In June The Queen’s Club Foundation was delighted to offer a grant in support of Ali Loke, a squash player currently competing on the professional women’s tour. Ali applied for a grant from the Foundation to support her attending some higher-level tournaments which would help increase her world ranking and further progress her squash ability.
Ali begun playing squash at a relatively late age, only taking up the sport while at University. Despite this late start Ali quickly flourished at the sport and decided post University to pursue a career in squash. Her drive and determination saw her rapidly rise up the rankings, achieving a career high of 76 in 2020.
Unfortunately, due to the coronavirus pandemic Ali’s progress was limited over the past 18 months. Additionally, the lost source of income from her squash coaching, and the added costs of entering tournaments abroad due to the coronavirus rules and regulations put Ali’s squash ambitions in a difficult situation financially.
“The financial support from the QCF is hugely appreciated, with the funding going towards the costs of travelling to and competing at tournaments across the coming season. I am very excited about resuming competition after the extended hiatus due to COVID-19. I am extremely appreciative towards the trustees at the QCF for awarding me this grant, as well as the supporters of the foundation who make grants like this possible.” (Ali Loke)
One the important deciding factors in awarding a grant to Ali was her dedication to giving back to the sport. Ali is a coach at Swavesey Squash Club where she currently does fantastic work promoting squash, in particular supporting the women’s game.
“Away from her own competitive ambitions, Ali is always extremely generous in giving back to the sport. She puts a lot of time back into the grassroots of the game, and is an excellent role model, and inspiration, to many of the players she meets.” (Ali’s coach)
The grant awarded by QCF enabled Ali to enter her first World Championships event held in Chicago. Managing to secure at place at the World Championships was a huge achievement by Ali and a testament to all of her hard work.
“For an aspiring player like me, looking to gain some vital experience at top level professional events and in the development stage of my career, financial support from the QCF allowed me take advantage of the opportunity to travel to the World Squash Championships for the first time. I was able to compete amongst the best squash players in the world, at the most prestigious event on the squash world tour, gaining invaluable experience as well as ranking points. The support from the QCF meant that I felt able to take the opportunity without feeling additional stress or putting myself under undue hardship because of financial considerations.” (Ali Loke)
The Queen’s Club Foundation wishes Ali all the best for the remainder of the year, and will be cheering her on as she continues to rise up the rankings.
To stay up to date with Ali’s progress follow her social media @alilokesquash. And for the latest on all things QCF follow @QueensClubFdn.