Kuwaiti Essa Qabazard brings his A-game for gold medal victory stroll in tennis men’s singles


Kuwait City, Kuwait, May 26, 2022: Kuwaiti Essa Qabazard brought his A-game to win the tennis men’s singles gold medal at the Gulf Games much to the delight of the home fans on Thursday, May 26.

Qabazard put on a sterling display to defeat Saudi Arabia’s Ammar Al-Hogbani 6-3, 6-1 at the Sheikh Jaber Al Abdullah International Tennis complex in the men's singles final.

The bronze medal was won by Saud Al Hogbani of Saudi Arabia who beat Qatar’s Rashed Nawaf 6-4, 6-1.

“Essa was on his game today,” extolled Kuwaiti national coach Karim Aquichaoui. “It is one of the best I have seen him play in this tournament. His serving was brilliant and he maintained pressure on his opponent right along.”

Qabazard is just a tiny dot in the bigger ATP canvas with a singles ranking in the 2000s. But on Thursday he strode like a colossus on centre court in front of a cheering home crowd and was a deserved winner in the 32-man draw singles tournament.

“This is an exciting result and hopefully it will inspire more youngsters to take up tennis. The Kuwait Tennis Federation has invested a lot in their senior and junior national programmes and this is a rich dividend winning the gold at the Gulf Games,” said coach Aquichaoui, who hails from Bournemouth, England.

“My dad is Tunisian,” laughed Aquichaoui. “I came to Kuwait two years ago to join the tennis academy here and to develop the game. This victory can be the start of something good for tennis in Kuwait.”

Kuwait was relegated to Group Four in the Asia-Oceania Zone in Davis Cup last year, and the target is to climb back to Group Three.

Qabazard’s performance will instill confidence in the national team.

With some superb passing shots, both cross court and down the line, Qabazard caught his Saudi opponent napping at the net as he took control of the final. The 20-year-old Kuwaiti consummately broke his opponent twice in each set to run out a comfortable winner finishing the match off with a delicious drop volley.

“We will start him playing in ITF Futures in the summer. If he can play like he did today, I think he can make a lot of progress. This victory will do his confidence a world of good,” added Aquichaoui.