Al-Ahram Weekly Online   9 - 15 August 2007
Issue No. 857
Published in Cairo by AL-AHRAM established in 1875

Raneem's double

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El-Weleily (right) is the champion

EGYPT's Raneem El-Weleily successfully defended her title in Monday's final of the Hoe Hin White Flower Ointment World Junior Women's Squash Championship in Hong Kong to become only the second woman in history to win the prestigious World Squash Federation title twice.

But Alexandria's 18-year-old championship favourite had the toughest battle of her campaign -- and conceded her first game of the tournament -- before overpowering France's No2 seed Camille Serme 9-2, 9-4, 5-9, 9-3 in 41 minutes to repeat her maiden title victory in Belgium two years ago.

El-Weleily, following in the distinguished footsteps of Malaysia's reigning world number Nicol David, who won the title in 1999 and 2001, said: "I am very, very glad to win this title again -- I really hoped I'd be the second one to win it twice."

"But it was the most difficult match of the whole week -- the pressure to win this title is unbelievable, nothing I can say but pressure. In the third game, I just lost my concentration and I had to fight really hard to get the fourth," explained the teenager who has already climbed to 23 in the WISPA World Rankings.'

For Serme, the 18-year-old two-times European Junior Champion from Creteil who had extended the Egyptian to five games in the British Junior Open final in England in January, it was bitter disappointment .

The focus now turns to the World Junior Team Championship, in which Egypt has been named as a favourite for the third successive time.

After winning the title for the first time in 2003, Egypt's hopes of a double were dashed by Hong Kong in the 2005 final in Brussels.

"Now we have to move on to the team event," added El-Weleily. "We have a good chance, but we have to really fight for it!"

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