Wednesday,18 October, 2017
Current issue | Issue 1317, (27 October - 2 November 2016)
Wednesday,18 October, 2017
Issue 1317, (27 October - 2 November 2016)

Ahram Weekly

The best of both

Represented by Wadi Degla, Cairo is hosting the 2016 Men’s World Squash Championship and Women’s Open simultaneously, reports Abeer Anwar

Al-Ahram Weekly

After hosting the 2014 Women’s World Championship, Wadi Degla Club went further, bidding for the Professional Squash Association (PSA) tender in the Men’s World Championship. The bid paid off after Wadi Degla was chosen to host the 2016 World PSA Men’s Squash Championship, the world’s most prestigious squash event.

This makes Wadi Degla the world’s only club to host a World Squash Championship for the second time, the first coming in 2014.

The championship will be held in Wadi Degla Club in the First Settlement, from 25 October to 4 November with the participation of a number of world squash champions, including Nick Mathew and Mohamed Al-Shorbagi.

World Squash Championship is a world class event held annually by the PSA and is considered the most important squash championship in the world. It also has the highest prize money in squash history ($350,000). In addition, it marks the first Men’s World Championship to take place in the country since 2006.

As a result, the Ministry of Sports and Youth represented by Minister Khaled Abdel-Aziz will sponsor the event which will draw the attention of the squash world to Egypt. “It is an excellent opportunity to show the world the peaceful Egypt with its excellent security measures and to send a message to the whole world. I think that we have to concentrate on such big sports events to attract the biggest number of tourists to Egypt,” Abdel-Aziz said.

The PSA has also confirmed that a brand new women’s PSA, the W50 tournament, will run parallel to the PSA Men’s World Championship. It said on its website: “We are allowing Egyptian squash fans the opportunity to watch the best players of both sexes in action across what will be a truly unique week of competitive action in one of the world’s most iconic cities, Cairo. We are pleased to announce that Cairo will host the 2016 PSA Men’s World Championship and we are looking forward to working with our partners at the Wadi Degla Club and Egypt Squash Federation in a truly world class event,” PSA CEO Alex Gough was quoted as saying.

“The World Championship is the most prestigious title in squash and to be taking the sport’s pinnacle event back to Egypt, a country that has become synonymous with squash throughout the past decade after producing a series of world No.1s and top class players, including five of the current top 10, is tremendously exciting for everyone involved. We are also delighted to see the introduction of a new high profile women’s tournament to coincide with the Men’s World Championship in a move that continues to reinforce our commitment to equal playing opportunities across both tours as we continually edge closer towards parity across the sport,” Gough said.

“We are working on showing the best of us, especially as it is the first time for the PSA to give a club the honour of organising the Men’s World Squash Championship, rather than an association or a federation of a specific country,” Wadi Degla President Hassan Al-Mestikawi told the press.

Al-Mestikawi said Wadi Degla had prepared seven courts for training, in addition to the main glass court which will host the two championships and which was constructed according to the highest international standards.

“We are very excited to be bringing the World Championship back to Egypt for the first time in a decade and feel certain that Wadi Degla will prove to be a fitting venue for such a prestigious competition,” Karim Darwish, sports director at Wadi Degla and the former world No 1, said. “We already enjoy a strong working relationship with the PSA in what we hope will be one of the greatest world championships ever staged.”

Ahmed Bassam, tournament director, said both championships will be launched at the same time. The first stage of the men’s and women’s championships will start on 25 October, while the semi-finals and final matches will take place on 3 and 4 November. “The two championship matches will be scheduled in a way that they do not clash, giving the audience the chance to enjoy the squash matches at these two prestigious international squash championships,” Bassam said.

Star players in the PSA’s international ranking who are participating in the tournament include French Grégory Gaultier ranked second, Egyptian Omar Mosaad (3), English Nicholas Matthew (5), Egyptian Karim Abdel-Gawad (4), Marwan Al-Shorbagi (7) and Rami Ashour (8).

The players will represent Egypt, Colombia, Germany, Australia, Spain, China, India, South Africa, Mexico, Malaysia, Switzerland, New Zealand, Scotland, Peru, Pakistan, and Finland.

As for the women’s championship, 64 internationally ranked players will be competing, including Malaysian Nicol David, Egyptian Nouran Gohar who is ranked fourth, Egyptian champion Raneem Al-Welili (5), Egyptian Omneya Abdel-Qawi (8), Egyptian Nour Al-Tayb (10), Malaysian Delia Arnold (15), Indian Dipika Pallikal Karthik (19), Australian Donna Urquhart (21), Egyptian Heba Al-Torki (23), Hong Kong’s Liu Tsz-Ling (28) and Egyptian Amina Yousri (41).

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