NEWS > PRESS RELEASE
10 May, 2017

World Champions Lead Egyptian Charge to PSA World Series Finals

Egypt’s dominance of world squash continues with a seven-strong contingent of players heading to Dubai next month for the PSA Dubai World Series Finals which will be played at the Dubai Opera from June 6-10.

Only the top eight ranked male and female players in the PSA Road to Dubai rankings have qualified to contest the prestigious season-ending PSA Dubai World Series Finals, after the men completed six qualifying events, and the women five, during the 2016-2017 season. 

Led by men’s world champion and world number one Karim Abdel Gawad, and women’s world champion and world number one Nour EL Sherbini, Egypt has qualified a remarkable four players in the men’s competition and three in the women’s. The remaining players are from England (two men and three women), France (one man and one woman), Germany (one man), and Malaysia (one woman). 

Gawad, who this month became the fifth Egyptian male to reach world number one, began the 2016-2017 season ranked at No.8 but his stunning form over the past eight months has seen him claim five PSA World Tour titles, including the PSA Men’s World Championship, and two of the World Series Finals qualifying events, the J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions and Qatar Classic. 

The 25-year-old from Giza claimed top spot by reaching the final of last month’s El Gouna International Squash Open and, despite losing the title-decider to defending Dubai champion Gregory Gaultier, follows in the footsteps of compatriots Amr Shabana, Karim Darwish, Ramy Ashour and Mohamed ElShorbagy, who have all topped the World Rankings over the past 11 years. 

“It means a lot to me, I’ve always had two dreams in my squash career, to be World No.1 and to win the World Championship, so to achieve both dreams in the same season is a dream come true,” said Gawad. 

“I still have lots of goals and will work hard on them. I really want to win more World Championships, win the British Open, win the World Series Finals in Dubai and to stay at World No.1 for as long as possible.” 

Mohamed ElShorbagy and Ramy Ashour are also amongst those packing their bags for Dubai. ElShorbagy, who came to Dubai last year as world number one, was unable to finish his stellar season with a win in the World Series Finals, but rounded off the year by being crowned the 2016 PSA Men’s Player of the Year. 

ElShorbagy started the 2016/17 season strongly with victory at the U.S. Open in October 2016, before finishing as runner up in Qatar in November. In December he became only the third Egyptian player to spend a whole year at the summit of the world rankings after he topped the December 2016 world rankings. While 2017 has seen him have his longest title drought in three years, his consistency sees him qualify for the Dubai World Series Finals in third place. 

Mohamed’s brother Marwan, the 2016 Men’s Young Player of the Year, qualified in fifth, his best finish being runner-up to Gregory Gaultier in the Windy City Open in February 2017. 

Marwan ElShorbagy, at 23 the youngest player in the field, claimed his first ever win over older brother, Mohamed, during that event, and followed that with another win over his brother in the semi-finals of the final qualification event, the El Gouna International in April. 

The final Egyptian representative is Ramy Ashour, considered one of the most gifted players on the tour. Ashour, who reached number one for the first time aged just 22 in 2010, started the season well, winning the Hong Kong Open, but has suffered an injury interrupted season but squeezed in to qualify in eighth place. 

The Egyptian contingent in the women’s competition is equally star-studded, with Nour El Sherbini leading the line-up. Sherbini, who at 20 years of age became the youngest ever and first Egyptian to win the World Championships in 2016, defended her title last month, and comes to Dubai as world number one and world champion. Sherbini made the finals or semi-finals of all five qualification events this season, and despite failing to take a title qualified for the PSA Dubai World Series Finals in second behind France’s Camille Serme.

 

El Sherbini’s world championship victory came over her team mate, 28 year old Raneem El Welily, who was runner-up in the PSA Dubai World Series Finals in 2016. El Welily made history in 2015 when she dethroned Malaysia’s Nicol David after nine years at the top of the rankings, becoming the first ever female Egyptian number one. El Welily claimed one title this year, her third successive Windy City Open crown and qualified in fourth place.

 

The Egyptian team is rounded out by 19 year old Nouran Gohar, who took her first title this season winning the Hong Kong Open. Two quarter-final and one semi-final finishes saw her qualify in fifth position.

 

Tickets for the 2017 PSA Dubai World Series Finals are available to purchase through www.dubaiopera.com or from the Dubai Opera Box Office. For further information on both the PSA World Series and the PSA World Tour, please visit www.worldseriesfinals.com

 

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