After six busy, hard-fought days of competition, Canadian squash athletes are coming home with four Pan American Games medals: two Silver, and two Bronze. The squash competition was held from October 31 to November 5 in Santiago, Chile, and hosted events in Men’s and Women’s Individual, Teams, and Doubles, as well as a Mixed Doubles event. The Pan Am Games is one of the pinnacle events for squash and showcases some of the best squash the Americas have to offer.
In the Individual draw, Canada was represented by Hollie Naughton, Nicole Bunyan, David Baillargeon, and George Crowne. Naughton, Bunyan, and Baillargeon succeeded against their opponents in the round of 16; however, Baillargeon and Bunyan unfortunately fell in the quarter finals to Diego Elias of Peru and Marina Stefanoni of the USA, respectively. Naughton bested Meghan Best of Barbados in the quarter finals, securing herself a medal; she lost in the semi finals to soon-to-be Gold medalist Olivia Fiechter, and came away with a Bronze medal to start off the medal count for Team Canada in squash.
For the Doubles events, both Men’s Doubles (Baillargeon and Graeme Schnell) and Women’s Doubles (Naughton and Nikole Todd) departed competition in the quarter finals - the women to Colombia, and the men to the Independent Athletes Team. In the Mixed, however, Bunyan and Crowne triumphed in their semi final match against the Independent Athletes Team. For the duo of Bunyan and Crowne, this was their first foray into competitive mixed doubles and their first Pan Am Games! Facing the USA in the Gold medal match, the duo fought hard but unfortunately lost 1-2 and are coming home with a Silver medal for their efforts.
The third, and final, events of the Games for squash were the Men’s and Women’s Team events. Both teams won their quarter finals - the women facing Ecuador and the men facing the USA. The Men’s encounter with the Americans was a battle from the start and was a great victory as the unseeded Canadian men triumphed over ¾ seed USA. In the semi finals, the men lost to Colombia and received a Bronze medal, while the women won their match against Colombia and advanced to the Gold medal match against the USA. Bunyan and Naughton left it all on the court but were bested by USA’s Fiechter and Sobhy - both ranked in the world top 10. The Canadian Women’s Team added a Silver medal to their collection, and concluded the squash competition at the Pan Am Games.
“Fantastic week here for Canada, both on the men’s and women’s sides,” shared Nicole Bunyan, who earned two Silver medals at these Games: one in the Mixed Doubles and one in the Women’s Team event. “Personally, I loved the honor of playing for my country and giving Canadians something to cheer for. It’s a different kind of pride and performance on court when you get to perform for your country! The women’s team achieved our seeding of second and earned a Silver medal which we are pleased about; everyone put together strong performances. We were also really pleased to see the men upset the USA in the team event and go on to win a Bronze medal. It’s always a great personal achievement to win against the USA as they are such strong competitors and rivals. Really positive experience and performance from everyone - very proud.”
Squash Canada is incredibly proud of our athletes and their achievements at these Games. The six athletes qualified for Team Canada based on their PSA rankings, their recent head-to-head results, and/or their performances at previous Pan American Games and Championships. The Canadian squash team qualified for the Santiago Games at the 2023 Pan American Championships in Cartagena, Colombia in June.
Team Canada’s squash team for the Santiago 2023 Pan American Games was: