The Worlds in Cairo … 2022 … ALREADY??

Framboise Gommendy reports on the opening reception at Club S Allegria

If you are like me, you still cannot believe that two years have passed since the last Squash Function…

It was in March 2020, at BlackBall – my mum was still alive and was about to catch COVID then left to die by the French emergency services because of her old age (93)… Yes, it was during that women’s event at Black Ball that was heard the news that the PSA Tour was closing down…

So it was quite fitting that the official start of the post COVID season would be in Egypt… And what a place we were in tonight. The S Club, S for Sodic, of course. What a place…

And the food.. don’t start me on the food. And thanks for the superb fruit cocktails – I actually had two and hope I can get to try all of them this week IsA!

If you are not Egyptian, you still might have seen the name of Hania El Hammamy‘s squash attire, or on the Sodic Junior Tour on SquashSite, organised by Amir Wagih and his team.

SODIC is an Real Estate company whose CEO loves squash to bits Рreminds me of somebody now, who could that be. So we are extremely grateful to Mr Magued Sherif   for supporting squash for one, and also to bring back to us our Maestro Amr Shabana, CEO of the S Allegra Sporting Club.

He was a bit nervous our Maestro. Because if there is something our Four Time World Champion doesn’t like, it’s being in the limelight. He is one of the most discreet people know, and it took a lot of persuasion from “Mr SODIC” to bring the Quiet Champion back in the Squash Front Line…

But introduced by the Egyptian Chris Rock – I hope he won’t mind the association – Shadi Alfons, Shabs was quickly at ease… We also heard our Big Boss Karim Darwish, the Man in Charge of the event, his third worlds 2014, 2016, and of course, our Sponsor Mr Magued Sherif.

Interesting to notice that I saw Rodney Martin and Mike Way enjoying the SODIC hospitality. Lovely to see the coaches back on the PSA Tour, the players need their input, the crowd loves watching the interaction coach/player, and heck, I need them! Who’d better to teach me what squash is all about???

Nice also to see the likes of Liv and Alan Clyne. The love and complicity between those two is quite surreal, and sort of give me hope that loves actually exists and lasts… Bit like my little Nele Gilis and her World number One of boyfriend, Paul Coll. Let’s not forget Mr Shorbagy senior with the Loveliest of them all, Miss Joelle King – what she sees in him, God only knows…

And how can we not mention Farida Farag, the real star of the show, that was smiling her way to all our hearts. Ali, Nour, God bless you. Seriously. You are creating a precedent that will be difficult to reproduce… And Nour, having you back is such an incredible story, adventure, exploit… Mabrouk Habebty.

So here we are. Another World Championship. In Cairo. Where it should be. Because let’s not forget now that COVID could be a bad memory, that without the likes of the Egyptian Sponsors and promoters, well, our sport would have not survived. Some people love to criticise and never take the time to appreciate what’s offered to them. Let’s not be one of them.

In those trouble times when we hear we might soon find a nuclear bomb on our doorstep, I feel honoured, and blessed to be part of such a community of passionate individuals, doing what I love doing, mingling amongst people I respect, admire and love – well for most of them. “Work as it it was your last event” has always been my moto.

And I could tell you who is going to win the titles, but then, I would have to kill you…