FIT: Tweetie De Leon-Gonzales promotes Squash as a form of full-body workout

IMAGE Mark Atienza

On the benefits of playing squash, Tweetie says, "You keep your butt nice and firm, and then it challenges your agility, your speed, your strength, aside from the skill. So, it’s an overall concept of what fitness is all about."


Let’s play Squash!

Summer is the perfect time to try new activities, not to mention burn some calories to achieve a body worthy to be flaunted on the beach.

While most of us have probably played badminton and some of us may be fans of tennis, another racquet sport is gaining attention in the country.

Squash, as described by Wikipedia, is a racquet sport played by two (singles) or four players (doubles) in a four-walled court with a small, hollow rubber ball.

Last April 27, model Tweetie De Leon Gonzales organized a Squash tournament at the Manila Polo Club to help boost the game’s popularity in the country.

The event was attended by some of her friends from the fashion circle such as Phoemela Barranda, Rissa Mananquil, Reema Chanco, Apples Saberin and Anton del Rosario.

Kapuso actress Solenn Heussaff also dropped by the event to show support for her dad Louis Paul, who plays squash regularly.

Tweetie relates how she got involved with the sport after getting an invitation to join the Squash Rackets Association of the Philippines five years ago.

She recalls,“One of my projects was to come up with a celebrity squash tournament mainly to promote the sport.

“So, I wanted to increase awareness for squash and I thought what better way to do it than have this tournament?

“With friends…it’s not a really serious tournament. It’s a good mix of good players and beginners. It’s just totally fun."

So, it’s a friendly tournament?

“It’s friendly, yeah. But sometimes, with the fun comes a little sense of competition.”


WHOLE-BODY EXERCISE. Squash is an excellent way to stay in shape as it works out the whole body.

Tweetie says, “It’s one sport that, practically, the full body is worked out, your upper body – your arms, your back, even your waist from all the twisting, and your legs from all the lunging.

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“You keep your butt nice and firm, and then it challenges your agility, your speed, your strength, aside from the skill. So, it’s an overall concept of what fitness is all about.”

But she clarifies, “It’s not like you play, and then you become fit. You need to be fit to play squash.”

How is squash different from badminton?

“They’re both racquet sports. It’s just that the skill is different, the strokes are different. The swing is different.

“It’s more like tennis than badminton because tennis is full swing just like this one, not as full as tennis. But badminton is more wrist action. This one is a full arm swing.

“And it’s a lot of lunging. The balls are low. The ball is not very bouncy, so, you need to be quick on your feet. It’s a dead ball, actually.”

SUPPORT FOR SQUASH. In comparison to other countries in Asia, Tweetie says squash in the Philippines is still in its baby stages.

Bearing evidence on how big the sport is in Asia, the top female squash player in the world is actually Nicol David, a Malaysian.

Since she started playing about half a decade ago, Tweetie says she’d like to think that the squash community has grown tremendously.

“Somehow, somewhere along the way, a lot of new faces have become interested and got hooked just like I did many years ago.

“Which is why every year, it gets bigger and bigger as a tournament, as an event.

“Aside from this, our board, the Squash Rackets Association of the Philippines, we have other tournaments.

“This is for celebrities. In two months time, we have the Corporate Cup, it’s all for executives.”

Can we expect to have this tournament again next year?

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“If I get help,” she answered with a chuckle.

Just like most other sports, the Philippine national squash team still needs more assistance and funding for international training if we are to compete globally.


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