30 teams from 16 countries met in Doha for the tennis experience of their lives at the world class Khalifa Tennis Centre. For the 49 players with ITF rankings this was an opportunity to represent their school and their country, to be part of a team and take part in the cultural events. For the nationally ranked players this may be the highest level of competition they will ever experience, the peak of their tennis career. For all the competitors this was an experience of playing at a professional level. All the matches were umpired and there were also line judges for some of the matches. The Officiating Team, led by Dr Ashraf Hamouda was outstanding, 40 umpires from around the world working together for the players and the competition. On every court there was chilled water and a plate of fruit and chocolate for the players.
Please check results here. More pictures of the event can be found here.
The competition was intense but friendly. Teams supported their own side, and mixed informally round the courts, at the Food Village and during the cultural events. The Nations Evening was held at the Tennis Centre and each country had a tent for the tourist fair. There was an outdoor stage and screen and we were entertained by dancing and music from around the world. Many teams brought costumes and had spent many hours practising their dances.
The Cultural Visit was to the desert, a totally different experience for the great majority of the players. En route we passed an Oil Refinery and everyone was surprised at the burning chimneys and also at the extent of the sand. At the Qatar Olympic Association Winter Camp players took camel rides, had henna tattoos, sampled traditional food, held a falcon and played informal international basketball and volleyball. They ran up and down the dunes and took selfies of themselves in the desert. A truly memorable visit!
The Championships finished with a Celebration Dinner for everybody round the hotel pool. The lights of the surrounding buildings were reflected in the water. A video of the Championships was played on a big screen and presentations were made to the ISF Delegate, the Technical Commission and the Heads of Delegation. This was followed by an extensive buffet meal under the stars. The whole experience was magical.
Thank you Qatar for a great Championships, a fascinating Cultural Visit and your warm welcome in Doha.
The next ISF Tennis WSC 2017 will take place in Brazil.
by Pam Burrage