9:31 pm
20 May 2024

Kuwait Celebrates "Best Ever" Men's World Open Squash Championship

17 Nov 2009

A spectacular firework display, which lit up the skies over Kuwait City, brought to a climax the Kuwait Men's World Open 2009, the richest event ever event in world squash which was hosted by Kuwait for the first time this month.

"I'm really happy about what we have achieved," said Sheikha Fadyah Al-Sabah, Chairperson of the Kuwait Men's World Open 2009 Higher Organising Committee. "I had hopes that it would be good, but it was far beyond this - it was the best ever!"

The premier Professional Squash Association (PSA) World Tour championship, boasting a record $277.500 prize-fund, was held in the memory of His Highness Sheikh Saad Abdullah Al-Sabah The Patriarch Amir, in whose name the trophy was presented.

Players representing 28 countries, more than ever before, battled for supremacy in the 31st staging of the world championship which reached its climax on an all-glass court sited at Kuwait's popular Green Island resort.

An all-Egyptian final between the young defending champion Ramy Ashour and his senior compatriot Amr Shabana - described by one international writer as the 'player of the millennium' - attracted a record crowd of 1,300, more than ever seen before at a squash match in Kuwait.

In a match watched by millions both on TV and via live webcasting, it was Shabana who ultimately prevailed to win his fourth World Open title.

"It's a dream. You don't think about winning four World Open titles - you just dream about it," said the 'Prince of Cairo'. "It will take a month or two for it to sink in."

The official tournament website www.kuwaitworldopen2009.com registered 1,728,858 hits over the period of the championship, the highest registered web traffic for any squash website, as squash enthusiasts around monitored the progress of their idols. The event also attracted more than 30 hours of live national TV coverage.

Furthermore, the event kicked off with a dramatic Opening Ceremony, which encapsulated the story of Kuwait and its historical treasures in an entertaining narrative form.

In an innovation held on the eve-of-final rest day, the event hosted an Official Championship Gala Dinner held in the country's renowned Al Hashemi II, the largest wooden dhow ever built.

The dinner incorporated a special International Squash Awards ceremony, staged to honour the achievements of the sport's greatest players and contributors. Four all-time squash greats from the past - Australians Geoff Hunt and Sarah Fitz-Gerald, New Zealander Susan Devoy, and Pakistan's Jahangir Khan - were inducted as 'Squash Legends'.

Whilst details are to be confirmed, the unrivalled success of the Kuwait Men's World Open 2009 is predicted to be the catalyst for future squash events in a country with aspirations of being the squash capital of the world.