Qatar PSA World Squash Championship  • 13-21 Nov 2014 •  Doha  •


Another Event in the Best of Conditions…

I have been a bit struggling to write stories this time round. First I struggled with my sleep pattern for some strange reason, and to be honest, I was a bit on automatic pilot for the first three days.

Plus, this year, I’ve been adding a Press Page – that complements my every day Press Alerts/Fram’s Corner/BestofTweets, as the event always get excellent international and local coverage.

I am particularly keen on showing the work of Rod Gilmour in the Telegraph – English Perspective – and Richard Eaton for the AFP (as in for the world), who concentrate on Greg and the Egyptians. Plus, when I manage to catch Richard’s round up, he is probably the best round up writer I’ve ever came across in English.

And all that takes an awful lot of time to organise. So I am only now managing to sit down, and reflex on what is going to stay in my mind like one of the best tournaments I had the honour to cover so far.


If some of the tournaments drop the hotel quality, Qatar has again offered us of Qatar best accommodations.

Vast and refurbished rooms, close to the venue, fantastic food, not only in quantity/quality, but at a very cheap price for the players – you know they like it when you see them all there.

Plus, the room service is excellent, and that is for the players paramount. They also have been kind enough to extend the buffet to some uncanny hours to help players/officials to get their meals after the night matches.

You add to that a superb pool at the top floor, 26th, where I managed to go and create waves this time round twice – not like the previous years where I just worked, worked, worked.

As I have a 4th surgery for my knees coming up in Jan, I am under instruction to keep working those quads. That’s my story, and I’ll stick to it!

A spa that is beautifully cleaned – Jacuzzi, with a view to die for, swimming pool with a 300° view of Qatar, nice length that allows to really train, a massage to die for (ask for Lea, best 60m I ever had, and I’m paying for them, this is not a sponsored-advert!). Don’t miss it if you come to Doha, Movenpick Towers…


You cannot beat Qatar for the care they give to transport. No shuttles. Just private cars. And plenty of them. All week, the maximum I waited for a car was 8m. Helllllloooo???? That makes a huge difference for the players. Brand new cars, excellent drivers, smiling, efficient. Impeccable. Not to mention of course that we are picked up from the airport and driven back, whatever time of night/day we are travelling.


If the “old press room” was a bit cold and could be noisy, we are now on the squash court, and that is a huuuuge improvement.


Physio: Like the Press, the physios have a whole of a squash court with treatment beds, screens, fridges for the ice, etc. Refs: And the refs bless them, have got the special rooms where they can collude and rest. And we need them fresh.

The court

If the old court (that was one of the first glass court as a main fixture on the Tour) was a bit not that young anymore – and a nightmare for the Photographers as they had only a little square to share between them all, this one is very easy for them.

Plus, they have got a corridor that allows them (and us Media) to circulate in and out of the back of the court not disturbing the audience/Tv.


If I wrote one day that I was so cold that you could wrap me in a glossy paper and sell me as an ice-cream, those days are over PRAISE THE GODS OF SQUASH!

With the new court/flooring, the temperature is cool, but not cold. And a little extra jumper is enough to keep you perfectly happy.


Contrarily to what some grumpy tweeters seem to believe, there is a great atmosphere out there, and plenty of support for the players.

And what makes it special here – if you compare it with Manchester for example, where 99% of the crowd was supporting the English players, quite rightly I may add – here, all the nations get support.

Borja got his loud supporters, Cameron had them, Cops had the Whole of the South African delegation rooting for him, not forgetting the French Ambassador/expats for Greg, Nick having a strong base of supporters, and of course, of course, immense loud support for all the Egyptians.

Yes, last year, the attendance was poor, but that was nothing to do with squash. The roads to get to the venue were closed up because of some roadworks, and it was nearly impossible for the spectators to make it to the venue at peak traffic time.

One lady tried to come to the venue, and after 90m of turning in circle around the place, just gave up and went home. Only from the latest stage did we have people.

But this year, only the second day was a bit quiet. All the other days, people have been coming and supporting the squash/players.

Thing is, it’s not always shown on TV, as the spectators are higher in the Gods, for security reasons. So you think the place is empty, but in fact, the people are just higher than the camera shows.

In other words people ...

I know it’s very fashionable at the moment to slag off Qatar. With all the hoo-ha about the World Cup, everybody has got something to say about Qatar.

And the louder are the ones that never came here. The ones that only read about it. And to be perfect clear, don’t have an effing clue.

But for us, who have been coming to Qatar forever, we know better. I agree, not everything is perfect – you know a place in the world that is??? – no, I don’t agree with a lot of things that happen in Qatar, but I don’t agree with a lot of things that happen in the US, GB or France. Let’s stop the hypocrisy for a moment, shall we?

Mr Ali Bin Ali, The Qatari Federation and the Qatari people that have been supporting squash for years, and were treating players to 5 stars palaces where they were billeted elsewhere, Qatar as I’ve said, is giving us more than money and care. They are giving us all what a few promoters elsewhere wouldn’t know how to spell:


I think it’s time we start and give them the courtesy of returning that respect. Don’t you?


Do you know
about Qatar History?
Here's your chance to learn

Qatar: All About Sport
Do you know Aspire or Aspetar, where Ramy got himself sorted
Part 2

Part 1
(please note that
Stewart Boswell & Jonathan Kemp have replaced Geoff Hunt and Dan Jenson respectively)

Ramy and some of the drivers

When Qatar started to support Squash, 1992 I believe,
the Sheraton (left photo, the Pyramid at the back),
was the only building in that part of Doha.

And above, that it is today.
The Sheraton is still there, extreme right.

Yes, the Skyline has changed just a bit. But Qatar still
supports Squash. Some things just don't change....

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