QATAR AIRLINES GOES TO INDIA
I’m glad to say that the WISPA/Qatar Airlines decision to move the Challenge tournament to India was a great success. This rapidly expanding airline – it will double in size in the next five year – flew all and sundry via Doha to Hyderabad and everything worked perfectly. There is something very special about Middle Eastern hospitality; it is given wholeheartedly and with no strings attached. Unlike one tournament where the promoter never lost a chance to remind me that he was giving me accommodation and food, as though the cost was coming out of his pocket rather than the budget of a very successful corporation.
The preliminary rounds were held at the Secunderabad Club, a wonderful, slightly shabby relic of the British Raj, spread over 22 acres. The three glass-back courts, however, were impeccable because cement-company owner N. Ramanchandran, top dog of both the Asian and Indian SRA’s, insisted that the old court be razed and new ones erected in time for the Qatar Airways Challenge. He donated the cement needed .
From the quarters on, we moved to the Falaknuma Palace, a huge establishment on a hill overlooking the city. This mind-boggling extravagance took ten years to build and was completed in 1893 as the home of Sir Vicar-Ul-Umra, the prime minister of Hyderbad state. It was the last word in opulence (we would now call it ‘excess’) the palace being awash with jade, paintings, statues, silver, stained glass windows, a library that is a copy of the one in Windsor Castle in England and a dining table to seat 101 guests. Why was I not surprised to hear that poor old Sir Vicar went bankrupt?
(If this piques your interest, in two years you can stay there. It is being completely overhauled by the Taj hotel chain who claim it will be the best hotel in India).
PEARLS??? NOT QUITE
I decided I couldn’t go home without buying an example for my beloved and so went into a store, selected something tasteful and bartered the price down from 1500 Rupees to 1000. (About 11 GBP or U$19) The next day by the gates of the Golconda Fort (it has an outer wall that is eight kilometres long) there was a shop selling the same thing for 600 rupees. Martin Bronstein, international sucker.
SO WHAT ABOUT THE SQUASH?
DON’T THINK ABOUT WINNING – YOU’LL
Psychological disaster! From that moment on Duncalf could not do a thing right as she tried a sprint to the finish line using winners and found the tin instead. David won that third game and walked away with the next two to make the final, but she was most distressed with her performance.
Incidentally a major story in a Malaysian newspaper blames the national SRA for David’s drop in form earlier this year. The story claims that David was forced to leave her training base in Amsterdam, where she is coached by Liz Irving, and return to Penang. Six weeks before Hyderabad David returned to Amzsterdam. Result? She won the Qatar Airways Challenge title.
INDIA : RED TAPE CAPITAL OF THE WORLD
At the Secunderbad club, to buy a cup of coffee or sandwich, you first had to buy a credit card. Then, whenever you went to the café or grocery store, the credit card would be produced and your purchase would be keyboarded and a computer printer would produce a bill of sale in duplicate. For a packet of biscuits. Cost about ten cents. Honest.
On the way out of Hyderabad airport, we went through seven checkpoints. Everywhere were officials with stamps, which they thumped with earnest zeal on your documents.
BOOK REVIEW: HOW TO GET RID OF YOUR KIDS
"RAISING BIG SMILING SQUASH KIDS. The Complete Roadmap For Junior Squash." It’s written by Richard Millman and Georgetta Morque and its essential market is the USA. While in Britain and many other squash playing nations squash courts are easily accessible for everybody, regardless of social standing, squash in the USA still has an elite, privileged position – which is why Squashbusters, Squashkids etc were founded, to give the unprivileged a chance to enjoy the game.
I have a lot of respect for Richard Millman; his squash experience both in the UK and USA is vast and you will be hard put to find a better coach anywhere.
When I visited him in Westchester he told me something I have never forgotten.
“Players say that if a shot is on, go for it. Not completely correct. Only go for it if you are prepared to go to the front to cover the counter drop.”
That resonated with me because I play a drop from the back and stand there admiring it while my opponent wins the point with a counter-drop. I think it’s called laziness.
This book contains a mountain of information and covers every possible aspect of junior squash including how not to be a troublesome parent, the psychology of losing and winning, training, squash camps, junior tournaments, hygiene and fund raising to pay for the travel etc. And this being a modern book, any camp, place, organization or destination that is mentioned, its its website or email address is given so that the reader can immediately call up comprehensive information.
Millman spices up the pages with some of his original poems, all of them with an inspirational theme. Hopefully it will not inspire readers to take up poetry.
This a very useful book indeed. Every squash parent should read it from cover to cover; it will stop them making the same awful mistakes that so many well-meaning, but over-loving parents have made in the past.