more than 200 people playing squash on the Coast.