Friday,20 July, 2018
Current issue | Issue 1294, (5 - 11 May 2016)
Friday,20 July, 2018
Issue 1294, (5 - 11 May 2016)

Ahram Weekly

Ruling women’s squash

The world’s youngest player to win the title of the World Women Squash Championship is a 20-year-old Egyptian, writes Inas Mazhar

Al-Ahram Weekly

Nour Al-Sherbini, 20, was crowned the new queen of squash on Saturday after coming back from behind to snatch the world title from the world number one Laura Massaro. Al-Sherbini, the number two seed was down two sets as the English player took the lead 2-0. Surprisingly, the Egyptian recovered and stepped up pressure to clench the three following sets to win the match 3-2 and claim the title.

The two top players in women’s squash, Massaro and Al-Sherbini had gone head-to-head for the Naza PSA Women’s World Championship crown after semi-final victories over Raneem Al-Welily and Nouran Gohar, respectively, in Bukit Jalil, Malaysia to set up a repeat of the 2013 World Championship final – where Massaro won her maiden World Championship title.

As soon as the match ended, Minister of Youth and Sports Khaled Abdel-Aziz broke the good news and celebrated the victory with Egyptian fans on his Facebook page. Abdel-Aziz congratulated Al-Sherbini for her victory and making squash history by becoming the youngest player to win the world title, and joining the sport’s Hall of Fame. Abdel-Aziz also congratulated the officials of the squash federation and Al-Sherbini’s head coach, former world champion Amr Shabana who was at the top of the game until a few years ago.

The Professional Squash Association (PSA) described Al-Sherbini as one of the most exciting up-and-coming female players on the PSA World Tour, who has produced a number of superb performances that have belied her tender years.

She made history in 2009 when she became the youngest World Junior Champion after clenching the title at just 13 years old. She then became the youngest Tour finalist in June 2009 when she finished runner-up at the Miro Classic.

She broke into the world’s top fifty at just 14 years of age and claimed her first Tour title at Egypt’s international tournament, the Heliopolis Open, in 2010. A year later she captured the Alexandria Open title, and in 2012 shocked the world of squash by reaching the final of the British Open before losing to then world champion Nicol David of Malaysia in the final.

The year 2013 had started promisingly for the Alexandrian-born Al-Sherbini, with triumph at the Greenwich Open, and she also lifted her third World Junior Championship, becoming the first player ever to do so.

Despite injuries taking her out of the game for several months, she nonetheless became the youngest player to reach a World Championship final in March 2015 where, after stunning David in the semi-final, she narrowly lost a thrilling final to Massaro. A Texas Open title followed a month later and she made it to another World Series final in October at the US Open, but lost to David in the final.

The young Egyptian reigned supreme at the prestigious Carol Weymuller Open, sweeping aside fellow countrywoman and then world number one Al-Welily in the semi-final of the event, before conquering Joelle King in the final.

She reached the final of the Qatar Classic a month later, defeating David to reach the final where she narrowly lost to Massaro.

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