I play two sports – neither of them particularly well. I love my golf – but struggle to get the handicap down much, I’m too inconsistent. But I also still play squash – which is my sport of choice. I play at the Nottingham Park Squash Rackets Club.
On Sunday night I witnessed a match the like of which I don’t think I have ever seen at the squash club.
It was the final of the Mantis Fantasy Squash Tournament – and $5,000 prize money was a stake.
Bu the night started with an exhibition match with some of the Club’s young talented players – competing for a prize pot of £50 – they played some times matches – frantically trying snatch as many points as they could! It was great fun to watch – and Lewis Walters took home the prize monies – finishing the match with a ‘popped’ ball – which the referee refused to let the players change!
But the big game was an Egyptian affair – Zahed Mohammed (word ranked 106) took on Karim Ali Fathi (WR =78). As it turned out the match lasted around two hours! The rules are that every point scores – so the rallies are supposed to be shorter – but this match went to the wire. It was best of five and the higher ranked Fathi won in the end, but by no more than a whisker.
The quality of the squash was world class – aggressive, fast, skilful and energy sapping!
Nottingham is very lucky to have this squash facility – and these sort of events are well supported by club members. But you couldn’t help but wonder how we can widen participation in this sport. It was criminal, in my view, that squash didn’t make the Olympics for 2016. It is being considered for inclusion in the 202 games – and a decision is expected on that in October this year.
The players we saw on Sunday night are the epitome of true sportsmen – their fitness levels I would suggest are on a par with any swimmer or cyclist… And Forbes magazine voted the game the ‘Healthiest Sport”…