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• Kuwait PSA Cup  • 08-14 Mar 2013 • Kuwait •  

Kuwait Cup EN BREF
Everything you never knew you needed to know about the Kuwait Cup


It has to be said that this tournament has been really a great one for me, in many respect. First, arriving one day early has made a heck of a difference, allowing me to capture a bit of the town, instead of staying in the hotel/venue quandra.

Then, the fact of being ill, then being wonderfully look after, really makes you appreciate even more how great it is when you have your health, and savour every second where you can breathe freely and think fast.

Then yesterday - semis day - I was lucky enough to be taken back for the third time to the Souk with Omar Khodeir, the Egyptian director shooting his "Wallbangers", an ode to Egyptian Squash that should be ready for the end of the year. Omar - like Shabana - was raised here and even played squash for a few years here as well, his mum and dad, both architects, still leaving here since 1972.

That film retraces/follows the lives of the Egyptian players of today. You can follow him on @SquashRoyalty on Twitter, or check his website. Check it out, it is well worth it the 2 minutes of your life...

Anyway, back to the Souk Al-Mubarakiya, a gold mine for shoppers. Honestly, it's a fantastic place, and if you ever come to KW, of course, go to the Malls, they are huge and modern, but if you want to see the Real Traditional Kuwait, don't miss that Souk.

Shopping for an abaya is a bit of an experience, as the shops are pretty small, for one, two, you can't change anywhere privately, you just put the abaya on top of your own clothing in the middle of the shop - getting it on is not too much of a problem, it's the getting it off without undressing completely that is the tricky part - and three, no mirrors!

Ressourceful Omar had his camera with him, so zoom, took the pics, and allowed me to check how I look like. "Sold" I said.

And basically, with him negotiating the price, I got two gorgeous abayas exactly as I wanted them - not that I am difficult or anything - for less than I paid for one in London. Génial!

But the best was when we past another shop, the man had obviously gone for lunch or something. And the way he closed the shop is just, well... imaginative, not to mention trusting...

Only in Kuwait.

Living Legends at work...
Chris Robertson, JK, Simon Parke, James Willstrop...

JK welcomes PSA return to Karachi


Well, the Costa del Sol, a street away from the seaside, is still one of the nicest hotels the Tour takes us to.

A buffet to make you put on weight at every meal - Wendy, do like me, walk away from the dessert buffet now - superb suites for Cubs and myself, with a lovely view on the sea and on the swimming pool, superb service, not too freezing with the air con, honestly, you would have to be pretty difficult not to like it and thank the tournament for such a treat.

The added bonus is that we are pretty close to the venue as well - the Green Island that we normally use but not this year being a bit far off.

So, really a superb hospitality, as is always the case in the Gulf countries I've been invited to...


One of the great advantages of tournaments like Kuwait or Qatar, is that things are EASY for us media. We are asked, where do you want to work from? "Here" we say, and a table and extension is brought in.

Where do you want to sit to watch the match Fram. "Here" I reply, and a chair is brought in. With my name on it. Perfection.

Well, until some sweaty young Salmonlike player chsoses to sit in the so called "reserved SquashSite" chair!!!!

Simon, move, now, you are playing with your life!!!!!!


After doing a quick research - as in, sending an email to Howard Harding, Mr Squash Press - we can now confirm that Nick is the only ever 32 year old player to still be ranked 2 in the world.

"I checked the ages of world No1s" said Howard in his reply.

"Interestingly, three men topped the PSA world rankings aged 31 – Peter Nicol in 2004, Jonathon Power in 2006 and Nick Matthew last year. Nicol was only 31 and 5 months, but both Matthew and Power were two months older

But it seems that only one player ever won the world championship as old as 31 – and that was Nick back in November 2011.

And he has the chance to set the bar even higher by winning a third title in Manchester in September – by which time he’ll be 33."

So there you go. And no, Nick, I'm not making you feel old. I'm just stressing how amazing you are mate....


With my driver Misha, we went on that first evening to a place called, wait for it... Kowait!

It's an amazing place in my standard, as in, it's nested in the middle of new, high-tech buildings, and it's what I keep calling "the real life", with real people, that keep on living the way they want to live, not just the way society is taking us to.

There again, lots of people, having a nice cool drink outside, having a meal on tables with white paper, all the shops still open rather late at night....

Rows of same style shops, abayas, then white fabric for the men suits, dates shops, everything-you-can-think-of shops, extraordinary perfume shops, you name it, they have it.

If the exchange rate here was not that high - 30 English pounds will buy you like 13 KD, I would hit the place. But not this trip Josephine...

Just a little abaya and a bottle of Kuwaiti perfume maybe...?

Then the next morning, with Steve this time who had arrived on the same BA flight, but the next day, off we went to the Harbour - which I saw at night - next to the Fish Market.

And it just happened that there was a marketing day about the Fire Department! Cubs was like a kid, he took pics of the engines that were there bless him, and even told me to "put my head in there", and as I always do what I'm told -you can stop laughing - I did.

Well, it's Princess Leia crossed with Chicago Fire! Not exactly FLATTERING, IS IT.... Thanks Steve....

And of course, he had to  go all the way to the end of the peer, and did some really nice photos there I thought.

Then we walked all the way around the little harbour that is next to the sea, to finish at the Fish Market, then went back to Kowait to change some money, again, rows of them, then Misha our driver actually offered us a cup of tea, never wanted us to pay, bless him.

This trip was started well... Or I thought...


Started well until I realise I was bursting with fever when we came back from our last trip. I had been poorly in London the days up to taking my flight to come here, but thought, get on with it, didn't go to a doctor - well, trying to see a doctor in London is about as easy at having a root canal with no injection - and thought it would go away.

It didn't, and came back to bit me in my lovely skinny backside as we landed in Koweit City, as I was sick on the plane - when that happened??? I'm never ever ever ever sick on a plane!

Again, you think, get on with it, if the players can play injured or with severe jetlag, surely you can work with an upset stomach and a little flew.

Well, it was not a clever idea. Thank GOD I had Liz, who works at the Sheikha's office downtown, who I met three editions ago, that noticed that I was really not looking well.

She went straight to the Twins, that delegated two adorable boys, Ali and Abdel Aziz (one is a nurse, the other one a photographer) and off we went to find a doctor on a Friday, not easy (it's like a Sunday for the Christian world).

It was decided to take me to the big hospital not too far away from the venue, and it was a good move. Within minutes, I was seen by first a nice nurse, then a lady doctor that had done like in all of the other hospitals in the world a heck of a lot of hours, but was efficient, and adorable, not to mention a very attractive young lady.

As the nurses were mostly philipinos, everybody was speaking English in there, which made my quick stay rather pleasant, and not frightening at all.

While Ali and Abdel Aziz were being the window trying to find out if I was still alive, I was prescibe an impressive list of bits and pieces - which made me realised I really needed to see a doctor - and off we went. The boys took care of the money side of things, thanks the Twins, we went to the Pharmacy inside the hospital, where a nice lady pharmacist explained to me what was was, and back we drove to the venue.

Where the match between Kempy and Chris that I started watching just finished, and Mathieu was in the first game...

How is THAT for quick service, people?


As we are in a vast basketball hall, we are all together in open space to work, including PSATV technicians and commentators - as in Lee Drew and "newcomer" Sir Simon Parke - and the Kuwaiti TV that are following all the night sessions live.

So we can clearly hear Lee's voice, mixed with the Egyptian commentator just sitting next to us.

It's a bit like having the little PSA earpiece radio, without the little earpiece radio!!!


When was the last time that happened, having 5 fellow lefthanders in one day!

We started the first session with three, LJ, Peter B and Kempy, then went on with Shabs and Abdullah in the second one.

Which meant that I still managed to see quite a lot of action - I had to drop my usual left front seat for a right one....

And tomorrow, Pete vs LJ, perfect!



It was very nice of the tournament to allow me to come a day early this time round, as I never seem to get any time every to actually manage to see anything of Kuwait but the hotel and the venue!

So this time, arrived on the 6.40am BA flight on the 6th, went to take some pics in the evening with a very obliging driver Misha that showed me a few lovely places. It was really nice to actually walk about where real people live, instead of just seeing cars in traffic!

First, off to Salmyia, lots of shops/restaurants, but real ones, you know, not just mall or super shopping malls.

There, I just couldn't believe the number of shoe shops there were! Not only that, but the delirious shoes models they were! Honestly, it's just magic/mad!

Well, you can take the girl out of the journalist, but you can't take the Frenchgirl out of the girl...

And some nice clothes as well!


Nice to realise that I'm not the only blond in KW. As Steve arrived early morning, he was delighted that he was going at last to be able to do that famous photos he always wanted of the Qadsia Club.

There was only one white car in the parking lot. "Can we move the car", ask Steve to Khaled, of the the twins in the office - surely you are now aware that the office is run by our two favourite twins, Khaled and Majed Juma.

"Of course, Steve" says Khaled. And off he goes asking everybody in the building "is that your car? Whose car is that " for about 5m before realising that "oups, that's mine" he laughs.

Actually, the tournament provided them with a car, and could he remember that that was the one...? Beware, another blond in disguise in the building...

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