Squash tournament honours fallen hero

28 February 2011

Following a very successful competition in 2010, the UCT Squash Club is again hosting the annual Keith Grainger Memorial UCT Squash Open Championships this year. The event will be staged in the Sports Centre from 4 to 6 March.

The UCT tournament is named in memory of the late UCT student, a national school champion who, despite bone cancer and losing his leg in an amputation, was a dedicated servant to the club and the sport at UCT. Among other things, Grainger would go on court - with an artificial leg - and hit balls to beginners and help them with their technique.

He was also centrally involved in organising the club's first tour to the US, in December 2000, and went on the tour as manager - even playing a couple of matches en route.

Grainger died in September 2001 during the third year of his studies.

At the UCT Sports Awards that year, Professor John Simpson awarded his Chairperson's Award to Keith posthumously.

"It is an award made solely at the discretion of the Chair of Sports Council to someone or some group of people who had made an outstanding contribution to sport, but for whom the awards on offer are not applicable," said Simpson at the time. "If anything, the task has become tougher each year, but to be quite frank, this year's recipient was so clearly the obvious choice that it took me but a few seconds to make that decision."

The 2010 event was a great success with 56 players - some of the country's best players among them - turning up for the event, reports sports administrator Kerr Rogers.

Among those taking part was Grainger's sister, Natalie, the world number five and the top-ranked player in the US. Grainger, who won the women's event in 2010, will return in 2011. Also attending will be parents Jean and Chris, who still play competitive squash for the Gauteng masters' team.

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