Bega will host the Australian Open of Squash this year.
In a stunning coup for the local club, the Bega Squash Club has secured the rights to host the national title.
Nearly every detail about the competition is still in the air, including dates, but Bega Squash Club president John Stylianou said he was ecstatic to confirm it would be going ahead at the local courts.
“We have secured the rights to hold the Australian Open here in Bega,” Mr Stylianou beamed.
“This is a massive deal, it’s the Australian title and a major international event.
“The competition will be run by the local club in conjunction with Squash Australia who are based out of Brisbane.
“They will have their own staff on hand to support the local volunteers.”
There will be a tournament director on hand to ensure all play runs smoothly for what is expected to be a 48-strong combined field with 24 players in each the men’s and women’s tournaments.
Matches are also expected to be streamed live with a special team on hand to set up video coverage of play for worldwide broadcasts.
Mr Stylianou said the Australian Open competition would be held over five days.
The Bega Club’s own PSA tournament had already grown to a $15,000 prize pool last year, but will swell once more.
“There will be the men’s title, but also the Australian women’s title as well and the prize pool could potentially be more than $30,000,” Mr Stylianou said.
“We had already doubled the prize last year and this will be double that again.”
Mr Stylianou said the Australian Open was likely to be held shortly after the World Doubles Titles in Carrara in June, ensuring maximum international entries.
“With an event of this calibre we’ll be anticipating entries from more than a dozen countries around the globe,” he said.
“This is an incredible result for a small club like ours.”
Entries could also include some familiar faces, including last year’s Bega’s PSA event winner Rex Hedrick.
Squash Australia has not yet released dates for the Australian Open and more information will be provided as the governing body finalises plans.