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Padel attracts Kuwait youth amid pandemic

KUWAIT: A photo showing a general view of a padel playground in Kuwait. —KUNA

KUWAIT: Young people in Kuwait have become growingly interested in the padel sport amid the ramifications of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic worldwide, mainly health restrictions and precautions. Padel is a racquet sport that combines between tennis and squash. Padel is typically played in doubles in an enclosed court that is smaller than the size of a tennis court.

Padel is essentially different from tennis and squash in view of rules and the way of playing. Scoring is the same as normal tennis and the balls used are similar but with a little less pressure. This sport emerged in Mexico in the late 1960s. It then found its way to Spain. In 2014, this sport reached Arab countries, mainly Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Qatar, Egypt and Bahrain. It found its way to Kuwait in late 2019.

KUWAIT: Players compete in a padel match during a tournament sponsored by KFH.

Padel sport, which is easy for people of all ages to play, requires physical flexibility in spite of the small size of the court. In fact, it has become common among young people in the Gulf countries. The Kuwait Olympic Committee recognized padel as a fresh sport in the country last May, and then decided to form a padel committee. Speaking to the press, the committee’s Deputy Chairman Yusuf Al-Sultan said he began to like padel so much when he was on holiday in Spain where the sport was so common. This sport has become wide-spread over the last couple of years, he said, adding that padel courts have been created in Kuwait to allow young people to freely play this sport.

Alaa Al-Awadhi said that she began to play this racquet sport two years ago, believing that it is easy to play padel since its rules are different from the ones used in tennis and that people of all ages can practice it. As relevant equipment and tools were unfortunately unavailable at the local market at the beginning, players had to make online orders from other countries, she remembered. “But, now everything is available,” she said.

Bader Tifoni said meanwhile that padel has become so common in Kuwait amid the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic since physical distancing is essentially involved. Sports shops in Kuwait have now special corners for padel equipment, showing that young Kuwaitis have become increasingly interested in this sport. —KUNA

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