Natalie Grainger, the World No. 7 on the Women’s International Squash Players’ Association Tour, will become a citizen of the United States of America at an official swearing in ceremony on February 13, 2007.Grainger, a former World No. 1, has been ranked in the world top-ten for seven of the last ten years—and is currently President of WISPA. Grainger is also the current head coach for the US Under-23 development program and an advisor to DC Squash Academy, the inner-city youth program which uses squash, combined with academic tutoring and mentoring, to enrich children’s lives in Washington, DC. She is also the former Assistant Coach to the US Junior Women’s Team that, under her guidance, finished a record equaling fourth at the 2005 Junior World Championships.
“Simply put, there could be no greater asset to the Team USA Squash program than having Natalie Grainger be part of it” said US Squash CEO Kevin Klipstein. “The timing could not be better. In addition to being among the most talented squash players and coaches in the world, Natalie is a leader in whatever she chooses to be involved with, and we are very fortunate she has embraced the United States.”
Kelly Skinner, US Olympic Committee (USOC) Director of Sport Partnership, explained his perspective on the development: “Earning medals at World and Regional competitions is a USOC priority. The addition of Natalie Grainger will enhance US Squash’s ability to increase the profile of the sport in the US and globally by earning medals in high profile competitions such as the Pan American Games.”
Mark Hayden, President and CEO of Harrow Sports, a leading sports equipment manufacturer and one of Grainger’s top sponsors and supporters added: “We are so pleased with this announcement and very proud of all that Natalie has accomplished. We think the US is the growth market for squash worldwide and believe Natalie’s involvement on Team USA and in other areas of US Squash will have a major impact on the sport.”
Grainger will now have the opportunity to represent the United States at the 2007 Pan American Games held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, this July, and is a likely candidate to win double gold medals in the individual and team competitions. To compete for Team USA, she must qualify through earning points in the CHERRYPHARM Team USA Squash Tour, tournaments restricted to US citizens only.