EN BREF #2: The reasons of success
#1: Bumpy to Dusit smooth
Everything you never knew you
needed to know about the Wadi Degla World Champs ...
LE MOT DE LA FIN
A long, intense but terribly successful event… I’m not going to
pretend this event has been a bundle of laughs from beginning to
It would be ridiculous and nobody would believe it.
When you have two rounds of qualifying, four matches at the time,
followed by 31 matches in one day (only 31 as Tom Richards
forfeited, ill), four matches at a time, and five at 6pm,
followed by another event – a $50k women's – starting as you are
starting to hope things are going to calm down - one is bound to
feel like closing the laptop, leaving the bags behind and throw
oneself in the Nile to forget it all.
That happened a few times in the first part of the event....
So easy, it was not. But successful, highly and definitely
successful, it was.
REASONS OF A SUCCESS...
was un “coup de maître” I would say from the organising team –
as in Wadi Degla Mister Big Mr Hassan El Mistikawy,
supported by the Minister of Sports, Mr Khaled Abdel Aziz,
and the W.D. Famous Pair Karim Darwish and Ahmad Bassam –
to choose that Wadi Degla Club in New Cairo, along with
the Hotel Dusit. Why?
Because they took out one of the major troubles in Cairo, the
Situated next to the Airport, New Cairo, a new area of Cairo
officially called a town in 1989, is free from traffic. You may
have a bit of slowing down here and there at rush hour, but it
nothing, absolutely nothing compared to the normal Cairo Traffic
which is absolutely horrendous.
Other reason of the success. by far in my opinion,
the best hotel squash ever provided in Egypt. Like I
said in my previous en bref, I’m in love with the place, and
could have stayed it forever with nooooo trouble.
The Shuttle Service
Excellent service, perfectly on time, well run, with always a
second bus ready in case the first one was full. Every forty-five minutes at the start of the event, when we had plenty of
players/officials, then once per hour.
For the return late at night, same. Never had to take a taxi or
a Uber the whole time. Perfectly run, and extremely helfpul.
The Club's Traditional Courts
we did the Women’s worlds in
Wadi Degla Maadi, the first ever Wadi Degla built in
2002, this time round, we were in a club called El Nakheel,
built in 2007, at about 20m tops from the Hotel. Which for Cairo
The club has 8 courts, 7 in a line – that’s the ones we used
during the event, and one on its own, the Doubles court, that was
used as a Players’ Lounge, warm up stretching area.
In my humble opinion, the way the courts were aligned, and the
extremely convenient seating throughout the club is a huuuuuuge
part of the feasibility/success of the event in the first part
of the tournament.
It was easy for us media to go from one court to the next,
without disturbing play or spectators. The Refs were not too far
away from the courts and in good position height wise. The
players had plenty of space before the matches, during the games
to chat with their coaches as there was always one court between
the court in use.
Clever, and practical.
This is again a big part of an event success or failure. Every
day, in the press room, we had hot water, tea and coffee
available. Ahmed gave me an open bill to the CornerShop next
door – and it’s not a figure of speech, it was next door – for
little snacks/soft drinks and for the officials/media, we had
food vouchers to the buffet about 20m away. Convenient for sure,
It makes such a huge difference for the people that actually
work for the event.
Mohamed bringing the food into the PressRoom for us...
We didn’t have much
time to wander around the premises but I managed to have a
little hour, just walking around the place, the football ground,
then up the stairs, with a huge swimming pool, lovely gardens, a
lovely little pound – like in Wadi Degla Maadi – with a little
bridge over it, plenty of places to sit with little drinks/food
outlets everywhere, with waiters always ready to come and
deliver food/drinks to you.
From real food – grilled meat and pizzas – to snacks or candy
floss, popcorn, real fruit juice, you can get anything at any
the kids, plenty of activities, I saw Judo and Taekwondo outfits,
ballet, gym, squash, tennis, that’s just what I saw! And also a
little cinema in 3D for them, with special films for their
entertainment! Not to mention plenty of shops – I was able to
recharge my Orange Wifi connection for example – clothes, sports
gear, ATM… And I didn’t get the chance to get to the main
So much to see. Next time inshallah.
Yes, there was plenty of that. We had our bags searched, again
and again, metal detectors at every corner, police escort with
the shuttles. Heavy police presence on the premises. I know it
makes the players/official feel secure. If that make them feel
good, that’s nice.
May I just say that in the past two years, my compatriots in
France have been gunned down at a football match, in a concert,
at different terraces of café, in a newspaper meeting room, and
at a grocery shop round the corner.
Here in Egypt? Not that much. Life as usual.
The only thing I will keep on saying on the subject is "I’m
blond, I’m a Christian, I’m French, I’m a woman, and I am safe
in Cairo." Nuff said.
Organisation at The Glasscourt
The Tournament Staff was superb. We had about 20 security/order
people at the gate/courts that made sure only the authorised
people could go in the protected areas, and about 30 young
helpers making sure that the crowd were sitting in the correct
areas, not moving during play, that the kids were not making too
much noise or nuisance for the players/crowd – they are
sometimes a bit enthusiastic bless them, we love them to bits –
that nobody would use mobile phones, and would chase flashlights
That was the first time ever I saw a chain of people making sure
that nobody, and I mean NOBODY would use flashes. And that made
again a huge difference.
There were no proper seats, just big stairs like seating areas,
and at first sight, I thought it could be a problem. But it
wasn’t. A few stickers at the right place for coaches, and
media. And for the rest, everybody seemed to find a place.
They initially thought there was space for 900 people, but somehow, 2,000
people managed to find a spot on finals night.
How they managed to get in as it was all sold out is another
matter … what’s important is that it was full.
What was priceless for us, was the location of our work table at
the glass. We were literally seconds from the glass, and just
in front of the SquashTV screen - a fact I wasn't aware of when I
chose the location, as it was before it was installed.
It allowed me to write the quotes/reports during the first game
of the following match, without missing too much of the action,
and then rush back to my spot again, not disturbing anybody, no
stairs to climb - the 4th surgery on the knees didn't work,
thanks for asking...
Which leads me to the next point of
success. The crowd.
years ago, the Egyptian crowd was feared by foreign players, as
there are reported incidents of not pleasant attitude, this has
now stopped. The Egyptian Crowd is, I’m not afraid to say, the
best in the world.
They are extremely
knowledgeable, from the young kids to the basic spectator, they
recognise their stroke from their no lets, and can spot a block
or a fake injury in a flash.
They appreciate a good shot from
a player, whatever country he is from, and if they support their
men/women, they are always fair and respect the foreign player.
And they are vocal! Which is nice, as there is nothing worse
than a silent crowd.
From the first day to the last, we had a lot of people,
atmosphere was great from Day One on the glass – it was very
lively too on the traditional courts from the first day of the
qualifying – and again, for the players, that’s huge.
They are performers. They are gladiators. They kill themselves
for us, every time they get on court. And it’s immense for them
to fight for an audience, not just for ranking points or pride...
From a personal point of you,
the collaboration between SquashSite
– who were running the official website – and PSA press
office has been perfect once again, and creates a win win
situation, with all parts getting the best coverage possible for
such a huge event. Couldn’t have done it with Nathan Clarke
and Sean Reuthe. Merci à vous deux.
Needless to say that Steve Cubbins did wonders, as
ever. His tweeting magic, his photos and his relentless work did
the trick and make our coverage that much more special - sorry for
blowing our own horn...
ever, what would we have done without
kept switching between the hotel and the glasscourt, helpful and efficient, not to
mention adorable or Mohamed Elshrkawy from the Rotary,
who kept finding solutions to every problem that was thrown at
him, and with a smile, if you please.
Wadi Degla social media marketing team was very
enthusiastic, and brought their squash passion to the mix, and I
particularly appreciated the help, support, smile and kindness
of Fadi Raouf. A new friend in the making
But the event was run “de main de maître” by Karim Darwish
– the Biiiiiiiig Boss.
Didn’t see much of him as he was
constantly solicited by dozens of people every minute of the
who sorted out everything, all the time, and with a smile.
So, there you have it. The reasons of success. This event was a
smash hit. Can’t wait for Karim’s team to organise another
This is the Frog, signing off… Next stop, Qatar…