Personalities: Egyptian wizardry
While to many, Susan Devoy represents the face of Squash New Zealand, the person who can be credited with making the greatest change of direction to our sport is the legendary Dardir El Bakary, the Egyptian squash icon.
Up to the mid sixties, top NZ players aspired to Australian state and national competition, and with it, a fairly 'basic' game founded on fitness and strength.
Dardir changed that.
Coaches and players alike from club level to national squads, flocked to his sessions throughout the country as his legacy developed. It is also no coincidence that virtually all New Zealand's great array of international players from the early seventies through to the nineties were influenced by Dardir.
Bryden Clarke, one of Squash's great characters and himself a former New Zealand Representative and Selector wrote in 1988,
"I am sure that the turning point in our competitive scene was the arrival of Dardir. After visits in 1963 and 1965, Squash New Zealand secured Dardir for what was to be an initial two years from 1967.
This little man with a big heart and serious approach showed us how to use all the court, to volley, to boast, to lob and vary the pace from blistering drives to the softest of floated drops. He taught the coaches of NZ their technical knowledge and many of the junior players of his era went on to be coaches, including Bryce Taylor, Susan Devoy's early mentor on the international circuit
That we eventually had over twenty years from Dardir is unique in the volatile world of such sporting connections. He deserves our warmest thanks."