Saturday,21 October, 2017
Current issue | Issue 1123, 22-28 November 2012-
Saturday,21 October, 2017
Issue 1123, 22-28 November 2012-

Ahram Weekly

Women winners

sp21a
sp21a
Al-Ahram Weekly

In the final of the WSF Women’s World Team Championship in Nimes which went to the wire, second seed Egypt recovered from a match down to upset favourites England to win the World Squash Federation event being held in France for the first time.
Boasting a record entry of 26 nations, the 2012 championship was staged at the eight-court Club des Costièresand La Parnasse Arena where, for the first time ever, action was taking place simultaneously on three all-glass show courts.
England got off to a good start when Alison Waters beat Nour Al-Sherbini in the first ever meeting between the two world top 10 players. Londoner Waters, ranked four in the world, took the first game – but the Egyptian underdog, ranked four places lower, fought back to open a 2/1 lead.
Waters, 28, used her experience to recover the deficit, eventually overcoming her 17-year-old opponent 11-5, 8-11, 9-11, 11-3, 11-5 to put England ahead.
The top string duel which followed again saw England take the early lead when world No 3 Laura Massaro won the opening game against Raneem Al-Weleili, the world No 2. Hoping to extend her 9/5 head to head record over the Egyptian, Massaro then dropped the next two games – and failed to convert a game-ball in the fourth as Al-Weleili powered through to win 3-11, 12-10, 11-4, 12-10 to level the tie.
The pattern of the first two matches was repeated in the decider when Jenny Duncalf again put England ahead by winning the first game against long-time rival Omneya Abdel-Kawi. But the 22-year-old from Cairo – who has played in every championship since 1998 – moved ahead by taking the next two games.
Determined to reduce the deficit of her career-long head-to head record of 2/12 down to the Egyptian, Duncalf fought hard to draw level – and in the decider won five points in a row to move 7-4 up.
But Abdel-Kawi confirmed that she is well and truly back to her best after a long period of poor results when she won back the service at 6-8 down, then took the next five points to clinch a remarkable 7-11, 11-8, 11-4, 6-11, 11-8 victory – and the title for Egypt for the second time since 2008.
“I’m really, really happy – I love my team,” said Al-Weleili after joining her team-mates on court to celebrate Abdel-Kawi’s triumph. “It’s very, very, very big!”
Team coach Amir Wagih was also overjoyed: “It’s so good for Egypt and so good for squash – it was a super final with three matches of unbelievable squash. Omneya is back on form – she gave a really classy performance. My players have now won all the world titles except one – and that is the women’s World Open title. So I am hoping that I can complete the set at the end of the year in the Cayman Islands.”
England national coach Chris Robertson agreed that the final was a fitting climax to the event. “It was a great final – in a great atmosphere. I am very proud of my girls and their performances – they gave it everything. But, credit to the Egyptians, they came up with the right shots at the right time. “We always thought it would be close – and hopefully we will learn a little from it.”
In the match on the centre court immediately preceding the final, France faced eighth seeds Netherlands in the play-off for ninth place – a repeat of the pool tie earlier in the week which the ninth-seeded hosts won to provide the event’s first upset.
Second string Coline Aumard gave the large and vocal crowd what they wanted by beating Milou van der Heijden 11-6, 11-5, 11-7 – making way for the team number one Camille Serme, the world No14 from Paris, to take on Natalie Grinham, the world No11 and former Australian who is making her first appearance in the championship for The Netherlands.
Grinham was after revenge after dropping her only match this week to Serme – and took the opening game. But spurred on by the crowd, Serme fought back to clinch a 6-11, 11-8, 11-5, 11-8 victory – helping France to end the tournament on a high.
“It was a fantastic way to finish – it’s a very good feeling,” said French coach Philippe Signoret. “I wish we could play another match with this great crowd – but for a higher position than ninth place!
“Coline played well to put us in front, then Camille and Natalie contested a very high quality match. Camille kept to the strategy that we planned – keeping Natalie away from the front of the court – and it gave us the result we wanted.”
Third seeds Malaysia beat Australia in the play-off for third place to win the bronze medal for the fourth time in a row. After going down to Alison Waters in the semi-final decider against England, world No7 Low Wee Wern played a crucial role by beating Aussie number two Donna Urquhart to put Malaysia ahead.
In their 39th meeting since 2000, Australia’s former world No1 Rachael Grinham then took on the reigning world number one Nicol David. Grinham was looking for her first win since September 2007, but once again David was too strong – winning 11-6, 11-6, 11-4 in 32 minutes to wrap up the Malaysia win.
Team manager Linda Geh admitted: “It feels good – but we will come back stronger next time. By then, we hope that Wee Wern will have established herself in the world top five, and this will make us much stronger.”
Wee Wern reflected on the strain of the previous night’s battle with Waters: “It was big match for both of us. Alison is really back on form now. It was mentally tough to come back after that – I was a bit up and down at the beginning, but I got back into it so I was very pleased with today’s win.”
Australian team coach Sarah Fitz-Gerald was not unhappy with the outcome: “We exceeded our expectations. Our big day was beating Hong Kong – that was our final. We were all on a high after that so the players have then had to pick themselves up since.
“We really needed Donna to win the first game. Rachael has played magnificently – and I think she has learnt from this that she can get back into the world top 10 – it has given her the opportunity to win big matches again. She’s shown she can raise her game when she’s playing in Australian colours.”
The championship came to a magnificent conclusion for India when the tenth seeds beat Ireland, the No7 seeds, to win fifth place. It was the teams’ second meeting in five days. Joshana Chinappa put India in the driving seat by beating Aisling Blake but 13-time Irish champion Madeline Perry levelled matters by gaining a revenge win over Indian number one Dipika Pallikal.
It was down to teenager Anaka Alankamony to clinch victory for India when the 18-year-old from Chennai defeated experienced Laura Mylotte 11-8, 11-7, 11-8 in the decider.

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