Some tournaments just finish too quickly. It was the case for this one. After too many events where Squash, the squash I love, the squash so many out there love, was lost.
And in this event, it was found again.
Squash Players aren’t saints. And we don’t ask them to be. This week, we had some fierce competing, some incredibly intense battles, some with not much love lost on court, let me tell you. But always with the banner “sportsmanship and respect” flying high on the BlackBall court.
PSA players have a way of sorting out what they think needs sorting out. They showed the world this week that Squash is alive and well and lives in Cairo BlackBall. And will live in every single tournament around the Globe, God willing.
As Promoter Ashraf Hanafi noticed in his after-event speech, we had the pleasure to see on court again Ali Farag, Abouelghar and the King of Touch, Mr Karim Abdel Gawad. T
Mohamed saluted a few people this week: Ali (“We’re the two biggest rivals on tour right now, we’re the two biggest names on tour right now”), Tarek (Tarek is by far the most consistent and best-ever Egyptian player to have played in his 30s. By far”), Nouran (“Nouran has been so consistent and very inspiring. She inspires me”), Diego (“He’s my closest friend on tour. It was so tough on court but we were smiling at each other and playing in the right spirit”). And his new country, England…
If there is a player that really made me proud this week, it would have to be Marwan ElShorbagy. People who know me know how p… off I was with him for a few months. But a year of working with Rodney Martin, he is the player I always knew he could be. Merci Rod…
You cannot speak about Rodney without mentioning Nouran Gohar, of course, whom he is changing the game of. And you can’t speak of Nouran without talking about Omar Abdel Aziz, who was at the side of Nouran for years, who also coaches Hania, Youssef Ibrahim, the Momenator, and the King of Touch. Among others.
Match of the tournament? For a lot of people, it was the semi Mohamed/Diego. But I preferred King of Touch/Mohamed which will stay in my memory along some of Mo’s matches with Ramy. That good.
Player of the tournament: no hesitation, Joel Makin. Beating Paul Coll and Marwan Elshorbagy back to back, with panache and style. Watch this space….
Upset of the tournament? It would have to be the young Omar Azzam, BlackBall Wild Card, who beat Mr Mueller in Round One.
New Comer? It’s not a player but a sponsor. Mr Ahmed Ossama, Forsa CEO, thanks to whom we could see all those champions on court.
Fairest of them all? Not easy to follow Raneem El Welily, but … Who else than Joelle King. I don’t think she has said a bad word about anybody in her entire life.
Sportsmanship award: We have a tie between Baptiste Masotti – who gave back a game ball whereas he was down 2/0 8/10 against Youssef Soliman – Grégoire Marche/Greg Lobban, for playing a match that should be shown to all the squash schools.
My best friend of the tournament: who else than Omar Raef, who has been running this event like a Swiss German Watch! Anything we needed/required was organised before we had to ask… I KID YOU NOT.
And Le Mot de la Fin?
Man of the Tournament? You might not realise what he had to do to keep this event alive. With his BlackBall Media Team and his organisation, he was able to salvage the event and make it a huge success, yet again. Blackball CEO and Tournament Director for ALL 12 BlackBall events, Mr Mohamed Raef, you are a gift from the Angels to the World of Squash.
Shoukran Gazilan Boss.
A l’année prochaine, si Dieu le veut.