We had to arrive early as we knew that some important people –
the Minister of Sport in particular – were coming and that the
seats were hot hot hot!
Mind, I had a seat reserved from the first day on my favourite
spot, left side.
your life easier, and your work better. You don’t have to worry
about coming back to it after writing each report, you have the
same angle to analyse the match, and you can get in and out of
there without disturbing anybody. Basic stuff
at first sight,
but makes a HUGE difference.
Karim for giving me Carte Blanche, and Bassam, Ghada
and Al-Shrkawy to organise it.
The 'Before Moment'
we were there early. And from 4.00, basically 98% of the seats
were full! At 4.30, we had a great initiative. It was decided
that the trophy –
that we nearly never saw again – was going to be brought to
the crowd by those who had been working very hard in the shadows
to make this event the success it was, the Team that surrounded
Karim and Engy all this week.
It was the first very touching/emotional moment of the day. Many
more were to come… And maybe an example to follow: rewarding the
giving them a piece of recognition just before the final is one
of the best ideas this tournament had.
Then the Fireworks Moment
if in El Gouna we had the fireworks/fire
at the end of the final, here, we had it just before.
And to be honest, I thought the Tent would not survive, neither
Lee Beachill, Tommy Berden, Alison Waters and Laura Massaro,
sitting right next to one of the fire makers!
But it was went sparkingly ... literally!!!!
the Engy’s moment.
Qatar, Engy (with the complicity of Wadi Degla Mr Big,
Maged Samy) had been working
with former PSA Technical
Director Robert Edwards – now retired, but still
presenting Qatar’s tournaments - and Nathan Clarke, PSA
PR, for an
end of career Tribute
to Karim Darwish ,
with video contributions from Nick, Greg, Shorbagy and Ramy.
I was hoping to be able to present it to you, but technical
troubles mean that we can only put it online after the 2nd
had to be put in the confidence,
as a lot
of photos were ours (yes, even one of mine!). The trouble/
stress Engy went through to organise it all –
choosing each and every photo for the tribute,
getting Robert and Lee into
the country to another
hotel without anybody being aware of it, planning the viewing of
the video, advancing the
time of the
and all the details. So
much stress with all the rest of the week, she ended up with
absolutely no voice on the last day,
bless her lovely soul…
suspect a thing. He was gobsmacked, truly.
suspect it’s one of the proudest
moments of his life.
And then, the Final Moment
And the final started. Chanting. Goosepumps, Emotions, tears,
hearts broken, others exploding with Pure Joy.
in Qatar where
mon petit Shorbagy went
away from getting his first World title, ma petite Raneem was
point away from Ecstasy,
four times .... And like in Qatar, I personally
couldn’t win/couldn’t lose.
One of those matches I'll remember all
my life, where
once again, I vibrated in my
whole body with the winner, that little mini
Champion Nicol David I saw sobbing after her 8th win as she did
in Hong Kong after her first, all those years ago
- that day where her parents
were soooo emotional they found themselves in Macao instead of
coming back to Hong Kong - then felt
each of Raneem’s tears
as if they were rolling down my face.
Incredibly powerful, disturbing and amazing. Merci à vous deux.
Backstage, things were not going that smoothly. The SquashSite
server having been down for more than 36hours, Cubs was already
not in the best of moods, but when some clever bugger stole our
modem between the 4th and 5th game, he basically
While he was taking the trophy
ceremony pics, Laurent from SquashTV saved the day by
giving us his own code/network. As least, I was able to tweet
the result and two quotes.
Ahmad Bassam, our IT wizard, had found another modem, and
installed it. So when Cubs came back, he had internet.
Unfortunately it was “slightly snail mode”, and for 20m,
unable to update anything, he
cursed, and nagged, and ranted, until I cracked up and just
kicked him out of the desk!!!!
That was the best idea ever, as he came back with stunning pics
from the Raneem Support Group. Once again, from bad comes good…
Meanwhile, the hotel Holiday Inn had prepared a cake to
celebrate Nicol’s victory, and the whole of the evening
staff made sure they welcomed the eight-time champion with all the
admiration rightly due.
I guess it was the welcome that Nicol-Awy got the next
day from her parents, friends and admirers
back home in Penang that must have put the icing on
the '8th World
Tamer Mamdouh – my PA, saviour of Trophy,
SquashTV cameras, plus tourism guide – told
me when he picked me up from the airport “Karim and Engy want
you to have the best week ever”. Mission accomplished people.
Merci à tous. Just an amazing week. Que du Bonheur.
The SquashSite Team,
signing off 2014. Bring on 2015!!!!!
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