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Duncalf Recieves ToC Women’s Squash leadership Award

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January 15, 2020
by Chris McClintick

[Above: John Nimick, Jenny Duncalf, Ashley Bernhard, Jessica Winstanley]

Jenny Duncalf, the former world No.2 and a current associate host at the 2020 J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions, received the 2020 ToC Women’s Squash Leadership Award during the seventh-annual ToC Women’s Leadership Awards Program. The annual luncheon, held on the twentieth floor of the Yale Club of New York, was supported by Lexington Partners and benefitted the Women’s Sports Foundation.

To begin the afternoon, Will Carlin, Duncalf’s fellow emcee and master of ceremonies at the ToC, introduced Ashley Bernhard and John Nimick. Bernhard spoke about the vision of the Women’s Sports Foundation to unlock the potential of every woman and girl through sport and quoted Nelson Mandela who said: “sport has the power to change the world. It has the power to inspire. It has the power to united people.”

Nimick the tournament chair and director, thanked Lexington Partners who have been a leading sponsor of the ToC for twenty-one years.

Olga Harvey, the chief strategy and impact officer at the Women’s Sports Foundation, spoke about her career as a tennis player at Cornell and how the WSF is supporting the pursuit of opportunity equity for men and women.

Two young college graduates, Andreina Benedith originally from CitySquash and Zainab Bakayoko originally from StreetSquash, spoke about how squash transformed their lives.

Laura Massaro, former world No.1 and world champion, spoke about her quarter century-long friendship with the honoree. She noted that Duncalf once had a nearly five-year stretch where she never lost playing for England. She also talked about partnering with Duncalf in doubles in two straight Commonwealth Games—they won a silver medal each time.

Duncalf was an exceptional player, winning eleven PSA titles and earning over 130 caps playing for England, but she was also a powerful advocate for professional women’s squash. She helped lead the merger of the men’s and women’s pro tours and served as the first women’s president and board member in the united PSA. She also was a leader in the successful effort to have prize-money parity at all major PSA tournaments.

She spoke about the inequality and lack of opportunity she faced as a girl in Yorkshire, when she was forced to quit soccer at the age of nine because at the time in England girls were not allowed to play on boys’ teams and there were no girls teams. She thanked her mother, Jo Pearson, who supported her through the year. “If you have a daughter who has a passion,” Duncalf said, “give her the chance to indulge that passion, to follow it as far as she can, like my mother did.”

Past recipients include Wendy Lawrence, Sarah Fitz-Gerald, Nicol David, Demer Holleran, Linda Elriani and Natalie Grainger.