Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Qatar, WTF?

I watched some of the Qatar Classic currently underway, proudly sponsored by the Ali Bin Ali Group. In truth, some great matches, with perhaps the most memorable being the Selby vs. Willstrop match. Selby has been dominated for years by James Willstrop, but today as fate would have it Willstrop hit a shot up the middle (a shot that seems to be more and more in vogue) that Selby anticipated, and Selby responded by hitting a behind-the-back dropshot to the other corner for a jaw-dropping point-game-match winner: 13/11 in the fifth game. Selby laughed, then looked to the heavens in thanks. 

There were several other great matches, but all that played out in front of a crowd that appeared to number 10. 

No, seriously. Here's a screen shot of the crowd 5 seconds after the conclusion of the Karim Abdel Gawad vs. Tarek Momen match, which Gawad won, 12/10 in the fifth. Another great match, watched by a precious few. 

What is the story here? Despite the support from the Ali Bin Ali Group, is the squash-loving population in Qatar so vanishingly small that they can't muster up a few spectators? It's frankly embarrassing. And I would think old Ali Bin Ali would be rather displeased.


  1. Well, for the final there is a good showing. Not a sellout, there are seats available, particularly on the sides, but there is a good, raucous, engaged crowd. And it was a great match, with Shorbagy triumphant.

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Sorry, but due to increasing spam, I've added the Word Verification step. My policy on comments is anything goes, as long as it is about squash and as long as it isn't unnecessarily nasty....