|A pretty busy
time - already…
As a few of you know already, I have been spending a little time in
Cairo for the past two years, and so I was already settled in my
flatshare in Zamalek for a few days when I made my way to the tournament
hotel Westin – about more than an hour drive.
It was not that simple an affair as my driver – normally extremely
reliable – never showed up, having had had a car crash minutes before
my pickup! Improvisation is not exactly my forte, so I eventually
arrived in the hotel at nearly midnight.
Westin Hotel is new, it opened in September 2016, and it has got
a “Gouna feel” to it I find. I mean, you don't feel you are in Cairo,
it's a bit like being on holidays in Sharm or Gouna, it’s a lovely
resort, with heated pools, spa, and a stunning golf course – the players
who appreciated golf mentioned how impressed they were with it!
It just happened that by a complete mystery, I was given a room that
shouldn’t have been opened to guests. There were a few things not that
pleasant in it and I didn’t exactly spend a restful night!
this morning, as soon as the General Manager Eben Nel heard that I was not
exactly impressed so far for the facility offered to me, the whole hotel
staff just couldn’t do enough! Within minutes – and I mean minutes – I
was proposed 6 different rooms by the Director of Rooms division
Wassim Wasfi, I chose the one with no vis-à-vis, giving on the golf
course, very bright, peaceful and spacious.
even got a lovely little gift from the General Manager – bless him and
his wonderful staff – exquisite massage oil, soap and bath salt. Tis a
tough life but…
After a sumptuous breakfast that seemed to confuse Pistol Pilley who
commented “so many choices, where to start, Fram, where to start” –
seriously the breakfast is great and the restaurant is superb, directly
giving onto the swimming pools, we – Cubs and myself – made our way
to the Black Ball venue.
Blackball Sport Club
ever, when Ashraf Hanafi organises an event, he has got the
Egyptian Flair and Passion and the German efficiency – he spent years in
that country before coming back to Egypt.
I had met him in October 2013 - merci Ramy Ashour - when nobody
wanted to come to Egypt right after the ousting of Morsi in June.
During my last visit here in Black Ball six weeks ago,
I did a little
interview of him, where you might learn a few things about this
amazing character who basically coached everybody, built everything and
has organised quite a lot too!
to say that the event is running smoothly, from pick up to rooms for the
players, the installation for SquashTV, the shuttles, it’s all going
perfectly. With the complete and amazing support of Mohamed Raef
the General Manager of Black Ball, and seconded by a strong team Amr
Khalifa, former World Junior Champ now working for Black Ball, the
lovely Aya Youssef, and also Hussein and Nourhanne, Ashraf
is going to be able to offer the World of Squash with I feel a memorable
“I hope that when you finish your careers” he said in the opening
ceremony “you will have good memories of the events you played in,
and I hope that Black Ball Open will be one of them”. Inshallah, Amen
Of course, I knew Black Ball well for having covered several local
tournaments here, but for most of the players/officials, it was their
first visit, and the general feeling is that it’s an amazing venue.
And it is.
After looking around, checking where we were going to be working from –
Ahmed the IT manager got Steve and I a special router, and the Media
room is spacious and airy, on the ground floor where the glasscourt is
situated, perfect for my bad knees!
View from my room by night
Welcome BlackBall Style