Sunday,18 March, 2018
Current issue | Issue 1277, (7 - 13 January 2016)
Sunday,18 March, 2018
Issue 1277, (7 - 13 January 2016)

Ahram Weekly

Back as the best

One Egyptian squash player lost the world No 1 ranking but her male teammate returned to the top global spot, reports Abeer Anwar

Al-Ahram Weekly

While Egypt’s Raneem Al-Welili relinquished her world No 1 squash place in the January ranking, male counterpart Mohamed Al-Shorbagi has bounced back to the head of the pack.

Laura Massaro replaced Al-Welili as world No 1 in the Professional Squash Association (PSA) world rankings released on 1 January 2016. She becomes the first English woman to hold the No 1 ranking since Cassie Jackman in 2004.

Chorley-based Massaro had a stellar end to 2015, winning three PSA World Tour titles: the Macau Open (September), US Open (October) and Qatar Classic (November). She secured the No 1 ranking at the Hong Kong Open in December.

The No 1 ranking had been held by Malaysian superstar Nicol David for a record-breaking 108 months up until July 2015 when she was unseated by Al-Welili. Massaro not only replaces Al-Welili at No 1 but also tops the Road to Dubai standings (PSA World Series Finals).

On her new ranking, Massaro told, “I’m over the moon with topping the January ranking list. It’s been a goal of mine since I was a junior and something I have strived for throughout my career. I feel proud of myself and for everyone that’s helped me. Now the hard work starts to maintain the level of squash I have been able to play recently.

“I trained hard over the summer after taking a break and the focus was all about competing and challenging for major titles. It’s gone better than I could have expected, winning three titles, and I knew that if I could hit my goals of winning titles then the ranking would take care of itself.”

“I went back a little due to a number of injuries which made me retreat in the world rankings,” Al-Welili said. “But I will do my best and train well in the coming period to be able to take back first place.”

Four other Egyptian women are among the top 10 in the world — Nour Al-Sherbini ranks fifth followed by Omneya Abdel-Kawi in sixth place, Nour Al-Tayeb in seventh place and Nouran Gohar in 10th, meaning Egyptians make up half of the top 10.

Al-Shorbagi returned to world No 1 after winning the Hong Kong Open held in December, overcoming France’s Gregory Gaultier who now ranks second.

“I am very happy with this achievement and I will do my best to keep it up,” Al-Shorbagi said. “I want to follow[former Egyptian world No 1 Amr Shabana’s footsteps and continue to be No 1 until retirement. I am training hard and taking part in a number of competitions to collect more points and keep up with my fitness as competition is very harsh in squash.”

In the men’s top 10 world ranking, Egypt’s number of men is the same as the women, five apiece. Omar Mosaad is fourth, Rami Ashour sixth, Tarek Momen eighth, and Karim Abdel-Gawad ninth.

Marawan Al-Shorbagi, brother of the world No 1, is in 11th place.

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