El Gouna EN BREF
Everything you never knew you needed to
know about the El Gouna International Squash Open
of the great pleasures of this event is the lunch
time - well, sort of lunch time - that we get to
spend at Moods.
Moods is one of the sponsors of the event.
It's a beautiful restaurant/ private beach at the
end of El Gouna’s stunning marina. We are welcome to
have our lunchthere, which was at 5pm for the three
To be honest, that Marina, is a bit like a “Toy Town”.
Everything is just… pretty… clean… lovely flowers…
and the boats… That is just like Monte-Carlo, only
just a bit smaller, and without the French – which
is always a great advantage, I’m told...
to Moods from the Glass Court, you just walk through
some cute little mews, arrive on the yachts, and
take the left bank till the far end, passing so many
restaurants, clothes shops, even a bank, on the way,
to finally arrive at Moods.
Frankly, it’s a beautiful, relaxed place, with nice
shade if like me you stay away from the sun,
parasols both at the restaurant and the beach, or
full blast sun, if you like that sort of thing.
And the food is just really delicious. I’ve been
killing their grilled seafood platter, but the refs
– we finish at the same time, and I finish my last
report/quotes while we are waiting for the food –
have been tasting every day different dishes, and
apparently, there is nothing wrong there!
So remember, Moods, end of the Marina. Simple.
THE QUIET MAN
A little bit of
homework for you.
Just google the name
and look at amazing this gentleman's career and
Executive Chairman of the Board of Directors and CEO
of Orascom Development, listed on the Forbes
Millionaire List, he happens to be the Man behind
this tournament, who had the excellent idea to join
with Amr Mansi to create this beautiful event.
Looking at his profile, you would expect - at least
I was - somebody Sarkozy's style, Bling-Bling, a bit
arrogant and very loud.
Couldn't have been more wrong.
He was kindly introduced to us upon our arrival, and
met all the players, officials, etc. and I cannot
remember having seen him since.
On the semis night, I see some animation in front of
me (I'm in the first row of the seating, just behind
the Sponsors Sofas), as one of the sponsors is
trying to attract the attention of somebody way at
That "somebody way at the back" is of course, our Mr
Sawiris. As the play has started when he arrived, he
didn't want to disturb anybody, and quietly, went to
I promise you. In all my years in Squash, that's the
first time EVER I see something like that.
But my surprise was even bigger when I approached
him a bit later - when he finally accepted to come
and sit on the Sponsors Sofas - to thank him and
congratulate him for the wonderful event. He just
started to speak to me in French, and knew exactly
who I was, after only seeing me for about 5 seconds,
7 days before.
Impressed. Bet your squash racquet. What a man. WHAT
Remember the previous En
Bref edition, when I told you that our stay in
Movenpick had been greatly helped, and that it
was all sorted, cushion, tea, etc.
Well, it's all thank to that lovely lady, whose name
in Egyptian I just cannot spell, but I tell you what,
I know it mean "Victoria". If any of you
Egyptian readers can help...
She preceded us in opening the court at the
Movenpick on the semis' night, made sure that the
court cleaner was here, that the air con was on,
lights, she opened the Health Club to allow the boys
could use the basic facilities.
We were lucky that she was actually watching the
match on the glass court, and quickly acted when
things got difficult.
So, thanks ever so much Victoria....
for the semi James/Karim
SIDE DOORS - REALLY...
in case you don't know, instead on a single door at
the front of the court, that allowed players to
communicate (sometimes lively) with the audience/officials,
the new glass court has two side doors, at the far
back of the court, on both sides.
Frankly, I didn’t have
any preconceived idea about it. I was told it’s all
about improving TV image quality, so, at first sight,
all for it.
But now, the jury is still out….
First, I don’t really like the fact there are two
doors. We are losing the closeness I feel, entrance,
separate door, exit, separate doors. I’m not sure I
like the feel of it. Plus the players liked that
entrance close to the audience.
Then, I really don’t like – and apparently so do the
players I spoke to so far, but the week is still
young – the fact that we are completely cut from the
they serve us with lovely stingers or one-liners
that are the charm and specificity of our sport. A
few discussions as well, but come on, less and less
since we have both three refs and video reviewing.
Plus, apparently, players told me that they
absolutely cannot hear the refs at all, and feel
very cut off and that the crowd/refs are far away.
“It’s not about the doors, it’s about the
atmosphere, you are separated from your opponent, it
feels like a long way away, and you can’t hear the
ref properly" told me one of the top players”…
Once again, it’s early days, and I’m sure we’ll all
get on with it if we really have to, but… do we
REALLY have to?