Friday,21 September, 2018
Current issue | Issue 1251, (18 - 24 June 2015)
Friday,21 September, 2018
Issue 1251, (18 - 24 June 2015)

Ahram Weekly

Sister act

Egyptians reached the final of the 2015 Alexandria International Squash Open, reports Ameera Fouad from the northern Mediterranean coastal city

Al-Ahram Weekly

World No 2 Raneem Al-Welieli of Egypt beat compatriot Omneya Abdel-Qawi to win the 2015 Alexandria International Squash Open.

Al-Welieli took 35 minutes to down world No 7 Abdel-Qawi 11-6, 11-5, 11-9.

“Very, very happy with this win…well done, Omneya, my sister.” These were the heart-felt words in an awe-inspiring tournament of trophies and triumphs that Al-Welieli told a crammed crowd on Wednesday 10 June.

“I could not have done it without my people, those around me this week, my husband, my family, the coaches Ahmed Farghallah, Bassem Makram and Haitham Effat.

“My thanks goes to my friends after family and the sponsors Wadi Degla, especially Karim Darwish, and Abu Qir Petroleum Company for their continuous support, and last but not least, Harrow Sports Mark Hayden and the entire team,” Al-Welieli told the press.

It was the final where breaths were taken away as Al-Welieli had dispatched her fellow Egyptian Abdel-Qawi in three straight sets claiming the 10th WSA World Tour Squash title in her sports career.

With that incredible success, Al-Welieli now empathically boosted her bid to become the next women’s world number one after reaching her 25th Tour Final at home.

The extraordinary performance by Al-Welieli throughout the tournament made people’s eyes dazzle and kept the audience enthralled. The 26-year-old Alexandrian, who is second in the WSA world rankings, has proved to be excellent in her last finals berths. Claiming the title was not an easy job as she had to beat the British Open champion Camille Serme and former world champion Laura Massaro.

The match, controlled by Al-Welieli, was full of exhilaration and enthusiasm. Rallies were long. Counter-attacks were launched by both sides. The pace was so fast that one could hard keep track of the ball bouncing around.

It is of no surprise that throughout the long squash career of Al-Welieli and Abdel-Qawi, they met 14 times, with Abdel-Qawi winning the first seven and Al-Welieli the next seven. So this was the tie-breaker.

Abdel-Qawi claimed the runner-up title after a stunning victory over world No 1 Nicol David in the semi-finals.

Alexandria International Squash Open was the first of its kind in the city. In a glass court built in the Bibliotheca Alexandrina Plaza, overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, surrounded by Alex’s bountiful crowds and squash fans, the Alexandrian dream came true.

The tournament boasted the world’s best: David (Malaysia), Abdel-Qawi, Al-Welieli, Camille Serme (France), Massaro (England), Nour Al-Tayeb (Egypt), Habiba Mohamed (Egypt), Alison Walters (England), Nour Al-Sherbini (Egypt) and many more.

The tournament was held from 4-10 June and the performances the players gave were beyond impressive.

The celebration was one of a kind as fireworks lit up the sky with violins playing, kids cheering and spectators amused by every moment they spent.

What was glitteringly impressive in the audience was the jammed crowd of children and young squash players coming from all parts of the country. Although there was little chance for them to witness the final as the match invitations were limited, they all stood watching the screens outside the court. Some watched it on the Nile Sports channel.

Hani Al-Messeiri, the Alexandria governor, along with Assem Khalifa, head of the Egyptian Squash Association and Amr Mansi, the tournament organiser, gave out the trophies. Al-Messeiri also gave the key to the city, an Alexandrian tradition, to both finalists.

As usual, Egyptian squash players, men and women, proved to be the best in the world. Let’s keep it that way.

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