Sunday,22 July, 2018
Current issue | Issue 1242, (16-22 April 2015)
Sunday,22 July, 2018
Issue 1242, (16-22 April 2015)

Ahram Weekly

Egypt to the end

Egypt’s Rami Ashour wins the El-Gouna International Squash Open, reports Ghada Abdel-Kader

Minister Abdel-Aziz
Minister Abdel-Aziz
Al-Ahram Weekly

Egyptian superstar Rami Ashour beat fellow countrymen, the world’s No 1 Mohamed Al-Shorbagi, 11-9, 11-6, 4-11, 10-12, 12-10 in a mouth-watering final of the El-Gouna International Squash Open.

The championship, from 2-10 April in El-Gouna, Hurghada, had total money prize worth $115,000. Fifty-six players from 22 countries competed in the event which is part of the Professional Squash Association (PSA) World Series, considered one of the seven top men’s professional squash competitions in terms of the prize money and number of points given to players for their PSA world ranking.

According to the PSA world rankings of March 2015, the best five players in the top 10 were Egyptian: Al-Shorbagi, Amr Shabana, Ashour, Tarek Mo’men and Omar Mosaad.

Although Al-Shorbagi led 10-6 in the fifth game, having saved two match balls for himself, Ashour, world No 4, fought back to snatch the title in the open air venue at the Red Sea.

“Thank God I won the championship for the third time in a row. I’d like to thank everyone who encouraged and stood beside me in my hard times,” Ashour said on his official Facebook page.

The 27-year-old won El-Gouna four times – 2012, 2014 and 2015, and was runner-up in 2010.

The championship was not held in 2011 and 2013.

The last time Ashour and Al-Shorbagi met was in the 2014 World Championship in Doha, Qatar. Ashour won, defeating the 24-year-old 13-11, 7-11, 5-11, 11-5, 14-12 in the final. Ashour has not competed on the tour since 2014 in December.

“I am playing my second tournament in the season and my first match after four months out of competition after knee surgery and my World Open win. I don’t want to let down anyone who helped and supported me through my last tough period, and not let down anyone who believes in me. That’s why I will do my very best and if it’s not enough I will do a little more,” added Ashour.

En route to the final, Al-Shorbagi defeated England’s World No 3 Nick Mathew 6-11, 6-3 in the semi-final. Ashour beat France world No 3 Nick Matthew 7-11, 11-9, 11-9, 11-9 in 64 minutes.

In the quarter-final, Al-Shorbagi defeated England’s world No 8 Peter Barker 3-0 (11-7, 11-8, 11-9) in 54 minutes. Ashour beat England’s James Willstrop 3-1 (11-7, 14-12, 9-11, 11-4) in 56 minutes.
In round two, Al-Shorbagi beat compatriot Mazen Hesham 8-11,11-5,11-6,11-6 in 45 minutes, while Ashour defeated Egyptian Fares Dessouki 6-11,11-8,11-7,11-8 in 59 minutes.

In round one, Al-Shorbagi beat Ali Farag 11-9, 13-11, 11-5 in 44 minutes. Ashour beat Egyptian Marwan Al-Shorbagi 10-12, 11-8, 11-6, 11-6 in 50 minutes.

Minister of Youth and Sports Khaled Abdel-Aziz attended the first round, semi-final and final to support the Egyptian players.

Other officials at the final and closing ceremony were Minister of Investment Ahmed Salman, Red Sea Governor Ahmed Abdullah and businessman Samih Sawiris. Abdel-Aziz congratulated Ashour and Al-Shorbagi for their outstanding performance, then presented their trophies.

Abdel-Aziz stressed the importance of the El-Gouna Championship which he said had technical and political dimensions besides the sport aspect. He also praised the patriotic song presented by Egyptian singers Mahmoud Al-Esseili and Bushra in the closing ceremony.

Abdel-Aziz added that Egypt needs to host more international sporting events in various sports to affirm the country’s stability and its “large capabilities and potential” to organise these events, pointing to the big role that sports can play in promoting tourism.

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