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Qatar 2002

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Report
last updated 26-apr-02 7:33

The Doubles Tin, Qatar
Opening

It’s been a hard few weeks
for the traveling squash professional recently. The schedule has been from
Pakistan to the British Open, followed by the World Doubles Invitation Championships
and now the Qatar Classic in the UAE. Certainly we have all clocked up a significant
amount of airmiles in just a month!

SOFTBALL DOUBLES
Squash ‘softball’ doubles has grown to become a big part of the squash program
for all the Commonwealth countries. There are Gold Medals up for grabs at
the end of July in the Commonwealth Games – the biggest event that Squash
participates in (only the Olympics left to conquer!) – and the countries involved
are trying to find their best pairings for the Men’s, Women’s and mixed events.
It’s a very different game to the singles version though the court is only
3 foot wider.

The men’s event was littered
with immense struggles, matches lasting up to 2 hours for best of 3 games!
It has become a mental game of patience and ‘going for’ safe potential winners!
Always trying to calculate the best shot to play that could be a winner with
the least risk! Ralley’s are lasting beyond 100 shots with great regularity.
Looking at the stats of any of the games that have been studied by Stafford
Murray, our Team England statistician, it becomes clear that the team who
makes the least errors wins@!!

SOFTBALL STRATEGY
The mixed event and the women’s event tend to follow a different pattern,
although mistakes still play a crucial role in who wins the matches. In the
mixed event, generally the woman’s side of the court is attacked with more
frequency than the man’s – looking for quick changes of pace and direction
to catch the woman by surprise and force errors. With the women’s event those
opportunities are sort after on both sides of the court and more dividend
is gained from this form of attack than in the men’s doubles.

Personally I feel that the
tin is too high in all doubles categories, it needs to be lowered even more
in the men’s and mixed game – perhaps as low as 14 inches in the men’s and
16 inches in the mixed!

QATAR OPENING CEREMONY

Opening Ceremony,
Doha, Photo © 2002 Chris Walker

So now we are in Qatar, and
tonight we had the opening ceremony, a feast of different dancers from around
the world including tap dancing, Tango, Samba and Brazilian as well as some
of the top sports people of Qatar gracing the stage before the opening match
began. Even though it’s only 6 months since we were here last the welcome
has been incredible and the enthusiasm and hospitality is second to none.
I would go as far as to say that Qatar is setting new standards for Squash
around the world! The picture shows how a squash court is also a versatile
stage with the dancers impressing the crowd with their own style of foot work!

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