In another sporting coup, the University of Birmingham will this weekend welcome the world's top squash players when it hosts the sport's most prestigious and longest established events, the Prince English Grand Prix Squash Championships.

The event, which runs from the 6 to 9 September, is a key event on the men's Professional World Tour. It is one of a series of four events culminating in the British Open, which will be held in Manchester on 18-24 September. Its also part of a four-year plan culminating in Birmingham hosting the British Open in 2010.

The university's Great Hall will transform into a professional sports venue by housing a giant purpose-built all-glass squash court and tiered seating, constructed especially for the occasion.

The championships feature most of the world’s top 10 players, including world no.3, Australia’s David Palmer. The qualification games, masters and juniors will be played at Edgbaston Priory, then from the quarter finals onwards, they will be played in the Great Hall.

University of Birmingham graduate Jonathon Harford has been awarded a 'wild card' to automatically qualify for the event and will be playing former world number one and double world university champion, Thierry Lincou in the first round. Alumnus Joey Barrington is one of the favourites to qualify for Thursday’s main draw.

The event is the latest major sporting occasion to be hosted by the university, which last year welcomed Lord Sebastian Coe and other sporting players on campus for the European Athletics Indoor Championship Opening Dinner.   

Zena Wooldridge, Director of Sport at the university and Chair of England Squash said: "This event is another example of an altogether different approach to taking this very exciting sport to unique settings and new audiences. Squash is one of the University’s most successful sports and the City of Birmingham has a long heritage around world class squash, so we hope this event starts to reinstate the Midlands as a leading squash region. And the Great Hall is simply an inspirational venue for an event like this.”

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Media information: Lucy Hood 0121 414 2262