Qatar makes history; first host nation to lose opening game

The 2022 FIFA World Cup is no short of news. After making the controversial decision to have no alcohol in the eight World Cup stadiums, the country has attached its name to an unwanted record.

Qatar, the host nation, become the first country to lose its opening game at the World Cup. Enner Valencia’s two goals in the first 30 minutes of the game became the ultimate difference as Ecuador beat the hosts Qatar 2-0 in the tournament opener at the iconic Al Bayt Stadium.

 

“I would say we felt bad [for our supporters],” Qatar coach Felix Sanchez said. “I hope in the next game they will be prouder.”

Besides, Qatar was also in the line to have another foot-in-the-mouth moment. Ecuador striker Michael Estrada scored within the first 3 minutes of normal time. But the goal was cancelled as VAR called the goal “offside”.

The night started with more than 67,000 mostly Qatari fans filling the beautiful Al Bayt Stadium, enjoying an opening ceremony that showcased the tiny Arab emirate to a global audience 12 years after winning the right to host football’s biggest event. The night witnessed many high-profile celebrities in attendance including Morgan Freeman, FIFA president Gianni Infantino, Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and K-pop boyband BTS’ singer Jungkook performing his song “Dreamer”.

How to select a Squash Racket

If you are new in the field and want to know what is squash, then we have made the job easier for you as it is a game that two or four players play in a court covered with four walls with a hollow rubber ball. Those who are into the game of squash will be keen to know which rackets are suitable for them to increase the quality of the game. Let’s look more into the details so that you know which racket fits you by the end of the article. Squash Racket Shape 

When deciding on a squash racket, it is essential to keep in mind its shape. Four kinds of shapes are usually found in squash, and that is: 

  1. Elongated teardrop 
  2. Teardrop 
  3. Oval 
  4. Square head 

These 4 have special abilities that can be observed by the player when they use different shapes of rackets. The teardrop ones are known to have more power in them than compared to the square-head racket. The Square-head is recognized for its control. 

Next comes the throat of these rackets that are important in the game. They are divided into two categories: Closed throat squash rackets and open-throat squash rackets. The main difference between the two is that the open throat has more power as the strings are longer. In the closed-throat ones, the main is shorter, giving the player more command of their racket. 

Squash racket balance 

There are three kinds of balance in squash rackets, and they are categorized as Head heavy, Even, and Headlight. 

Head heavy: As the name suggests, this is on the heavier side because most of its weight is on the frame of the racket. The plus point in this situation is that more power is given by head-heavy ones, which also aids in better control and handling. One can experience their swings being excellent with this kind of. 

Even: This is between the two others, which gives perfect balance, and here the weight is more on the throat at the bottom of the strings. This is a better option for those who are confused with the other rackets. 

Headlight: This racket is focused on speed which is why being light in weights plays a major role here. It is suggested that those who have a slow game can go for this racket that consists of serves or drops. You can change the direction of your shot with the help of your wrist, which is why it is also called a wristy swing. 

How to know about the balance?

You can check the balance of the racket by using these techniques. 

  • If you put the racket on your palm, the weight can be judged according to the place it is leaning. If the racket is leaning in one direction and is balanced in the other, then it means that you have got your answer. For head heavy, the balance is more towards the higher angle. For even, it is around the base where the strings are located, and for the last one, i.e., the headlight, the balance is usually seen either in the handle or the grip. 
  • Internet sites have made life much easier, which is why it has become an efficient job to check the balance of your racket if you are online shopping. Head-heavy rackets have a balance between 350-380mm. Even rackets are known to have their balance at 340mm. In the case of headlight rackets, it ranges below 340 up to 320 mm. 

Squash racket weight 

The weight of the racket can usually vary between 110 and 140 grams. One thing that needs to be noted is that this weight does not include the string and the grip. These rackets are divided into four categories according to their weight. 

Heavy: These weigh above 140 grams. This is great for players who want more power and are fond of hard-hitting shots, as they can see the racket doing wonders with it. It can be a task to bear the weight of this after a point which is why this is used only sometimes by the players. 

Mid-weight: This ranges between 130-140 grams. It is popular amongst intermediate players as it is not leaning on any extreme sides of the weight. If someone is looking for accuracy in their shots, then these kinds of rackets are a suitable option as they give stability when it comes to playing shots. 

Light racket: This has become a successful racket in today’s world, as most players lean towards it. The weight varies from 120-130 grams, and the advantage that is seen in these rackets is that it is great for manoeuvring. Power is guaranteed by light rackets, which makes it more attractive. It is necessary to remember that light rackets are sometimes the best choice, and one should not buy them thinking that they perform the best as it has their own set of drawbacks. 

Ultra-light: Squash rackets that weigh under 120 grams are categorized under this section. This is best in making the other opponent nervous, as speed is a speciality of ultralight. A few disadvantages that it has is control and power are not in its favour. Those who are good at the game can use these. 

Squash racket beam 

When we say racket beam in simple words, it means how thick the frame of the racket is. How wide the racket is from the side is considered under this aspect. Here, there are three measurements. Let’s look at them in detail for better understanding.

Wider beam: Those who are beginners in this field are seen with this kind of racket. This has the advantage of being more powerful as the frame consists of an additional material which makes it wide in size. The measurements are seen as 20-21mm. 

Average beam: This is the most common one which is utilized by players. It ranges from 18-19. This is one of the safest options to go for, which is the reason for its popularity. 

Narrow beam: The measurement is taken in mm. Wide beams are usually between 16-17mm. The positives that this gives are that it has more flexibility than compared to the others and good manoeuvring and this kind is seen being used by those players who have an ample amount of experience in the game of squash. 

What are some useful recommendations? 

Those who specifically want a few suggestions in rackets can read further to know what experts suggest for various degrees of players. 

NIVIA Attack-Ti Squash Racquet 

This racket is made up of steel, and the material that is used is of high grade. The strength of this is that it is lightweight and durable, which gives a noticeable performance. If you are a beginner in the game and want something comfortable, this can be a great option to go for. 

Cosco LST 125 Aluminium Squash Racquet 

Players have experienced a strong grip with this racket, and the weight of it is around 0.75 pounds which makes it another brilliant choice for beginners. Those who are above 12+ can definitely go for it, as it has an anti-slip feature that makes it efficient for newcomers to handle the racket well. 

Tecnifibre Carboflex X-Top 125 

The pro player Mohamed El Shorbagy used this; this racket has multiple features, which is why it makes it to the top of the list. The price is high compared to the others. It gives a great balance when it comes to the essential aspect of squash: power and control. It is recommended for expert players, and this was released in the year 2021. 

Prince Airstick 130 

This is the classic choice that Ramy Ashour used. It weighs around 130 grams, and it was released a few years back, but the experts believe that this racket can still perform excellently. It is known for its good power and maneuver, which will make your opponent sweat. The material used in his racket is graphite, which aids with giving an edge for some powerful action in the court. 

Head Nano Ti 110

This budget-friendly racket will fit into your spending and also give you the feel of a good game. If you are just getting to know squash, then it is better not to go for something which will be too expensive, as when your game improves, that will be the right time to go for it. For now, this option is the best as it gives all the brilliant features. The weight of this racket is around 149 grams, and this has been recommended strongly as a good racket, to begin with. 

Conclusion: 

It is always a clever step to buy such types of equipment with a proper set of knowledge about how other factors affect performance. Take a view at the specifications to get an idea of what will be the most suitable for you. With this guide, we hope that you get your own racket that will make you stand out from the rest of the players.

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