30 Oct 2017

2017 Qatar Classic - Day 1: As It Happens

It's back and better then ever before!
We're live from day one of the 2017 Qatar Classic as the world's best take to court for the second World Series event of the 2017/18 PSA World Tour season.
Here's today's schedule:
12:00 Diego Elias (PER) v [7] James Willstrop (ENG)
13:00 Ryan Cuskelly (AUS) v [Q] Leo Au (HKG)
14:00 Daryl Selby (ENG) v [Q] Saurav Ghosal (IND)
15:00 [5] Ali Farag (EGY) v [Q] Karim Ali Fathi (EGY)
17:30 [Q] Chris Simpson (ENG) v [3] Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY)
18:30 Fares Dessouky (EGY) v [WC] Abdulla Mohd Al Tamimi (QAT)
19:30 [1] Gregory Gaultier (FRA) v Cesar Salazar (MEX)
20:30 Zahed Mohamed (EGY) v Gregoire Marche (FRA)
Elias Takes Out Willstrop In 3
A hugely impressive performance from Diego Elias saw the Peruvian – who has already shown an improved maturity on court so far this season – defeat former World No.1 James Willstrop in straight games to secure a berth in the second round of the 2017 Qatar Classic.
The victory, which follows Elias's win over Nick Matthew at the NetSuite Open, saw Elias come from behind to win a close first game to set up the platform for the 3-0 win – a victory that cements his graduation from prodigal talent to genuine top calibre contender on the PSA World Tour.
The opening game saw the two matched evenly, with Willstrop's precise ball placement nullifying Elias's superior movement, but after taking the opener 12-10 it was all Elias from then on as he grew in confidence and stature on court – ultimately leaving Willstrop looking heavy and flat footed at the end.
“It's aways hard playing experienced players like James and Nick,” said Elias.
“I just try to put a lot of pressure on them and I'm feeling good at the moment and today, I think I played well. This could be a good tournament for me.
“Today the first game was very important. I tried to play as fast as I can and it was working.”
Diego Elias (PER) bt [7] James Willstrop (ENG) 3-0: 12-10, 11-5, 11-8 (46m)
Au About It
Hong Kong qualifier Leo Au continued the theme of upsets on day one of the Qatar Classic as he overcame the challenge of Australia's Ryan Cuskelly in a high quality four game affair.
For Cuskelly it was a return to the venue that saw him achieve a long awaited breakthrough into the top 20 in 2015, but it proved to be an unhappy hunting ground this time around as he fell flat against an inspired Au, who put in a performance of note and one that could lay the foundations for his own long awaited surge into the top 20.
The opening game saw the two probing and testing, opening up all four corners of the court through a series of patient rallies before Cuskelly took the initiative and opened up a one game lead before Au matched him in the second.
The Australian looked certain to restore his lead on the scoreboard in the third only to see Au put together a purple patch to come from 4-8 and snatch the game. It was a run that dented Cuskelly's confidence and in the fourth game it was one way traffic for Au as he out-hustled Cuskelly, playing with more urgency and using his speed to his advantage, covering all four corners of the court to seal the win courtesy of a sublime, irretrievable drop shot that summed up his performance.
“I had no expectations today,” said Au.
“Ryan is a good player, he's very solid and consistent. Today I don't think I had any pressure and I played well and that third game was key.”
Result:
[Q] Leo Au (HKG) bt Ryan Cuskelly (AUS) 3-1: 7-11, 11-7, 11-8, 11-4 (63m)
Ghosal Storms Past Selby To Secure RD2 Sport For First Time
Ghosal Storms Past Selby To Secure RD2 Sport For First Time
India’s Saurav Ghosal booked a place in the second round of the Qatar Classic for the first time in his career courtesy of an impressive 3-0 win over Daryl Selby that saw him continue the fine form that has accompanied him through the start of the 2017/18 season.
After suffering from a dip in form through 2016 and falling as low as No.30 on the rankings Ghosal looked renewed on court, showing the qualities that took him into the top 15 just two years ago as he used his pace and movement to expose Selby whilst his racket skills exploited anything loose from the Englishman.
“I had a good week last week in St George and had a decent start to the season in Macau too – so I’m just trying to enjoy my squash as much as I possibly can,” said Ghosal.
“Of course we all want to win, we train to win and sometimes you get disappointed when it doesn’t happen and you feel like the winning should be coming.
“But I’m happiest when I’m training. So I’m enjoying playing, and feeling privileged to be competing at great events such as this in Qatar. I’m trying to do the things I know I’m capable of – things which in the past I haven’t executed as well as I should have.
“If I can enjoy it for the most part then I feel I can give a good account of myself.”
Result:
[Q] Saurav Ghosal (IND) bt Daryl Selby (ENG) 3-0: 11-4, 11-8, 11-2 (40m)
Farag A Class Above Fathi
As expected it was Ali Farag who came out on top in the first all-Egyptian battle of the event, downing Karim Ali Fathi 3-0 with a performance that underlined once again his recent rise to prominence.
Farag was simply too good for his compatriot, moving effortlessly to dominate the court and punish the errant balls he was forcing from the racket of Fathi through sustained consistent ball placement and control.
“We play together a lot at home and it's always tough in practice,” said Farag.
“I’m lucky as I’m fresh, whereas he had to come through two hard qualifying matches. That made the difference today.
“I'm happy with the way I played but every match is different – nobody cares about the past of history. Anyone can win on the day. I just try to take it one match at a time.”
Result:
[5] Ali Farag (EGY) bt [Q] Karim Ali Fathi (EGY) 3-0: 11-7, 11-5, 11-1 (26m)
Business As Usual For ElShorbagy
Two-time tournament winner Mohamed ElShorbagy began his bid to regain the title he lost last year with a strong showing against England's Chris Simpson, coming through 3-0 to overcome a valiant effort from the challenger.
The first game was routine for the former World No.1 but he will have slight concerns following a period of lapsed concentration in the second saw him string error after error together to gift Simpson a strong lead and put himself under pressure. Were it not for a Simpson tin at 9-9 the scoreline could have been very different but in the end ElShorbagy rallied back in style to set up the platform for a dominant third game that takes him safely through to the round of sixteen.
“You don’t arrive to the top of the ranking by yourself and I have a whole team behind me – without them, I’m nothing, and I want to thank them for it,” said ElShorbagy.
“I like playing here. I come back year after year and would love to get my name on the trophy again. This is where I won my first ever World Series title back in 2013 and I feel this year the event has raised the bar and I'm looking forward to hopefully having a good week.”
Result:
[3] Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) bt [Q] Chris Simpson (ENG) 3-0: 11-7, 11-9, 11-5 (36m)
Dessouky Sees Off Home Hope
Fares Dessouky thwarted any hopes of home success as he dismissed Qatar’s number one Abdulla Mohd Al Tamimi in three games, during which he never really looked troubled by the Qatari.
Dessouky looked at ease as he strutted around court to come away with the win that takes him through to round two with minimal energy expended.
“I know he always plays well here in Doha, so I had to make sure I kept my focus at all times,” said Dessouky.
“I was surprised as I expected a loud support for Abdulla, but everybody was cheering for me like if I was in Egypt.
“He played very well in the second and third games – I had to change my game plan, so I’m very glad I managed to get through in three today.”
Result:
Fares Dessouky (EGY) bt [WC] Abdulla Mohd Al Tamimi (QAT) 3-0: 11-6, 11-8, 11-5
The General Returns To Form
After missing the first few events of the 2017/18 season due to injury, World No.1 Gregory Gaultier marked his return to competitive action with a comprehensive 3-0 win over dangerous Mexican Cesar Salazar to secure a place in the second round of the Qatar Classic.
A reoccurrence of the ankle injury that thwarted his 2016 World Championship campaign struck Gaultier towards the end of pre-season, but he showed no signs of any lingering problems as he dealt with Salazar – who came off the back of a huge win over James Willstrop at the U.S. Open – with ease, coming through in just 37 minutes.
The French General will be particularly pleased with how he responded to a drop in concentration and levels during the third game to thwart any hopes Salazar had of extending the match.
“It’s been tough recently with the ankle injury so I came here happy to be back on court,” said Gaultier.
“I haven’t played on a glass court for so long so it felt a bit weird to start , and Cesar has been playing well and had some good wins recently, so I’m pleased to come through.
“I just tried to find my marks and not do anything too crazy. I need these kind of matches to help me get back to fitness.”
Result:
[1] Gregory Gaultier (FRA) bt Cesar Salazar (MEX) 3-0: 11-6, 11-2, 11-9 (37m)

Men behind Pakistan’s squash glory

Legends like Hashim Khan, Azam Khan, Roshan Khan, and Mohibullah Khan were the ones who first introduced Pakistan in the arena of world squash

 

The Pakistani squash players maintained their absolute dominance over world squash for almost four decades between the years 1951 and 1998. One can earmark two major phases of Pakistan’s dominance. The first spanned between 1951 and 1963, and the second lasted between 1981 and 1998. Even the intervening period between these two generations of Pakistani squash players, Pakistan remained as a major contender for squash titles. The sport since has fallen into serious decline, since 1998, one of its clear manifestations is the rapid fall in world rankings of Pakistan’s squash players.
Pioneers of Pakistan Squash
As India was the largest British colony, so like any other sport, cricket, hockey, the British also introduced squash in the subcontinent.  Squash developed as an elite sport as all the pioneers of squash in Pakistan belonged to the families, whose elder worked as ball boys and linemen or work associated in other capacities with the British Officer clubs in the northern parts.
Therefore, it is not surprising to find that the sporting tradition had a profound impact on northwestern India, particularly the province of NWFP.  For instance, most of the Indian players like Abdul Bari, Hashim Khan, Roshan and Azam Khan belonged to Khan Family of Nawakille. If one looks at the Performances of World top squash players between 1929 and 1950 we find that it was mostly the British and Egyptian players that dominated the international squash scene. The player like Abdul Bari and Hashim Khan and later Azam and Roshan establish the credential as top players at an all-India level during the 1940s.
In the aftermath of the partition, the training facilities were nonexistent along with no government patronage. Amid these hurdles, Khan Family of Nawakille’s players, by dint of their sheer determination, played a key role in establishing Pakistan’s dominance in the world squash within few years after the independence.
Prominent players of the era
These forerunners’ determination was the reason behind their such zealous attitude towards squash and victories.  The names who first introduced Pakistan in the arena of world squash include Hashim Khan, Azam Khan, Roshan Khan, and Mohibullah Khan.
Hashim Khan (1914-2014)
Hashim Khan was the first international player who won the British Open Squash Championship seven times in eight years between 1951 and 1958.
Abdullah Khan, his father, had a great love for sports and he was a good player of lawn tennis and squash. Hashim developed his passion for squash right from his childhood. But Abdullah Khan met an accidental death when Hashim was only 11 years old and he had to leave school on account of financial constraints.
Hashim with other ball boys used to play squash at the court in the absence of British officers. In those days the British Officer’s Club Peshawar only had open-air squash courts. Eventually, Hashim Khan managed to draw the attention of some of the British officers.
The year 1944 marked his first appearance in a competitive tournament, the Western Indian Squash Championship, that was organized by the Cricket Club of India in Bombay. Hashim Khan, after winning three consecutive matches qualified for the final in which he defeated Abdul Bari, the Indian champion at that time.
After the partition of India, Hashim Khan started playing for Pakistan. In 1949 he won Pakistan Military Academy Kakul Championships, the first major squash event in the country.   A group of British Officers of Pakistan Air Force (PAF), who keenly followed the sport, encouraged, Hashim Khan to participate him in the British Open (1951).
In 1951, Hashim Khan launched his career as a professional squash player at international level in 1951, at the age of 37 years. He won the tournament by defeating Mahmoud El Karim, an Egyptian player who had won the previous four editions of the tournament.
The victory marked the beginning of his illustrious international career of Hashim Khan in the world of squash. As the record of his performances at the British open shows that between 1951 and 1956 he went on to win five consecutive titles. After losing the final of the British Open (1957), he reclaimed the title in 1958.
He had immortalized his name in the annals of squash by establishing a new record of victories at the British Open. Hashim Khan played his last British Open in 1959. After the tournament, he quitted the game on account of injury problems.

Azam Khan (b.1926)
Azam Khan was the younger brother of Hashim Khan and played a key role in his upbringing. He was also a source of inspiration for Azam Khan throughout his sporting career.
Azam Khan launched his squash career in 1952. He first participated in the British Professional Championship (1953) where played final with his elder brother Hashim Khan but lost the match.
Despite this, the Squash Rackets Association was reluctant to allow him to enter the British Open of 1953 because in those days British Open Draw was limited to only to sixteen players. Azam was played a trial match with Brian Phillips and successfully won his trial match to play in the British Open.
Initially Azam Khan was working as a coach in the Pakistan Air Force, where he had been employed as a porter on a monthly salary of 60 rupees. In 1953, when he reached the semi-final of the British Open he was promoted to ‘electrician’ and his salary rose to 100 rupees per month. But the following year, when he finished runner-up, far from being promoted he was demoted back to the level of porter.
Azam Khan becomes British Open champion in 1959 in a win against his nephew Mohibullah Khan. He is regarded as one of the greatest squash players in the squash playing world.
Yet within two years of Hashim Khan’s bidding, Azam Khan was ready to take on the best in the world. Azam Khan played with his brother Hashim Khan in the British Open finals of 1954, 1955 and 1958, but remained the runner-up. In 1956, he played an exhibition match against Hashim Khan at the New Grampians Club in Shepherds Bush.
After the match, he was offered a job to coach the club. He accepted this job and then settled in England and subsequently became club owner. Hashim Khan’s brother Azam Khan won four British Open titles after 1958. After his elder brother and his cousin Roshan Khan, he was the third squash player from Pakistan to have won the British Open.
Azam Khan had won not only the British Open and British Professional titles but also the most important hardball tournament, the US Open, for the first time in one year. Later, he had to retire from competitive squash due to an Achilles tendon injury. Subsequently, his son Nawaz Khan’s death and the injury forced him to exit from the arena. However, his club is linked with the development of arguably the greatest squash player, ever produced.

Roshan Khan (1929 – 2006)
Roshan Khan was the second player from Pakistan who won one British Open title and stood two times runner-up. His father Faizullah Khan worked at the British Army Club Rawalpindi as a squash marker. His mother was the daughter of Abdul Majeed Khan who was a prominent squash professional.  Inspired by his family background, he started his squash career in the mid-1940; he rose to prominence by qualifying for the final of the Pakistan Professional Championship in 1949, but he lost. He did not get discouraged and finally won the Pakistan Professional Championship in 1951. Being done so, he defended the title for the next two years.
Roshan Khan had to face severe financial constraints in the initial phase of his career, which forced him to move to Karachi in the early 1950s. Despite all odds, he kept his passion for squash. He got a job of “messenger” in the Pakistan Navy in 1952 that gave him a lucky break, as it not only eased financial burden but also provided him opportunities to travel to Britain in the mid-1950s to participate in the British Open Championship.
Roshan Khan soon   rose to the top 5 ranking in the world of squash and remained among top contenders between the years 1956 and 1961.  Roshan Khan’s victory in the British Open Championship marked a momentous occasion in his professional career, as became the second Pakistani after Roshan Khan to win this prestigious tournament.
Apart from British Open he earned victories in the North American Open in 1958, 1960 and 1961. He was also the Canadian Open Champion twice in the late-1950.
We can point two significant contributions of Roshan Khan to the sport of squash in Pakistan. The first was his inspirational role as a top player. The second was his role as a professional coach.  In the latter capacity, he coached his sons, Torsam Khan and Jahangir Khan.  The former’s career came to a sudden end in 1979 due to his untimely death, whereas the latter made a lasting imprint on world squash as one of the greatest players of the sport in the twentieth century.
2.1.4 Mohibullah Khan (1938-1995)
Mohibullah Khan started playing squash in the mid-1950. His association with Hashim Khan and Azam Khan helped him to make an early debut in the British Open Championship [in 1957] at the age of nineteen. He reached the semi-final stage but lost to Hashim Khan.
He made its presence felt as serious competitor of the world squash by reaching finals of all three British Open Championships between 1959 and 1962. The organizers of the British Open Championship entered his name in the roll of distinguished squash players in 1962. He, eventually, became the British Open Champion in 1963.
After Mohibullah Khan’s victory the British Open Championship of 1963 none of the Pakistani players could ever win the British Open till 1975.
A brief assessment of early squash players
As we noted in the introduction that it were the British that had introduced the sport of squash in the sub-continent. On the surface, it appears quite farfetched to establish a direct role of the British officers’ clubs in the rise of the first generation of the squash players in Pakistan, but a closed study of family background of the first generation of the squash players, who hailed from Nawakille, a small village 100 miles off Peshawar, corroborates this contention.
Abdullah Khan (d.1928), the father of Hashim Khan and Azam Khan, worked as a head steward in British Officers Club Peshawar. The association of Abdullah Khan with Squash drew the attention of his children towards squash. For instance, Hashim Khan worked in different capacities in the British officers’ club, as a ball-picker/ squash helper and later as a coach in the early 1940s.
Similarly, Faizullah Khan, the father of Roshan Khan worked as a squash marker for the British Officers Club (Rawalpindi). Thus the British officers’ clubs of Peshawar and Rawalpindi served as breeding grounds in the rise of these three distinguished squash players. While assessing the role of the British officers clubs, one should not ignore the fact that at that time supervisory bodies like formal squash federations did not exist in British India. And the Pakistan Squash Federation was established seven years after the independence.
It appears quite strange that the Pakistani squash players like Hashim Khan and Roshan Khan had started winning laurels in the absence of a formal regulatory body. But during this crucial period, the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) provided sound institutional support for the development of squash in Pakistan. Here, one should not overlook the transcendental impact of the British clubs in generating interests of the officer corps of the Pakistan armed forces towards squash. They also hired the prominent players as employees, including Hashim Khan and Roshan Khan.
The PAF also patronized the PSF, right after PSF establishment. If one looks at the hierarchal structure of the PSF, one finds that the officers belonging to the PAF had always remained at the helm of the former. The PAF, by providing promising as well as veteran squash jobs, created new employment opportunities for the squash players that not only contributed to professionalize the sport of squash in Pakistan but also, in certain ways made the squash a profession. PAF also earned the distinction of establishing the first Squash Complex in Pakistan that was established in 1962.

Elias Impresses To Defeat Willstrop As Ghosal Seals Second Round Spot In Qatar



Peru's Diego Elias continued his fine start to the 2017/18 PSA World Tour season with an against-the-seedings first round victory over former World No.1 James Willstrop at the 2017 Qatar Classic - producing a highly impressive and dominant performance to win in straight-games at the PSA World Series tournament taking place in Doha.

The 20-year-old - who began his season with victory over three-time World Champion Nick Matthew at the NetSuite Open in September - showed impressive maturity and composure as he came from behind in the opening game to counter Willstrop's trademark accuracy and set up the foundations for the 3-0 win that cements his graduation from prodigal talent to genuine top calibre contender on the PSA World Tour.

"Last time we played it was about a year ago and he played so well that day that I couldn’t do anything," said Elias.

"It’s always hard to play against a player like him so today I just tried to apply as much pressure as I could throughout the match and keep my concentration levels high.

"The first game was crucial. I think I was down 8-3 and I just tried to change things up and move him around the court. I feel confident on court and feel like my game is coming together well so I hope this can be a good tournament for me."

Elias will now go up against Saurav Ghosal for a place in the quarter-finals after the Indian number one secured his own upset against England's number three Daryl Selby. 

Ghosal, who fell as low as No.30 on the rankings earlier this year following a poor run of form, oozed confidence as he dominated on court against Selby from the outset. The 31-year-old used his pace and movement to expose Selby and looked like a player renewed as he saw out the match 3-0 to record his first ever win over the World No.15 and also secure his berth in the second round of the event for the first time in his career.

"I had a good week last week in St George (PSA M100 event) and had a decent start to the season in Macau too - so I'm just trying to enjoy my squash as much as I possibly can," said Ghosal.

"I'm enjoying playing and feeling privileged to be competing at great events such as this in Qatar. I'm trying to do the things I know I'm capable of - things which in the past I haven't executed as well as I should have. 

"If I can enjoy it for the most part then I feel I can give a good account of myself."

Hong Kong's Leo Au was another surprise winner on the opening day of action as he recorded a 3-1 win over Australia's Ryan Cuskelly while World No.1 Gregory Gaultier marked his return from injury with a comfortable 3-0 win over Mexico's Cesar Salazar.

"It's been tough recently with the ankle injury so I came here just happy to be back on court," said Gaultier. 

"Cesar has been playing well and had some good wins recently so I'm just pleased to come through."

Two-time tournament winner Mohamed ElShorbagy was amongst the other winners on the day alongside compatriots Fares Dessouky, Zahed Mohamed and Ali Farag. 

Result: First Round (Top Half) - 2017 Qatar Classic
[1] Gregory Gaultier (FRA) bt Cesar Salazar (MEX) 3-0: 11-6, 11-2, 11-9 (37m)
Zahed Mohamed (EGY) bt Gregoire Marche (FRA) 3-2: 11-6, 5-11, 11-6, 8-11, 11-2 (59m)
[Q] Saurav Ghosal (IND) bt Daryl Selby (ENG) 3-0: 11-4, 11-8, 11-2 (40m)
Diego Elias (PER) bt [7] James Willstrop (ENG) 3-0: 12-10, 11-5, 11-8 (46m)
[5] Ali Farag (EGY) bt [Q] Karim Ali Fathi (EGY) 3-0: 11-7, 11-5, 11-1 (26m)
[Q] Leo Au (HKG) bt Ryan Cuskelly (AUS) 3-1: 7-11, 11-7, 11-8, 11-4 (63m)
Fares Dessouky (EGY) bt [WC] Abdulla Mohd Al Tamimi (QAT) 3-0: 11-6, 11-8, 11-5
[3] Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) bt [Q] Chris Simpson (ENG) 3-0: 11-7, 11-9, 11-5 (36m)

Draw - First Round (Bottom Half)
[4] Nick Matthew (ENG) v [Q] Raphael Kandra (GER) 
Mathieu Castagnet (FRA) v [Q] Alan Clyne (SCO) 
Cameron Pilley (AUS) v [Q] Adrian Waller (ENG)
Mohamed Abouelghar (EGY) v [8] Tarek Momen (EGY)
[6] Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY) v Paul Coll (NZL)
Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL) v Omar Mosaad (EGY)
Simon Rösner (GER) v [Q] Tsz Fung Yip (HKG)
Borja Golan (ESP) v [2] Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY)
 

29 Oct 2017

5th Open Squash Provence Chateau-Arnoux 2017

1
TOP SEED Flag (fr)
C. Andre (115)
2
Flag (fr)
G. Demont (114)
3
Flag (fr)
A. Dussourd (100)
4
Flag (ca)
D. Baillargeon (122)
5
Flag (england)
K. Finch (129)
6
Flag (fr)
V. Crouin (128)
7
Flag (fi)
J. Aijanen (133)

Flag (wales)
E. Evans (151)
 
 
PSA - Professional Squash Association
  • Main Draw
    03 - 05 Nov
  • Venue
    Chateau-Arnoux, France
  • Prize
    $5,000 (m)
 

A glimpse inside Gympie's new $1m squash facility


 COMING SOON: Matthew Robinson, the new owner of the Victory Squash courts in Gympie.
Matthew Robinson, the new owner of the Victory Squash courts in Gympie.


THE construction of Gympie's new $1million squash courts in Victory Heights is near completion.
Victory Squash is the concept of Matthew Robinson and his wife Rachel Coull, and after four years of toil, the facility is closely resembling its finished product.
The $1million construction is scheduled for completion before the end of the year.
"I've looked at it for several years, I've been working as a teacher and running a coffee cart on the side for a while and I just felt the time was right," Robinson said.
"The council process has taken a long three years, but before that, the dream, it really began four years ago."
The facility will feature four high-quality squash courts, with a movable wall for adaptation to the size of international doubles court, a feature many facilities in Australia simply do not have.
The four courts can accommodate eight players at once in total, and easily cater for a tournament of around eighty competitors.
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There will be room for 14 car parking spaces with overflow for roughly twice that number.
Robinson has been a squash player since 1986 and was inspired to build the squash courts, with its associated cafe, by his experiences overseas.
He also has experience working for Squash Australia before he became a full-time teacher.
An on-site cafe open daily from 7am-4pm, is the key point of difference to many squash courts around the country, and will feature seating for about 30 people in and outside with a view over a dam.
The Gympie Squash Club will also have their own area, complete with fridge and bar, there will be bathrooms, showers and lockers.
The facility quickly resembles a social club with a racquet and ball game attached.
"It's definitely influenced by what I saw in the UK and overseas, where they have cafes and restaurants on-site," Robinson said.
"There you have people having a few games, then sitting down to eat and drink and socialising and things like that."
Buoyed by his time working within the sport, Robinson and Coull have their numbers dotted.
They estimate about 500 squash players live in and around Gympie, and they need less than a quarter of those players to become members to float the business.
"There's a lot of interest in the sport, particularly within the schools," Robinson said.
"We asked the high schools for input and both James Nash and Gympie High seemed to have much higher interest than we thought."
If the courts are finished in time, Gympie newest sporting arena could be christened by world-class athletes.
Such is the scarcity of international doubles sized courts, there is a chance a Commonwealth Games squash team could train in Gympie in the lead up to the tournament.
Victory Squash will aim to host a tournament soon after completion to celebrate the project.

Trinity Squash Suffers Defeats in Men’s and Women’s Leagues

 

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 Neither of Trinity's teams managed to secure victory during the week, being overcome by Sutton and Fitzwilliam respectively.

 

At Trinity, squash is an established part of the sporting sphere. Trinity College Dublin Squash Racket Club dates back to the mid-1930s, with the first courts being constructed in 1938. The Trinity Team has recently enjoyed the instalment of new squash courts in Trinity Hall.
Monday night saw the men’s team play against Sutton in Division One of the Leinster Senior League. Players from both sides were ranked and took on their opposite number, the team with the higher overall score being awarded victory.
Trinity’s five players put in a great effort but ultimately fell short of success, losing out by three games to two. The deciding game was very tense and turned out to be a very tight affair. The men are struggling compared to last season as they have lost their number one ranked player who graduated last year. That said, everyone is contributing to the team and is always improving. The side will hope to build on Monday’s narrow defeat as they seek to hit a vein of form.
Tuesday night saw Trinity’s Ladies A Team take on Fitzwilliam Ladies A Team in the Premier Division. Despite being scheduled to be played in Trinity Hall, the game was moved to Fitzwilliam at the last minute. Trinity’s team included Tamaki Marumo, Sarah Corcoran, Patricia Ryan and Ruichen Lee. Half this team are alumni of Trinity Squash. The ladies put in a solid performance but narrowly missed out on victory by one point, with Sarah Corcoran and Tamaki Marumo winning their games for the team. With Corcoran and Marumo winning consistently, the team hopes to raise its ranking in the Premier Division this year.
The club is now looking forward to the Squash Colours Event, which will take place in University College Dublin on November 11th where Marumo and her team are determined to come out on top: “We haven’t won colours for a while now. It’s my third year playing in it and I really hope we win”, she told The University Times by email.

Qatar Classic squash action begins today



 squash

India’s Saurav Ghosal (left) in action against Kuwait’s Ammer al-Tamimi during the qualifying round for the Qatar Classic squash yesterday. PICTURES: Jayan Orma


 The 2017 edition of the Qatar Classic begins at the Khalifa International Tennis and Squash Complex today.
The PSA World Series event is the second stage on the Road to Dubai series – after the US Open US Open – which will culminate with the World Series Finals in Dubai next year. With the top eight players on the Road to Dubai standings earning a place in the end-of-season Dubai finale, the Qatar Classic offers another chance to the world’s top squash players to accrue points and qualify for the lucrative season-ender.
Former World No 1 Ramy Ashour withdrew last week due to illness, but there are still enough top names, led by defending champion Karim Abdel Gawad from Egypt. The other stars in the fray are - three-time World Champion Nick Matthew from England, former world No 1 Mohamed El Shorbagy and current World No.1 Gregory Gaultier – who is the only player outside of England and Egypt to lift the title – all triumphing in Doha.
El Shorbagy is hoping to become the first player to win the Qatar Classic title three times, after lifting the title in 2013 and 2015. Last year, he also missed a chance to claim three back-to-back titles when he lost the final to Gawad in the final.
World Champion Gawad is also aiming to come back stronger after a mixed start to the 2017-18 season. Gawad has had an up-and-down beginning to the new season, with a runner-up finish to ElShorbagy at the Oracle NetSuite Open last month followed by a shock first round defeat at the hands of World No.10 Paul Coll at the US Open.
The 26-year-old from Giza is determined to put that defeat behind him though as he targets a third successive World Series title to go with his triumph in Qatar last year and the JP Morgan Tournament of Champions crown he picked up in January inside New York’s stunning Grand Central Terminal.
“For me, that loss will just make me stronger and hungrier to win,” said the former World No 1.
“I know I didn’t perform my best, I know losing in the first round is not what I am supposed to do. That will make me learn from it and come back as strong as I can.”
Second seed Gawad has a tricky first round tie against Spain’s former World No 5 Borja Golan in store. Golan had got the better of Gawad in their Windy City Open quarter-final clash in February. Matthew, the 2009 winner, is also on Gawad’s side of the draw and is making his last ever appearance at the tournament after last month’s announcement that he will be retiring at the end of the season.
The world No 5 Ali Farag, who is leading the race to Dubai points table, is also aiming for his first Qatar Classic after his exploits at the US Open where he made history alongside wife Nour El Tayeb earlier this month in Philadelphia by winning the same major singles title on the same day.
World No 37 Abdulla Mohamed al-Tamimi represents local hopes in the main draw as wildcard.
It was a good day for the top seeds in the as qualifying round as six of the eight favourites clinched the main draw spots. Top seeded Scot Alan Clyne was first to qualify, fending off a late challenge from former 2016 world junior champion Eain Yow Ng, and eighth seed Chris Simpson was the last, winning a close all-English encounter with Declan James to finish the day two.
There were two seeding upsets as Germany’s Raphael Kandra winning a tight five game contest to record his first ever win over training partner Nicolas Mueller and Adrian Waller adding to the English contingent as he edged past third seed Omar Abdel Meguid in four games. There were wins for Hong Kong pair Leo Au and Tsz Fung Yip, a solitary Egyptian in Karim Ali Fathi, and India’s in-form second seed Saurav Ghosal.
The Qatar Classic is the second men’s World Series tournament out of seven this season and will see players battle for points on the PSA World Series Standings.
Entry to the tournament is free of charge up to the semi-finals and final. Semi-final tickets are priced at QR20 for back wall tickets and QR15 for side wall seats. For the final, ticket prices are QR30 for back wall seating and QR20 for side wall seats. Tickets can be purchased at the kiosk in front of the spectator gate on both days.
QUALIFYING ROUND RESULTS
* [1] Alan Clyne (Sco) 3-1 Eain Yow Ng (Mas) 11-4, 11-2, 13-11 (31m)
* [5] Tsz Fung Yip (Hkg) v Charles Sharpes (Eng) 11-5, 8-11, 11-9, 8-11, 11-8 (77m)
* Karim Ali Fathi (Egy) 3-1 [10] Campbell Grayson (Nzl) 11-7, 6-11, 11-9, 11-5 (55m
* [11] Adrian Waller (Eng) 3-1 [3] Omar Abdel Meguid (Egy) 11-2, 7-11, 12-10, 11-9 (47m)
* [15] Raphael Kandra (Ger) 3-2 [4] Nicolas Meuller (Sui) 13-11, 7-11, 11-7, 7-11, 11-7 (61m)
* [7] Leo Au (Hkg) 3-1 Richie Fallows (Eng) 9-11, 11-4, 11-7, 11-1 (51m)
* [8] Chris Simpson (Eng) 3-0 [9] Declan James (Eng) 13-11, 11-9, 11-6 (57m)
* [2] Saurav Ghosal (Ind) 3-0 Ammar al-Tamimi (Kuw) 11-6, 11-3, 11-6 (29m)

28 Oct 2017

The husband and wife who won their first major squash titles on the same day

Neither Ali Farag nor Nour El Tayeb had won a top-tier World Series event until they became US Open champions in the same venue on the same afternoon
By James Willstrop for Willstrop’s World
US Open squash champions Ali Farag and Nour El Tayeb are the first husband and wife to win the same major singles title on the same day.

US Open squash champions Ali Farag and Nour El Tayeb are the first husband and wife to win the same major singles title on the same day. Photograph: Steve Line/SquashPicsPSA

When Nour El Tayeb and Ali Farag won the US Open squash titles in Philadelphia earlier this month, the squash world knew they had broken some kind of record. This pair aren’t just from the same country; they are from the same house. The two Egyptian players, who married last summer, have been on the rise over the last few years but neither is in the habit of picking up major titles. In fact, neither had won a top-tier World Series event until they spurred each other to victory on the same day. They are now the only husband and wife in sporting history to have won a major singles title on the same day.
The squash world has embraced and enjoyed their unique achievement, even if some players probably think it’s a bit greedy of them to grab everything at once. This sort of family success is much rarer than siblings winning in tandem. The Brownlee brothers and Williams sisters can take advantage of the same propitious genes and nurturing environments. The El Shorbagy brothers and Grinham sisters have made it right to the top in squash in recent years – and their achievements are exceptional – but there is something truly special about two people meeting each other slightly randomly, falling in love and then winning massive sporting events for the first time on the same afternoon.
It’s enough to make people talk sentimentally about “fate” and success being “written in the stars” but this twin triumph is the result of dogged determination and the disciplined lifestyles they lead with each other. They are both engaging, passionate, positive and enviably intelligent people – off the court and on it – and they could bring the sport wider appeal in the next years. They are appreciated by fellow players and audiences alike. Farag was given the Spirit of Squash award for the second time this year. Chosen by his fellow players, the prize goes to the player who best demonstrates sportsmanship on and off court throughout the season.
They both studied for degrees while maintaining their professional aspirations, which is a mission to say the least. Playing squash at the highest level is grievously demanding but doing so at a formative stage of your career while studying is seriously impressive. Farag studied mechanical engineering at Harvard University, so presumably his professors wouldn’t have been too keen on him bunking off lectures to catch up on missed training. Having studied at one of America’s great universities, it is fitting his greatest sporting triumph to date came in the US Open.
El Tayeb is such a watchable player. She manages to balance a highly skilful, busy and graceful game with a kinetic and fiery spirit. Her acrobatic retrievals, shots and court length dives have a habit of sending SquashTV into overdrive. She also showed fighting spirit after a shoulder injury in 2015 severely halted her progress.
US Open squash champions Ali Farag and Nour El Tayeb.
US Open squash champions Ali Farag and Nour El Tayeb. Photograph: Steve Line/SquashPics/PSA
The two finals followed each other fairly briskly on the day, so Farag had to balance his own preparation with supporting his wife. He couldn’t miss her final completely, but he also had to maintain his concentration for the biggest match of his career. Nour was relieved to be playing the first match of the day. “Thank God I’m on first so I don’t have to feel the pressure of him playing before my match,” she said before the match.
Her husband used up enough energy for two matches, but it didn’t affect his performance against defending champion Mohamed El Shorbagy. He was sublime, using his wife’s victory as rocket fuel. As he clinched the final point he looked to the front row to his wife who understatedly, almost sheepishly, joined him slowly, giving him enough room and time to take in the moment. It’s not always easy to win with such dignity.
Unless they can both win two titles at the British Open or World Championships on the same day, it probably can’t get any better for these two “squash freaks” who love each other. We see high-powered partnerships materialising through sport – Laura Trott and Jason Kenny, Steffi Graf and Andre Agassi – but none have had an afternoon like this. For now it’s back to the tour for both of them. Ali played a major event in London last week, losing in the final to Mohamed El Shorbagy. Nour was in Brooklyn, losing in the quarter-finals to Nour El Sherbini, one of the opponents she slayed in Philadelphia. Undoubtedly, they will find some time at home to celebrate together. And they can get back to the things most of us worry about in marriage, like arguing about the bins.
This is an article from James Willstrop’s blog Follow James on Twitter

Gawad ‘Hungry’ to Get Back On Track at Qatar Classic






Karim Abdel Gawad (right) takes on Mohamed ElShorbagy (left) in the final of the 2016 Qatar Classic


World Champion Karim Abdel Gawad says that he aiming to come back stronger after a mixed start to the 2017/18 season when he returns to the Khalifa International Tennis and Squash Complex between October 29 – November 3 to defend his Qatar Classic, World Series title in Doha.
November 2016 was one of the most remarkable months of Gawad’s career as he became the third Egyptian to lift the PSA Men’s World Championship title, while he followed that up two weeks later with his first ever World Series title at the Qatar Classic, defeating compatriot and the World No.1 at the time, Mohamed ElShorbagy.
It was a landmark moment for the current World No.2, who had only ever reached a solitary World Series final before his displays in Doha, and Gawad admits it was one of the most enjoyable wins of his career.
“It was a very special moment for me as it was my first ever World Series win and I really enjoyed the way I was playing at that moment, I was enjoying every second on court,” said Gawad.
“November was a very special month for me, winning the World Championship and my first ever World Series event was just too much to ask for.
“Maybe most people thought I would feel a lot of pressure playing Qatar after the World Championships, but for me it was the opposite. I had zero pressure because I thought my body and mentality wouldn’t handle another big tournament, with lots of tough matches just a few days after winning the biggest tournament of the year.
“All I wished for is to enjoy my game and I tried to win as many matches as possible. Suddenly, I found myself feeling stronger physically and I was still hungry for another win, so it went from there.”
Gawad has had an up-and-down beginning to the new season, with a runner-up finish to ElShorbagy at the Oracle NetSuite Open last month followed by a shock first round defeat at the hands of World No.10 Paul Coll at the U.S. Open.
The 26-year-old from Giza is determined to put that defeat behind him though as he targets a third successive World Series title to go with his triumph in Qatar last year and the J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions crown he picked up in January inside New York’s stunning Grand Central Terminal.
“For me, that loss will just make me stronger and more hungry to win,” said the former World No.1
“I know I didn’t perform my best, I know losing in the first round is not what I am supposed to do.
“That will make me learn from it and come back as strong as I can.”
Second seed Gawad has a tricky first round tie against Spain’s former World No.5 Borja Golan in store, with Golan getting the better of Gawad in their Windy City Open quarter-final clash in February.
Gregory Gaultier tops the draw as he makes his first appearance of the season after sitting out the early weeks with an ankle injury, while last year’s runner-up Mohamed ElShorbagy is seeded to meet the Frenchman in the semi-finals.
2009 winner Nick Matthew is on Gawad’s side of the draw and is making his last ever appearance at the tournament after last month’s announcement that the Yorkshireman will be retiring at the end of the season.
Qatar is represented by a number of players in the qualification stages, while Abdulla Mohd Al Tamimi, the World No.37, represents local hopes in the main draw.
The Qatar Classic is the second men’s World Series tournament out of seven this season and will see players battle for points on the PSA World Series Standings. Egypt’s World No.5 Ali Farag currently tops the standings after his U.S. Open title in Philadelphia two weeks ago, with only the top eight players at the end of the season qualifying for June’s PSA Dubai World Series Finals.
The Khalifa International Tennis and Squash Complex will host all of the qualifying fixtures, between October 27-28, and the main draw matches, which will be held between October 29 – November 3.
Every main draw match will be shown live on SQUASHTV (rest of world) and Eurosport Player (Europe only), while action from the semi-finals and final will be shown live on mainstream broadcast channels around the world, including BT Sport, beIN Sports, Fox Sports Australia and Astro.
Entry to the tournament is free of charge up to the semi-finals and final. Semi-final tickets are priced at QAR 20 for back wall tickets and QAR 15 for side wall seats. For the final, ticket prices are QAR 30 for back wall seating and QAR 20 for side wall seats. Tickets can be purchased at the kiosk in front of the spectator gate on both days.
2017 Qatar Classic – First Round Draw
[1] Gregory Gaultier (FRA) v Cesar Salazar (MEX)
Zahed Mohamed (EGY) v Gregoire Marche (FRA)
Daryl Selby (ENG) v [Qualifier]
Diego Elias (PER) v [7] James Willstrop (ENG)
[5] Ali Farag (EGY) v [Qualifier]
Ryan Cuskelly (AUS) v [Qualifier]
Fares Dessouky (EGY) v [WC] Abdulla Mohd Al Tamimi (QAT)
[Qualifier] v [3] Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY)
[4] Nick Matthew (ENG) v [Qualifier]
Mathieu Castagnet (FRA) v [Qualifier]
Cameron Pilley (AUS) v [Qualifier]
Mohamed Abouelghar (EGY) v [8] Tarek Momen (EGY)
[6] Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY) v Paul Coll (NZL)
Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL) v Omar Mosaad (EGY)
Simon Rösner (GER) v [Qualifier]
Borja Golan (ESP) v [2] Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY)

Tournament Preview: Qatar Classic

The 2017 instalment of the Qatar Classic begins on Sunday October 29 at the Khalifa International Tennis and Squash Complex in Doha as the top players on the Men’s Tour take part in the second World Series event of the season.
Tournament top seed and World No.1 Gregory Gaultier will begin his tournament against Mexico’s Cesar Salazar – who recently won the Chicago Open. This will be the Frenchman’s first appearance of the 2017/18 season after suffering with an ankle injury that saw him forced to withdraw from both the NetSuite Open and U.S. Open.
Gaultier could face two-time Qatar Classic champion Mohamed ElShorbagy in the semi-finals of the tournament should both prevail through their respective fixtures. The Egyptian former World No.1 has had a strong start to the season, which has seen him claim titles at the NetSuite Open and Channel VAS at St George’s Hill and a runner-up finish at the U.S. Open. ElShorbagy will open against a qualifier in round one.
U.S. Open champion and current leader on the World Series Standings, Ali Farag, will look to continue his purple patch as he also opens against a qualifier in round one.
Elsewhere, defending champion, Karim Abdel Gawad – who beat ElShorbagy 3-0 in the 2016 final – opens against Spain’s Borja Golan at 19:30 local time on October 30.
Also in the bottom half of the draw, three-time World Champion Nick Matthew – who beat Egypt’s Karim Darwish in the 2009 Qatar Classic final – will start his tournament against a qualifier in round one.
Tournament wildcard and home hope Abdulla Mohd Al Tamimi will be looking to start strong in front of his home crowd as he comes up against Egypt’s Fares Dessouky in round one.
Other strong contenders in the men’s draw include England’s former World Noi.1 James Willstrop, who last won the tournament in 2005. The Yorkshireman faces a tough ask in round one as he takes on Peru’s Diego Elias, who has been one to watch on the Men’s Tour so far this season – defeating England’s Matthew at the NetSuite Open and Marwan ElShorbagy at the U.S. Open. The younger ElShorbagy brother will begin his tournament against New Zealand’s World No.10 Paul Coll.
The Qatar Classic marks the second World Series event of the season for the Men’s Tour and presents another chance for players to earn points for the World Series Standings as they bid to qualify for the season-ending PSA World Series Finals – with only the top eight players on the men’s standings earning a coveted berth at the lucrative tournament.
Round one – draw (top-half)
October 29
[1] Gregory Gaultier (FRA) v Cesar Salazar (MEX)
Zahed Mohamed (EGY) v Gregoire Marche (FRA)
Daryl Selby (ENG) v [Q]
Diego Elias (PER) v [7] James Willstrop (ENG)
[5] Ali Farag (EGY) v [Q]
Ryan Cuskelly (AUS) v [Q]
Fares Dessouky (EGY) v [WC] Abdulla Mohd Al Tamimi (QAT)
[Q] v [3] Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY)
Round one – draw (bottom-half)
October 30
[4] Nick Matthew (ENG) v [Q]
Mathieu Castagnet (FRA) v [Q]
Cameron Pilley (AUS) v [Q]
Mohamed Abouelghar (EGY) v [8] Tarek Momen (EGY)
[6] Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY) v Paul Coll (NZL)
Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL) v Omar Mosaad (EGY)
Simon Rosner (GER) v [Q]
Borga Golan (ESP) v [2] Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY)

27 Oct 2017

Teenage squash talent Lucy Turmel targets world number one spot

Lucy Turmel in action. Picture: CONTRIBUTED
 
 Lucy Turmel in action. Picture: CONTRIBUTED
 A Suffolk student has her sights set on becoming the best squash player in the world, writes John Nice.
 Lucy Turmel at Suffolk One, where she's studying. Picture: SUFFOLK ONE
Lucy Turmel at Suffolk One, where she's studying. Picture: SUFFOLK ONE
Lucy Turmel, 18, will be competing in the British Championships at the end of this week and is already ranked 71st in the world, as well as being the British number one at under 19 level.
Having started playing as an 11-year-old, she’s risen up the ranks and has sport in her blood – dad Frank is a former pro boxer, while mum Karen was a professional showjumper.
She trains twice a day, six times a week, in both Ipswich and Manchester, fitting it around her education at Suffolk One.
She said: “My ambition is to be world number one and world champion – I hope to do that as soon as possible. That is the focus.
“I’d love to be a professional at the highest level. You can make a good living in the senior tour. The prize money for winning a tournament in Dubai was £45,000.
“When I leave college I will dedicate all of my time to this. Even now everything is dedicated to squash. What I eat, how much I sleep and train – I don’t get to do what my friends are doing as I don’t get much free time. But it’s the sacrifice I have chosen.”
The money available to players would dramatically rise if squash was to secure a spot at a future Olympic Games and there is talk of this happening at Los Angeles in 2024.
She added: “If squash got to the Olympics I’d definitely be up for the challenge.”
And Turmel is keen to get more support from the local business community to help make her dreams come true.
She said: “Any extra support would be amazing. I really think I’ve got half a chance of becoming number one in the world – you have to believe in yourself a lot. You have to believe you can beat anyone.”
After the British Championships, Turmel will be travelling to Poland to compete in a European tournament early next year and then India in July to test herself against the world’s best.
Her tutor at One is Anna Bird. She said: “Lucy is an amazing talent and we feel lucky that she chose to study with us. She carries herself incredibly well and she is very determined.
“We will do all we can to help her achieve her ambitions.”

Throwback Thursday: Story of the Men’s 2016 Qatar Classic

The 2017 instalment of the Qatar Classic takes place October 29 – November 3 at the Khalifa International Tennis and Squash Complex in Doha when the top players on the Men’s Tour battle it out at the second World Series event of the season.
Join us as we take a look back at the story of the men’s 2016 Qatar Classic.
Round one – results
James Willstrop (ENG) bt Chris Simpson (ENG) 3-1: 7-11, 11-2, 11-4, 11-0 (53m)
Gregoire Marche (FRA) bt Mohamed Abouelghar (EGY) 3-2: 9-11, 11-6, 11-9, 3-11, 11-8 (54m)
[Q] Alan Clyne (SCO) bt Saurav Ghosal (IND) 3-1: 12-10, 9-11, 11-7, 11-1 (47m)
[6] Tarek Momen (EGY) bt [Q] Paul Coll (NZL) 3-2: 7-11, 11-8, 8-11, 12-10, 17-15 (101m)
[4] Nick Matthew (ENG) bt [WC] Abdulla Mohd Al Tamimi (QAT) 3-2: 11-9, 11-8, 9-11, 10-12, 11-9 (71m)
[1] Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) bt Diego Elias (PER) 3-2: 11-4, 8-11, 11-8, 6-11, 11-5 (63m)
Leo Au (HKG) bt [Q] Campbell Grayson (NZL) 3-1: 6-11, 11-6, 11-5, 11-8 (55m)
[7] Simon Rösner (GER) bt [Q] Declan James (ENG) 3-0: 11-6, 11-8, 11-6 (36m)
[Q] Adrian Waller (ENG) bt Nicolas Mueller (SUI) 3-1: 6-11, 11-5, 11-8, 12-10 (62m)
Zahed Mohamed (EGY) bt Tom Richards (ENG) 3-0: 11-6, 12-10, 11-4 (27m)
Cesar Salazar (MEX) bt Omar Abdel Meguid (EGY) 3-1: 11-5, 11-8, 9-11, 15-13 (53m)
Ryan Cuskelly (AUS) bt Max Lee (HKG) 3-2: 3-11, 11-9, 11-6, 11-13, 11-9 (96m)
Daryl Selby (ENG) bt [2] Omar Mosaad (EGY) 3-2: 11-9, 5-11, 2-11, 11-9, 11-2 (69m)
[3] Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) bt [Q] Mohamed Reda (EGY) 3-1: 9-11, 11-6, 11-4, 11-3 (41m)
[8] Cameron Pilley (AUS) bt [Q] Nafiizwan Adnan (MAS) 3-0: 11-5, 11-9, 11-5 (52m)
[5] Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY) bt [Q] Tsz Fung Yip (HKG) 3-0: 11-7, 11-8, 11-6 (27m)

Pakistan squash players continue to disappoint

 


ISLAMABAD - Pakistan squash players continue to disappoint despite getting great facilities from the Pakistan Squash Federation as they were crash out of very first round of the event in.
Pakistan squash hopes Farhan Mehboob and Farhan Zaman, who are being fully supported by the PSF, completely failed to prove their mettle at international level. Veteran Farhan Mehboob though managed to win PSA events last year and early this year and also won Egypt-V and World-v matches, defeating world number 2, yet he is a super flop when it comes to play outside the country.
Mehboob lost in the first round in USA, first round in Hong Kong and once again both Farhan Mehboob and Farhan Zaman made early exists in $25,000 Life Time Chicago Open 2017. Zaman lost in the first round against American Todd Harrity, while Mehboob was thrashed by bulky Egyptian Omar Abdel Meguid 3-1 in the second round.
Both Zaman and Mehboob looked highly reluctant to follow Pakistan National Squash Academy (PNSA) training rules and regulations and always find one or another reason to skip the training. Both promised to perform next time, but despite a lapse of more than two years, these players couldn’t deliver and wasting a huge national wealth on just foreign tours.
Both Mehboob and Zaman have to realise that they are given air tickets worth thousands of rupees and handsome TADAs but in response, when they produce such pathetic results, it disappoints the entire nation as well as the federation. When such poor and average performances can be achieved through any other player, then what is the need of spending huge amount on these super flops? Winning friendly series at home is a different thing and playing at neutral venue and to perform there is a completely different thing.
The federation must seek explanation from both the players and strict action must be taken against them, as these players need to give performances through rackets. They are not super models, so their mobile phones must be taken away, as mostly they remain busy in taking selfies, rather than paying heed on their training and practice.
The federation must realise that the huge amount, they have been spending on players , trainers and coaches, are tax-payers money and mainly it is generated through Pakistan Air Force (PAF). The federation must not waste the national kitty on players , who can’t win qualifiers or bow out at very first hurdle; instead it should use this amount on players’ training and at grassroots level.
The PSF must forget about fear of losing, as it is true that Pakistan had ruled the squash world for almost four decades, but it is also bitter reality that for the past two decades, none of Pakistani players could win a major title, not a single Pakistani player managed to break into top 10 in PSA rankings. Due to this fear factor, the PSF melts down under pressure and spends huge amount on those players , who are tigers at home, but pussy cats abroad.
For the last several years, not a single Pakistani player managed to win $25,000 or above PSA title abroad, with only exception of Nasir Iqbal and Farhan Mehboob, who won $25,000 titles, but all those victories were made possible at home.
Nasir Iqbal had the potential of breaking into top 20 or beyond and he was aiming high, but Indian conspiracy and previous PSF management were responsible of inflicting unjust 4-year ban on Nasir. It was not the youngster’s fault, but former senior vice president Razi Nawab and secretary Amir Nawaz, who failed to handle the case properly. Had both gentlemen taken Nasir’s case seriously, the things could have been quite different.
Razi and Amir’s self-styled policies also resulted in number of top players including Aamir Atlas, Danish Atlas and others, turning their backs on country and reside in USA. Razi and Amir were the real culprits and it is national duty of PSF president Air Marshal Sohail Aman to seek explanation from them for not handling Nasir’s case properly.

Junior Squash players become a force to be reckoned with – perform well in SA


Junior Squash players become a force to be reckoned with – perform well in SA 
 
Namibia’s top two under 16 Junior Squash Players, Arno Diekmann (Wanderers Squash Club) and Henko Knipe came in 3rd and 5th in the annual Paarl Junior Squash Open which was held from 6 to 8 October in Paarl, South Africa.
According to Henk Knipe, a parent travelling with the team, after a lot of hard work by the two, who competed against some of the best in the Western Cape as well as from other parts of SA, the players proved to have upgraded their skills.
“The games that they lost to end up in these positions were very tough and their opponents new pretty well that they had their work cut-out to win them,” Henk said.
The competition is one of the important competitions for an overall SA ranking and for the yearly Bloemfontein Open that is seen as the most important Junior Squash competition for individual juniors each year.
“The Inter Provincial Tournament is the highlight of the SA Junior calendar, where teams from all provinces compete against each other. A competition that all our Namibian Juniors would like to take part in as soon as they have reached that level. Taking part in SA tournaments is therefore of vital importance to bring them up to that standard,” he added.
According to Henk, Namibia has the talent and dedication amongst its players to compete in SA and internationally with enough exposure.
“Still remembering that first competition in SA three years ago, it was evident that their SA opponents have realised that these two have become a force to be reckoned with and that it only took them three years from the bottom of the ranking order to be counted in when the best go onto the court,” he added.
“It was also great to receive comments, support, congratulations and respect from the local SA coaches for the progress these two players have made and confirming that their players are also starting to measure them up with ours,” he said.
Meanwhile, the next local tournament will be the Club Challenge between Klein Windhoek and Wanderers Squash Club end of this week.

From L to R: Arno Diekmann and Henko Knipe the two squash players who have improved over the years.

Tory backbencher holds another fundraiser at men-only squash club

A Manitoba government backbencher is once again holding a fundraising event at a squash club that doesn't allow women to become member...