Squash is the most underrated sport there is

It’s so, so intense

Airco Arena Allam British Open El Shorbagy hull Rami Ashour Squash

Recently, I was lucky enough to experience the finals of the Allam British Open Squash Championship in Hull, and it was literally the best sport I’ve seen live – and I’ve been to watch rugby, football and basketball at the highest level.

The whole experience made me realise how undervalued squash is as a sport, and it’s something all sports fans need to take seriously.

For this reason, I’ve recorded my personal experience at the Airco arena for you here.

First Impressions

I sat down in my seat, in the Airco Arena. In front of what was to be a serious glass cage of emotion; never had I been so exhilarated watching a sport in my entire life.

The tension the players and audience created was absolutely incredible.

No other sporting audience remains completely silent throughout gameplay. And you can even hear the sweat dripping on the floor. That’s how intense it was. It was a theatre of suspense and enthralment.

You’ll literally never be bored watching either, as it’s over pretty quickly compared to other sports. These Squash players must be amongst the fittest athletes in the world – seriously – as each set looks exhausting, being allowed only (around) two minute breaks in between.

Fair play to the middle-aged men at your local leisure centres giving it a go – they must be using a pre-workout supplement – check out LeanBulking for more info!

Also, the whole of the Allam British Open takes place within a week, with each stage being played consecutively. So not even one day’s rest for the players until they’re either knocked out or win it.

The crowd favourite, Rami Ashour, warming up before the semi-final against Gregory Gaultier

The crowd favourite, Rami Ashour (left), warming up before the semi-final against Gregory Gaultier (right)

However, it’s the games which last that are the most entertaining; you won’t want them to finish, unlike your failed one-night-stand.

This is exactly how I felt when I was privileged to see Rami Ashour play Gregory Gaultier, an Egyptian and French former world champion respectively, in the semi-finals of the men’s tournament.

The trick shots that Rami executed, complimented by Gregory’s sheer determination and fight (along with a lot of hardcore shouting from the Frenchman, giving me quite the fright), would have turned any doubter into a squash fan.

Multicultural Sport

Additionally, what was interesting to see was how international the competition was.

You wouldn’t see a Malaysian competing against an Egyptian in the World Cup finals of the football or rugby. But in squash, here were the best female players in the world battling for the title. They must have been taking some of the best fat burners for women too!

Here’s also where the feminists can get on board; at the Allam British Open Squash Championship, the female and male tournament prize money is equal.

Also, the women’s tournament is run alongside the men’s, with their games being played immediately before the men’s games.

And yes, the audience takes as much interest in the women’s as the men’s.

Meeting the two Egyptian Finalists of the Women's Squash Final

Meeting the two Egyptian Finalists of the Women’s Squash Final, Nouran Gohar (left) and Nour El Sherbini (right)

Holding the trophy with Mohamed Elshorbagy, absolute gentleman

Holding the trophy with Mohamed El Shorbagy, absolute gentleman

Amazing Sportsmanship

Squash players are obviously focused – potentially with the help of caffeine or rhodiola rosea, which are two ingredients that can boost cognition in 4 Gauge Review – but that doesn’t stop the players from having a bit of a joke with each other.

Even during the most serious games in the semi-finals and finals of the men’s and women’s tournaments, the players would laugh inside the cage of glass emotion. This was extremely refreshing to see. Even in (arguably) the most important games of their careers, these squash players would stay respectful, and Mohamed El Shorbagy even stopped play admitting his shot was out when the referee didn’t call it.

Top professionals: no rolling on the floor pretending to be injured here.

Final Verdict

Unsurprisingly then, it is the squash players who endear themselves to the fans, and therefore the fans to the sport. Admittedly, the semi-final and final of the “Wimbledon of Squash” were my first professional Squash experiences – I’d been to support my friends who play at university level, which is also pretty damn entertaining – but already, the personal interaction that these professionals have with their fans had meant that I already had some favourite male and female squash players.

All in all, squash is definitely a sport worth taking seriously by sports fans. And I admit myself, I didn’t think I’d be writing an article praising the sport this much before witnessing the pure magic that was the Allam British Open Squash Championship. But rest assured, I will now be keeping an eye on my friend (well I think so at least), Mohamed El Shorbagy’s, progress in the sport. So here’s to the sublime sport that is squash, and if you don’t believe me, go and see a tournament for yourself.