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World Bridge Championships Players Escape Marrakech Earthquake

Australian Bridge Federation 2 mins read
Julian and Jenna trying to sleep in middle of roundabout in Marrakech after the earthquake. Julian is on the left and Jenna in the foreground. Other photos available.

World Bridge Championships Players Escape Marrakech Earthquake

Australian and New Zealand bridge players were caught in the Marrakech earthquake less that a week after the World Bridge Championships with teams from 24 countries were held in Marrakech.

Julian Foster from Australia and his partner Jenna Gibbons from New Zealand were in their hotel room in Marrakech when the earthquake hit and had to escape outside and sleep in the middle of a traffic roundabout.

Many Australian players and officials had been in Marrakech to compete in the World Championships and had visited the old town where much of the damage occurred and as tourists in the Atlas mountains at the epicentre of the earthquake.

I was there also broadcasting commentary of the championships for BridgeTV in Australia and the previous week had visited the Ourika Valley in the Atlas Mountains where many lives were lost or are yet to be found.

The President of the ABF says “The Australian Bridge Federation sends its thoughts and support to the Fédération Royale Marocaine de Bridge and all of the Moroccan people, following the devastating earthquake.  On my recent trip, one of the things I observed is how polite, friendly and helpful Moroccan people are.  I send condolences to the families of those who lost their loved ones and wish a full recovery to the injured.”


World Bridge Championships have a close relationship with disasters.

  • The 44th World Bridge Championships were held in Wuhan, China in September 2019 and Covid-19 was discovered in the following month reputedly in the wet markets in Wuhan close to their hotel.
  • After a year off the postponed 45th World Bridge Championships were held in Salsomaggiore, Italy in March/April 2022 and the last week had to be cancelled because of an outbreak of Covid in the players and officials.
  • The next World Bridge series were held in Wroclaw, Poland in August 2022 after Russia invaded neighbour Ukraine in February 2022.
  • Now in 2023 the 46th World Championships in Marrakech concluded less than a week before the earthquake whilst some players and officials were still holidaying in Marrakech.

Representing your country in Bridge can be a dangerous sport. Australia had four 6 person teams in the Open, Women’s, Seniors and Mixed divisions each with a non-playing captain and an overall Chef de Mission, Allison Stralow.

Julian and Jenna will be back tonight in Sydney late Tuesday night September 12, 2023

  • END       -

If you would like any further information please CONTACT:

ABF President                    Allison Stralow (Perth)   0403 153 823

Talent                                  Julian Foster                    0414 493 143

Communications              Peter Cox                          0413 676 326

The Australian Bridge Federation is the peak body for the administration of Bridge in Australia and is an affiliate of the World Bridge Federation. It is a non-profit organisation and its headquarters are located in Canberra.  The ABF has a membership of approximately 33,000 and there are nearly 350 affiliated bridge clubs throughout Australia.


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