Hyderabad, INDIA – Malaysia's Nicol David fought back from a game down to beat Australia's defending champion and World Number 4 Rachael Grinham to win the Qatar Airways Squash Challenge in the southern Indian city of Hyderabad.
In a gripping Final that lasted just over an hour, David beat the Australian 4/9, 9/5, 9/0, 9/0.
The world’s leading female squash players had descended on Hyderabad for the Qatar Airways Squash Challenge, the third biggest event on the WISPA (Women’s International Squash Players’ Association) World Tour with total prize money worth US$80,000.
The Final was staged on a revolutionary glass-floored glass showcourt erected in front of the Falaknuma Palace, an historic building set on a hill overlooking India's fifth largest metropolis of Hyderabad. For the third year running, the event has been held under the auspices of Qatar Airways. In 2004 and 2005, the event was staged in Qatar, but for the first time it was moved to India. This year’s event attracted 40 competitors from 16 countries. The Finals of the Qatar Airways Challenge were shown on TV across India and rest of the world.
Nicol David, 22, from the Malaysian state of Penang, repeated her victory over rival Grinham in last December’s World Open Final in Hong Kong.
After clinching the Qatar Airways Challenge Trophy – her 11th WISPA Tour title – David said: “The scoreline makes it look as if the last two games were one-sided, but it was much harder than that. I have had a great tournament and enjoyed the wonderful hospitality of the people of Hyderabad and Qatar Airways.”
Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker offered his congratulations to David for a spirited, winning performance.
“The Qatar Airways Squash Challenge brought together many of the world’s leading female squash players and Qatar Airways is privileged to have once again supported wonderful talent for this leg of the WISPA World Tour,” he said.
“Congratulations go to Nicol David for taking the winning trophy and showing dedication and enthusiasm in a sport that is gaining recognition and excellent reputation around the world. Qatar Airways was delighted to fly many of the players from around the world to Hyderabad for this tournament and I hoped they enjoyed our Five Star hospitality on their entire journey.”
Added Al Baker: “I congratulate the organisers of the WISPA tournament and the Squash Rackets Federation of India for making the event a huge success.
“I now look forward to welcoming many of the players to Doha at the end of the year when Qatar hosts the 15th Asian Games, which promises to be the biggest and best ever Games.”
Doha-based Qatar Airways will operate a fleet of 110 aircraft by 2013 – almost double the existing size. Qatar Airways has ordered 80 Airbus A350s, 60 Boeing 787s and 32 Boeing 777s, with deliveries of the latter having started in November 2007. The airline is a launch customer of the twin-deck Airbus A380 ‘super jumbos’ with five aircraft on order and scheduled for delivery from 2010. Qatar Airways moves to the New Doha International Airport in 2010, when the first phase of the new facility opens. For more information, visit www.ndiaproject.com
Qatar Airways is one of only six airlines in the world with a Five Star ranking for service and excellence awarded by Skytrax, the independent aviation industry monitoring agency. Skytrax also named Qatar Airways’ cabin crew as Best in the Middle East for the fifth year running in 2007 following a survey of more than 15 million passengers worldwide. For more information, log onto www.qatarairways.com
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