Ahmed Hamroush

Hall of Fame

Ahmed Hamroush
  Born: September 4th, 1921
Died: October 28th, 2011
Inducted: 2023

Ahmed Hamroush was an Egyptian intellectual and  visionary. He was born in 1921. He graduated from the Egyptian Military College in 1942 and later acquired an advanced military degree at the Egyptian Military Academy in 1953. He was a member of the “Free Officers” Organization that led the 1952 movement. In 1955, he changed career by leaving the military to pursue his passion for writing and journalism. He was chief editor of many Egyptian newspapers and weekly magazines and was a regular columnist. He authored books and articles with special focus on modern Egyptian history, particularly the July 1952 revolution of which he was considered one of its most prominent historians. He published 25 books in politics, arts and literature. He was elected as secretary general of the Egyptian Committee for Afro-Asian Solidarity and president of the Egyptian Organization for Solidarity. He continued to be productive until he passed in 2011.

Hamroush’s love for croquet was sparked sometime in the late 50s when he and his wife Fawzia watched the game from the balcony of their Alexandria apartment that overlooked the croquet courts of Sporting Club. They both became fascinated by the game and decided to take it up as a hobby. It did not take long before they became highly competitive players. So competitive that Ahmed won the Egyptian national championship in singles in 1965. Up until that time, croquet was exclusively played in elite clubs and was  predominantly played in a social and friendly fashion without a governing body.

On February 16, 1967, Ahmed Hamroush established the Egyptian Croquet Federation (ECF) and served as its first president, holding this position for many years. As a visionary, he felt the game needs to be organized like an advanced sport requiring established rules, regulations and governance protocols.

Under his leadership, the ECF formalized 5 national championships in men’s singles, ladies’ singles, men’s doubles, ladies’ doubles and mixed doubles. In addition, the ECF established a well-designed club league that allowed teams to compete in home-and-home events competing in five matches in men and women’s singles, doubles and mixed doubles. This brilliant design allowed equal representation of men and women on every team. Something that we rarely see today in national or international team competitions, which is a testament to Hamroush’s progressive and forward thinking.

Hamroush believed that the mission of the ECF should be to remove barriers to participating in croquet. He refused the notion that croquet is an elitist game. He diligently worked on ensuring that every club had at least one croquet court. He was most proud of his efforts to help build a court at the Sugar Factory Club (Hawamdeya). This club not only competed in the club league but also produced national champions.

Hamroush would have been immensely proud to see Fawzy Abdel Gayed reach the final of the WCF under 21 world championship earlier this year (February 2023). Fawzy is the most recent product of Hawamdeya following the footsteps of his father and grandfather. Another barrier-breaking endeavor was building 3 croquet courts under the management of the Egyptian Federation to provide a venue for anyone interested in playing croquet, particularly those who have no access to a croquet court or cannot afford a club membership.

Under Hamroush’s leadership, Egyptian Golf Croquet (GC) became the game that captured the world’s attention. It was the sophisticated rules that allowed Egyptians to excel and become the accurate shooters and great tacticians of the game. And this is what impressed the late Chris Hudson (WCF HOF 2020-Posthumously). Hamroush and Hudson formed a bond rooted in the love of the game. In 1996 when Hudson visited Egypt and watched the Egyptians play GC, he was mesmerized. This sparked the conversation about Egypt joining the WCF. It was Hamroush’s vision to have WCF GC world championships. Despite the disparity between the advanced Egyptian GC rules and the primitive WCF GC rules at the time, Hamroush wisely agreed to play the first world championship in 1996 under the WCF rules. He managed to convince Hudson and the WCF to allow Egypt to host the next world championship in 1997 and to play the event under the Egyptian rules. He provided a translation of the Egyptian rules, which was distributed to the non-Egyptian participants. The event was a big hit and the players at the end of the tournament voted to request that the WCF adopts the Egyptian rules as the official WCF rules. This resulted in the formation of the first WCF Golf Croquet Rules Working Party (1) that drafted the GC rules, which is the version that is being played today with minor modifications.

The growth of GC across the world would not have happened without the work of Ahmed Hamroush. His passion for organization and his diligent efforts in creating a well-designed system that rewarded skills, created a highly entertaining and spectator-friendly version of the croquet. Golf Croquet was transformed from an introductory game to Association Croquet into a game that stands on its own as a formidable alternative. In America and other parts of the world we see clubs that play GC exclusively. Other clubs that struggled in the past to recruit new members are now trying to add courts to keep up with new players attracted by GC. The world had GC for many years, but it was Egypt’s joining the WCF that resulted in GC’s transformation into this attractive and spectacular version. This was eloquently stated in Chris Hudson’s Hall of Fame citation. “In 1996, Chris met General Ahmed Hamroush, the President of the Egyptian Croquet Federation. As a result, Egypt joined the World Croquet Federation, the world was shown a whole new way to play GC and the first GC World Championship was held in Italy in that year.”

Ahmed Hamroush deserves to be recognized for his lifetime work. Although he is no longer with us, his recognition posthumously means that the croquet world remembers his contribution and honors his memory. Inducting Mr. Hamroush into the WCF Hall of Fame will send a heartwarming message of love and gratitude to his family and the Egyptian croquet community that he is not forgotten and that his efforts are leaving an everlasting mark even after his passing.


Mr Hamroush was interviewed by Jeremy Paxman as part of a documentary about the British Empire. Watch from about 33 minutes in.

Video clip >  The British Empire - Jeremy Paxman

2023 Hall of Fame Nominations – due by 30th September

Nominations to the 2023 WCF Hall of Fame are due by Saturday 30th September.

So far, a total of 51 individuals have been inducted into the Hall of Fame since 2006.  They include some of the greatest players in the history of the game and people who have made other significant contributions to the development and enjoyment of Croquet as administrators, coaches or benefactors.  Many Members have served the game in more than one capacity.

Please send your nominations to the Secretary-General. Nominations may be made by individuals or through Member countries. Please include a citation of not less than 500 words out-lining your nominees croquet achievements. Please also send a decent photo or two that can be used on the website, should their nomination prove successful.

Further information regarding the process, the regulations and existing members of the Hall of Fame can be found on the WCF website at the following links:

Hall of Fame

Hall of Fame Members

Khaled Younis

Hall of Fame

Khaled Younis
Inducted: 2022

During the late 70s while still a teenager, Khaled Younis started playing croquet at Zamalek, a club known for its strong croquet traditions. Khaled has always been a gifted athlete. Before croquet, he was considered one of Egypt’s top young field hockey players. He excelled in football, table tennis, snooker among many other games. In croquet, Khaled found his life passion.

As soon as he made the first team of Zamalek Club, it became clear that the sky was the limit for his talent. Practicing and competing against to Egyptian players, Khaled’s game showed strength with unmatched grace and elegance. His fine touch allowed him to adopt a playing style that was a mix of power and finesse. It did not take long before Khaled started to garner national championships in singles, doubles, mixed doubles and club league. In league competitions, Khaled’s calm demeanor and superior tactics earned him the status of the top mixed doubles specialist.

When the WCF Golf Croquet World Championships started, Khaled was the champion of the inaugural event in 1996 in Italy. He won the title again in 1998 and 2002 to hold the record of 3 single open GC World Championships. (A record that is still standing for 20 years at the time these words are written in July 2022)

Competing at the international level allowed the world to see Khaled as a true ambassador of the game and a master who showcased his talent with grace and class.

In 2005, recognizing Khaled’s mastery of the game, the Egyptian Croquet Federation appointed him as the national head coach/technical manager. In 2011, a serious car accident that resulted in a hip fracture prevented Khaled from competing in the World Championship that was held in London. He still travelled with the team and performed his duties coaching the Egyptian team, while wheelchair-bound. After his full recovery, Khaled decided to retire from competitive croquet and dedicate his time to coaching the Egyptian teams. During his tenure, Egypt won the Team World Championship and a few of the Egyptian players he coached won open, women’s and under 21 world titles.

Khaled was one of the first players in Egypt to take on the role of a “coach” professionally with Shooting Club and later with Shams Club. In 2020, he was recruited to start a croquet academy for the newly built croquet facility at the Air Force Club. Everywhere Khaled went, a culture of winning was established. Khaled’s accomplishments in croquet go beyond the championships he won individually or as a technical manager. He is one of the most beloved and respected figures in the game in Egypt and internationally.

In addition to participating in world events, Khaled played an integral role in promoting Golf Croquet internationally. In 1999, he traveled with a group of Egyptian players to Los Angeles California, USA and competed in the Beverly Hills International, the first international GC event in North America. This event is considered the birth of GC in America. Khaled won the event. He returned to America twice; in 2000 to win the US GC national championship in Palm Beach, Florida and in 2002 to win his 3rd world title at the National Croquet Center in Palm Beach Florida. His world championship final game against Salah Hassan in 2002 will remain as one of the top tactical GC world finals to have been played. These 3 US events planted the seed for GC in America. Khaled’s work on promoting the game internationally was not limited to the United States. He was invited to conduct Golf Croquet clinics at the Ripon Spa Hotel in Yorkshire, England.
Furthermore, in his current work at the Air Force Croquet Academy, Khaled is breaking barriers and opening the doors to everyone including individuals with special needs and young children. A great reminder that our game is better when it becomes more about lifting spirits than lifting trophies.

Geoff Young

Hall of Fame

Geoff Young
Inducted: 2022

Geoff has been a dedicated servant to the game of croquet for almost 40 years.  His contributions to croquet administration at all levels, from club through to the World Croquet Federation, makes Geoff an excellent candidate for induction into the World Croquet Federation Hall of Fame.

Overview:
Geoff’s “croquet life” began in 1984 when he joined Morrinsville Croquet Club in Thames Valley, his club to this day.  Since then, his love of the game and desire to ensure that the game is well run and accessible for everyone have led to countless hours of volunteering through to this day.

Club:
Since joining Morrinsville Croquet Club, Geoff spent ten years as the club treasurer.  Geoff has had a positive influence in his club.  He has encouraged players to do their best.  He is also one who doesn’t hesitate to help when needed.

Association:
For the Thames Valley Croquet Association, Geoff has held almost every position available at some point in time.  He has served as President, Treasurer, Handicapper, Referee, Examining Referee, Selector, Event co-ordinator and delegate to CNZ AGM’s.

However, Geoff’s legacy with the Association stretches beyond simply holding positions and making sure everything is ‘ticking-over’.  Through Geoff’s dedication and hard work, The Midland League was established in 2006.  This League is an interclub competition contested by 24 teams from Thames Valley and Waikato-King Country Clubs (originally including Bay of Plenty as well).

Wanting to provide more competition for the Northern Region, Geoff was instrumental in setting up the UNITE competition which has been a strong competition for more than 20 years with all the association clubs participating.

National:
Having contributed enormously to the local game in Thames Valley, Geoff’s first taste of National administration came in 1989 when he was co-opted onto the CNZ Finance Committee, a position he held until 1994.

Geoff was elected as a Councillor on Croquet New Zealand’s Executive in 1993, which he served for the maximum term until 1997.  Still wanting to contribute to the furtherment of Croquet New Zealand, Geoff served one term as President from 1997 to 1999.

Geoff was a part of the inaugural GC Selection Panel and is currently on the CNZ Laws Committee.

Additionally, Geoff has managed countless National tournaments.

Geoff was made a Life Member of Croquet New Zealand in October 2019.

International:
In 2015, Geoff was elected to the World Croquet Federation’s Management Committee where he served his three-year term.  Upon completion of this initial term, Geoff was re-elected in November 2017 to serve another term after which Geoff stepped down.

Because of Geoff’s years of managing national tournaments, he was selected to manage four World Championships with the most recent being the Women’s Golf Croquet World Championship in February 2019 held in New Zealand.

Geoff Young has given to the croquet community for more than 35 years and taken leadership roles at all levels to help improve the sport.  He continues to contribute to croquet and is always willing to help when needed.

Joe Hogan

Hall of Fame

Joe Hogan
Inducted: 2022

Joe came to croquet along with a group of teenagers in the Gisborne area in the 1970s. Gisborne was a fertile seedbed for young people to take up and develop in the game of croquet. Joe Hogan was surrounded by people who enjoyed their croquet at different levels and abilities. Playing croquet was fun. The group was tutored and encouraged in the sport by Mr and Mrs R A Clarke, parents of Richard and Judith, who all played at the Barry Memorial Croquet Club. The BMCC club members made for a positive place for the younger ones to feel welcome and accepted. These young players achieved various levels of local and national success in the 1970’s before choosing to take up other activities. Judith Clarke won the NZ Womens at the age of 16, Ross Smith won the NZ Levels Singles and, with Paul Stuart, took out the NZ Levels doubles, and Peter Adsett won the NZ Mens Singles after only playing Croquet for just over 2 years, having to beat John Prince on the way through. Joe Hogan and Richard Clarke, along with other BMCC and Gisborne Croquet Club players, Allen and Cliff Anderson reached the dizzy standards asked for being a member of the MacRobertson Shield team. Cliff Anderson captained New Zealand’s 1974 Mac Robertson Shield team in which his son, Allen, was also a member . In 1974 Allen was runner up to Nigel Aspinall in the British Open Singles. Richard Clarke played for New Zealand in 1982 but has since moved on to playing and coaching Hockey.

During the late 1970s and 1980s Joe was a major force to be reckoned with on the lawn and vied with Bob Jackson, in 1986 and 1988 and then with Robert Fulford in 1990 to win his three Open Singles titles.  On the other side of the world, he won the British Open Singles, beating Bob Jackson for the title in 1986 and Mark Avery in 1989, the year he also won the British Open doubles partnering Bob Jackson.

In February 1990, he won the World Croquet Federation Championships Singles, the British and New Zealand open singles, the British and New Zealand open doubles titles (both of the latter with Bob Jackson), the NZ Men’s and Mixed Doubles titles and was widely regarded as the best player in the world. He partnered Bob to win 9 NZ Doubles Championships between 1979 and 1990 and also won the title with Aaron Westerby in 1991.

Joe became a builder but was then destined for the priesthood, training towards that vocation while playing croquet at national and international level.  He was ordained but found the monastic life was not for him and he chose to leave the priesthood and return to carpentry.  In 1991-92 Joe met and married Robyn MacKenzie and they have three children – Sam, Mary and Matthew.  Joe developed his building skills into a qualified teaching career, spending 12 years at a college and the Technical Institute in Gisborne  In 2015 he returned to building.

Joe has chosen to concentrate on his family in recent years but he does come forward at times with little practice but much success.  When the WCF Association Croquet World Championships were held in New Zealand for the first time, in Wellington in 2002, Joe entered the qualification tournament and was successful in gaining entry to the Championship.  He then qualified from his block, and defeated the World number 3 in straight games in the knock-out before losing in the last 16 to Ronan McInerney of Ireland.  Joe qualified for consideration for the MacRobertson Shield team in 2010.  He won the Heenan Plate in 2013 on the occasion of the centenary of the Open Championships in Christchurch, the only time since he began competing in 1978 that he had qualified to play in the Plate.

In 2017, he once again played in the MacRobertson Shield, 38 years after his debut in the event, providing the crucial win to beat the USA 11-10 in a doubles match with partner Chris Shilling that needed three days to complete. Playing with his old wooden 9 inch mallet, he was able to play extreme stop shots that were the envy of modern players.

Joe wishes to acknowledge with gratitude the many people who have influenced his game over the years.  Two in particular stand out for him: first, the ever-consistent Bob Jackson, who he had to either get past or partner to achieve title successes.  Secondly, in terms of the attitude and tactics to be used in Test Matches, Roger Murfitt of Christchurch.  Roger and Joe successfully held the number 3 test doubles combination for NZ in the 1979, ’82, ’86 and the beginning of the 1990 MacRobertson Test series.  Joe considers Roger has one of the best tactical minds for Test croquet.

List of Achievements:
MacRobertson Shield Team 1979, 1982, 1986, 1990, 2017
1989 World Croquet Federation World Champion (Inaugural event)
Trans-Tasman Open Croquet Test 1994
NZ Representative Matches : 1982 – Australia & England, 1986     England
1986 The Croquet Association (CA) (England) Silver Medal
The CA (England) Open Champion  1986, 1989
The CA (England) Open Championship Doubles with R V Jackson  1989
NZ Open Champion 1986, 1988, 1990,
Runner-up 1978-79, 1985, 1991
Heenan Plate 2013
NZ Men’s Champion 1981 1989, 1990, 1991
NZ Championship Doubles: 1979-82 with R V Jackson, 1985 – 88 with R V Jackson, 1990 with R V Jackson, 1991 with A Westerby
NZ Mixed Doubles: 1990 with Miss D Cornelius (England), North Island Open Champion 1976, 1981, 1982, North Island Men’s Champion 1982
North Island Open Doubles: 1982 with R Duncan, South Island Open Champion 1985, 1986
South Island Men’s Champion 1984, 1985
South Island Open Doubles: 1985-86 with R J Murfitt

Chris Clarke presents Joe Hogan with his Hall of Fame certificate

 

 

 

 

 

Amir Ramsis Naguib

Hall of Fame

Amir Ramsis Naguib
Inducted: 2021

Amir Ramsis Naguib began playing Golf Croquet with friends at the Gezirah Club in Cairo in 1968.  He became a strong player and represented the club in Men’s Doubles in matches from 1970 to 1975.  However, marriage, children and building up and running his own tourist agency took him away from the game until 1992.

Now a successful businessman, Amir returned to croquet at the Heliopolis Club and was soon representing the club in Men’s Doubles and Mixed Doubles.  Over the next ten years, he became the team manager and a generous sponsor of tournaments and the top Egyptian players.

In 2001, Amir stood for election as President of the Egyptian Croquet Federation with the widespread support of the playing community.  He immediately set about reorganizing the inter-club competitions, namely the Egyptian League, the Egyptian Cup and the Egyptian Federation Cup, and introduced for the first time a domestic ranking system for men and women.  His other priority was the upgrading of the Egyptian Croquet Federation centre and the restoration of its three courts.

Amir was elected to the Management Committee of the World Croquet Federation in 2002.  Golf Croquet now stood on at least equal terms with Association Croquet and the Golf Croquet World Championship was now well established, having been held five times since 1996.  However, Amir recognised the needs of women and the older and younger players and, with the support of David Openshaw, the then WCF President, was the driving force behind the formation of a Women’s Golf Croquet World Championship, first held in 2005, an Under 21 Golf Croquet World Championship, first held in 2009 and an Over 50 Golf Croquet World Championship, first held in 2010.  All the inaugural events were held in Cairo and were great successes.  These events are now permanent items in the WCF championship schedule.

Amir also travelled widely to promote Golf Croquet, visiting England, Italy, the USA and China to showcase the fearless, hard-hitting Egyptian way of playing Golf Croquet.  Inevitably, the Egyptian approach influenced the tactics of top players in other countries and, eventually, led to the emergence in 2011 of the first non-Egyptian Golf Croquet World Champion.  As the President of the Egyptian Croquet Federation, Amir exercised his considerable administrative skills by acting as the organiser and manager of the Egyptian squads that have had and continue to have so much success at World Championship level.  During his tenure, Egypt has won four Golf Croquet World Championships, three Women’s Golf Croquet World Championships, two Over 50 World Championships and one Under 21 Golf Croquet World Championship.

Amir was elected as President of the World Croquet Federation in 2012 and served two four-year terms, retiring at the end of 2019.  He was a very popular President who ensured that he attended almost every World Championship during his period in office.  He remains a member of the WCF Management Committee and hopes to continue to serve croquet in Egypt and internationally for as long as he can.

The discovery in the 1980s that Egypt played Golf Croquet, and to a level undreamt of by players elsewhere, remains a pivotal moment in the history of the sport.  It led to the establishment of Golf Croquet as a serious code in its own right, shrugging off its previous reputation in other countries as an unimportant practice game that provided occasional amusement for Association Croquet players.

Egypt is still the world’s major Golf Croquet nation and the skills of its players, especially the younger stars, are a continuing inspiration to players all over the world.  The importance of Amir’s role in maintaining and developing Egyptian croquet for more than twenty years, and thereby supporting croquet worldwide, cannot be overstated.  He has been one of the most influential national administrators in the history of croquet and the game owes him a considerable debt of gratitude.

Five new members of the Hall of Fame

The WCF Hall of Fame Committee has elected the following five individuals as members of the Hall of Fame:

Bob Alman (USA) - croquet promoter and organiser

Jose Alvarez-Sala (Spain) - founder and developer of the Federacion Espanol de Croquet

Jenny Clarke (NZL) - the most successful woman croquet player at both codes

Salah Hassan (EGY) - Golf Croquet World Champion and Over-50 World Champion

Chris Hudson (ENG) - croquet promoter and first Secretary-General of the WCF

The citations may be found at WCF Hall of Fame Members

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Salah Hassan

Hall of Fame

Salah Hassan
Born: 1964
Inducted: 2020

Salah Hassan was born in Egypt and discovered Golf Croquet in 1982 when two friends invited him to try the game at the Shooting Club, one of the leading sports clubs in Cairo.  He was immediately attracted to the game and it was to become his main recreational activity for the next four decades.  He was willing to practice intensively for up to five hours a day and soon became an active competitor in the many annual team and individual tournaments organised by the Egyptian Croquet Federation.

He won the Egyptian Singles Championship in 1996 and 2001, the Men’s Doubles Championship in 1998 (with Ahmed El Mahdy) and 2000 (with Mohammed Essam) and the Mixed Doubles Championship (with Nahed Hassan) in 1999.

Egypt joined the World Croquet Federation (“WCF”) in 1996 and the reputation of its players as the best exponents of Golf Croquet in the world helped to raise the profile of the game in the more traditional croquet countries which had hitherto regarded Association Croquet as the only serious competitive form of croquet.

The WCF held the first Golf Croquet World Championship in Italy in 1996 and followed it four further World Championships in 1997, 1998, 2000 and 2002.  These were dominated by Khaled Younis (EGY), the winner in 1996, 1998 and 2002, and by Salah, who was World Champion in 1998 and 2000.

Salah also reached the final of the Golf Croquet World Championship in 2002 and 2006 and, shortly after his 50th birthday, won the Over-50 Golf Croquet World Championship in 2014.

In recent years, Salah has focused on coaching the younger Egyptian players such as Karim Ghamry, Amr El Ibiary and Mohamed Karem, who reached the final of the Golf Croquet World Championship in 2019.

Jenny Clarke

Hall of Fame

Jenny Clarke
Inducted: 2020

Jenny Clarke (New Zealand) began playing croquet whilst studying for her PhD in the UK at Oxford University in the 1990’s, becoming a regular player on the UK tournament circuit the following decade and becoming an accomplished A-Class player. She returned home to Christchurch in her native New Zealand, where she still lives with her husband Chris Clarke who she married in 2008. She is a life member of the Canterbury Croquet Association and the United Croquet Club.

Jenny plays both AC and GC and won the Women’s AC World Championship in 2012.  The GC title has always eluded her but she has two silver and three bronze medals in this event. She has been a member of the New Zealand AC and GC Test Teams for many years.  In addition to various Trans Tasman matches, she has made three appearances in the MacRobertson Shield including the victorious 2014 team and as captain of the 2017 team. She was also a member of the victorious Openshaw Shield team of 2016, only she and her husband have won both the AC and GC World Team Championships.

Jenny has won various open and women’s domestic titles both in NZ and the UK but her stand-out titles at this level are her three Australian Open Singles titles in 2010, 2018 and 2019.

Whilst it is her playing success which is particularly noteworthy, Jenny, who is a lecturer in Sport Science at Canterbury University, is also an accomplished coach. She coaches both AC and GC at an international level, has developed a coaching website and introduced the athlete-centred coaching methodology to croquet. She has also spent a good deal of time honing her own skills including changing from playing right to left handed in the midst of her career.

In addition to the many titles she has won, Jenny has regularly been the number 1 ranked female player at both AC and GC throughout the past 15 years and has also achieved the highest AC grade of any woman since the rankings began. Jenny is without doubt the outstanding female croquet player of her generation.

Jose Alvarez-Sala

Hall of Fame

Jose Alvarez-Sala

Born: 1953

Inducted: 2020

Prof. José Luis Álvarez-Sala Walther established in 1994, together with two close family members, the Spanish Croquet Association, that was registered in the Spanish National Register of Sport Associations. Since then, up to the present time, Prof. José Luis Álvarez-Sala Walther has been President for the 25 years plus of history of this Association, turned into Spanish Croquet Federation in 2015. Shortly after its establishment, Prof. José Luis Álvarez-Sala Walther, achieved its integration in the European Croquet Federation (number 11 of 20 countries), as well as the status of “Observer Member” in the WCF that same year (number 18 of 29 countries), becoming first “Associate Member” in 2007 and later, in 2012 “Full Member” (with two votes, four votes in 2018 and six in 2020).

From 2002 to 2006, Prof. José Luis Álvarez-Sala Walther was member of the Management Committee of the European Croquet Federation.Since the very first, Prof. José Luis Álvarez-Sala Walther worked towards making this sport known in Spain, particularly in Asturias, organizing tournaments and events to draw new players. In 1995 he organized the I Spanish Championship of AC Croquet (currently this event has reached 26 editions).In the following years (1996-2006), the growth of croquet in Spain was more than remarkable, increasing to nearly 300 the number of FEC affiliations and a Spanish player participating for the first time in 1996 in the IV European Championship. This growth was associated with an improvement in the level of play of the Spanish representatives that, again, in 2005 and 2009, made it into a World Championship of AC Croquet in Cheltenham (England) and Palm Beach (USA).FEC hosted in 1999, as well as in 2004, the two first Open Championships (AC) contested in Spain. These two events augured, without a doubt, the important future that (it already was obvious) was in store for croquet in Spain.As a consequence of the efforts of Prof. José Luis Álvarez-Sala Walther at the head of the Spanish Croquet Federation, croquet continued its expansion and, since 2010, croquet lawns were built in different regions of Spain, more so in the South (Andalucía) and in Madrid.On the other hand, Spain continued to participate in all major international competitions, and it is to be pointed out the exponential growth nationally, as well as the increasing recognition of the Spanish Croquet Federation abroad.

In 2012 (Egypt) and 2016 (England) Spain won a place at the World Championships of GC Croquet, and was able to make it into the Tier 2.1 of the World Championship of AC Croquet (England) in 2014.The work of Prof. José Luis Álvarez-Sala Walther has been commended in several occasions, one of them being the Award for contribution to sports that he received in 2015 from the Spanish Olympic Committee (“COE”).Also, in 2017 (the same year in which two Spanish players became European champions of AC and GC croquet), the Spanish Croquet Federation presented Prof. José Luis Álvarez-Sala Walther with a commemorative award as proof of sincere gratitude for his efforts and selfless dedication to croquet in Spain.In addition, that same year, Prof. José Luis Álvarez-Sala Walther established, under the patronage of the Spanish Croquet Federation, the Spanish Croquet Academy. Its aims and functions being to promote the practice of croquet, to impart initiation lessons and improve the level of Spanish players, and to prepare referees and trainers to promote the development of croquet in Spain.For all these efforts and for his constant support and promotion of croquet, in 2018 Prof. José Luis Álvarez-Sala was again recognized by the COE as sports ambassador and promoter of healthy lifestyles. This recognition was, without doubt, one of the most representative of his sport’s achievements and we believe is a solid ground upon which to base the definition of the tireless effort of Prof. José Luis Álvarez-Sala Walther as a major supporter of development and promotion of croquet in Spain, strongly recommended as a healthy sport to be incorporated into our regular activities.

In 2019, the Spanish Croquet Federation, under the direction of Prof. José Luis Álvarez-Sala Walther, organized the 2nd GC Spanish Open Championship (the first being in 2015), attended by elite international players. Reg Bamford, Khaled Younis, Stephen Mulliner, Ahmed El Mahdi, Lionel Tibble, Robert Stafeckis and Sherif Abdelwahab, among others, participated in this championship that was won by a Spanish player.In the year 1994, at the beginning of this adventure, croquet had barely 30 affiliates and only one regulation lawn.

As a result of Prof. José Luis Álvarez-Sala Walther’s persistence (together with other enthusiasts, clubs and FEC MC members in the 25 years of this presidency since its establishment) the numbers in August 2020 are significantly different: nearly 1,400 affiliates and more than 26 regulation lawns (and the same number under construction), with croquet becoming more and more a common practice in Spain. Currently, Spanish croquet can boast more than 40 international players, understanding as such those that have officially represented Spain having been selected by the Spanish Croquet Federation. Similarly, if at the beginning the percentage of Spanish players represented a minimum amount of total active players globally, today we can affirm that Spain represents more than 13% of total GC active players in the World, according to the International GC Grading System of the WCF. It also has 4 players in the top 100 in this same modality and one player as number 6 in AC.