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arrow pointing leftBack 11 April 24 - by England Squash

Inclusive squash sessions for deaf community wins annual award

Malikah Khan has been named as the inaugural winner of the Community Project of the Year award at the 2023 England Squash Awards thanks to her inspiring community outreach work with deaf and female participants across Birmingham.

Khan leads women’s squash and badminton sessions across several clubs for the deaf community.

Talking about her work in the city, Malikah said: “We work in areas where people don't really know much about squash and it was completely new. So, this project was essentially to bring in women to try squash and it was also for the deaf community.

“We reached out to anyone who wouldn't have the opportunity to play, and it was really nice and supportive.

Malikah on a squash court

"A lot of the ladies that came down helped with the deaf participants, bringing their personality out and reducing isolation.

"Essentially, a community feel because in the end all the ladies really enjoy the sports.”

Khan, who is a student at Birmingham University, has only played squash herself for a year. She said: “I have only just got into squash myself. I was playing a bit of badminton before, but with squash it's very flexible in terms of ability. If you want to slow it down, you can, if you want to step it up, it's really flexible. I think that's what I personally really enjoyed.

“The skills I was developing in other sports, I could see myself doing the same thing in squash as well, which I find very easy and adaptable. I wanted to become somebody who could help, so I become a squash activator.”

Khan leads the project with Unlocking Potential Deaf and Hearing which was funded by England Squash.

On winning the award, Khan couldn’t contain her delight, she said:

“I've seen projects that are just as deserving and I'm very happy to know that my hard work out there is being acknowledged.

"The main thing for me is that people are enjoying and loving the sessions. It’s touching for me, and it makes me really want to continue.

“I'm really keen on pushing voices that are not usually heard. Through engaging with the deaf community, I saw a lack of sport opportunities for them and so I wanted to help out. I've had experiences with the deaf community so I felt comfortable to say, okay, let's see how we can adapt the sport in order to meet your own needs.”

Find out more about the 2023 Awards.