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Egypt’s Karim Abdel Gawad is the 2018 CIB Black Ball Squash Open champion ..

Egypt’s Karim Abdel Gawad is the 2018 CIB Black Ball Squash Open champion after he defeated compatriot and World No.2 Ali Farag in the final at the Black Ball Sporting Club in Cairo, Egypt, earlier today.

The Black Ball Squash Open is the first major tournament to take place in Egypt’s capital since the men’s 2016 PSA World Championships and it was Alexandria-born Gawad who came out on top in a four-game battle with compatriot Farag.

The title is Gawad’s first at a PSA Platinum event since the 2017 Tournament of Champions, as he showed he his back to his best, producing some stunning squash throughout the week to knock out World No.1 Mohamed ElShorbagy, World No.4 Tarek Momen and then World No.2 Farag to earn the title.

26-year-old Farag, meanwhile, was competing to not only win the title, but also to become the new World No.1 in January’s World Rankings if he won the tournament. However, the nerves looked to have got the better of the Egyptian at the start of the match, as Gawad opened up a two-game lead.

The start of the third saw Farag come out fighting to take four points without reply to build up a strong lead, with the World No.2 also being able to hold off a late surge from Gawad as Farag took the third to get a foothold back into the match.

However, it wasn’t meant to be for the World No.2 as the wait to climb to the top of the World Rankings continues after Gawad held his nerve to ensure that he claimed his second successive title after winning the Pakistan Open PSA Bronze tournament last week.

“I had so many times where I was down,” said Gawad following his huge win. “All those months, all those days, I pushed and pushed. There were bad times, really bad times, but my team handled those bad moments. It finally paid off this week, and I’m back to my form.

“I wasn’t 100% there physically but thanks to my team, I had a good recovery until 4am this morning and I didn’t feel exhausted today.

“It’s been a very tough tournament, especially for me as I’ve not been playing at this level for so long now and to be back and winning this major tournament means a lot to me.

“I’ve been working so hard to try and get back to my form that I used to play and I’m really happy to be back and end the year with a major tournament.

“Ali is my brother, we’ve grown up together and we’ve played so many times at juniors. He has been handling so much pressure this week and I’ve been there before, so I know how he feels. I had two or three times to become World No.1 and I kept losing every time, so I know how hard it is but sooner or later he will be World No.1 because he’s very consistent.”

Farag added afterwards:

“Karim was by far the best player all week. He thoroughly deserved that win. Karim was a World No.1 deservedly and he had a bit of a dip in his form last season because of some injuries but he very much deserves to be where he is today.

“I’m really happy for him and his team.”

Gawad takes home over $25,000 in prize money from the PSA Platinum event after he claimed his 20th PSA title.

CIB Black Ball Squash Open Final:

[7] Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) 3-1 [2] Ali Farag (EGY)  11-6, 13-11, 7-11, 11-8 (62m)

FULL BLACK BALL OPEN COVERAGE


New Zealand’s Joelle King and Egypt’s Mohamed ElShorbagy are the 2018 Everbright Sun Hung Kai Hong Kong Squash Open champions after they claimed respective wins over Raneem El Welily and Ali Farag at Hong Kong Park Sports Centre. World No.7 King has lifted the first PSA World Tour Platinum trophy of her career after a …

New Zealand’s Joelle King and Egypt’s Mohamed ElShorbagy are the 2018 Everbright Sun Hung Kai Hong Kong Squash Open champions after they claimed respective wins over Raneem El Welily and Ali Farag at Hong Kong Park Sports Centre.

World No.7 King has lifted the first PSA World Tour Platinum trophy of her career after a sublime performance from the 30-year-old saw her defeat World No.2 and 2017 runner-up Raneem El Welily by an 11-4, 12-10, 19-17 scoreline.

The Kiwi dominated proceedings in the opening game and was able to see out the second on the tie-break to put one hand on the trophy. El Welily – who will become World No.1 on December 1 – came out firing in a captivating third game as she looked to avoid defeat in the final of this tournament for a fourth time.

But it was King who came out on top to capture the 12th PSA Tour title of her career, while she becomes the first New Zealander since Carol Owens at the Tournament of Champions in 2003 to win a Platinum tournament.

“I’m just extremely happy to win my first platinum event ever,” said King, who qualifies for the season-ending PSA World Tour Finals as a result.

“It hasn’t really sunk in yet, but to be on a stage like this, with such great fans means a lot. I just want to go on from here and keep playing good squash.

“I just kept thinking that it’s the last match of the tournament – just leave it all out there. Raneem is such a tough competitor and she showed in the third why she is No.1. She just kept coming back at me and never let it go until the end.”

Meanwhile, men’s World No.1 ElShorbagy has captured his fourth Hong Kong Open title after dismantling World No.2 Farag 11-6, 11-7, 11-7 in a repeat of last year’s final.

ElShorbagy and Farag had shared the spoils from the first two Platinum events of the season between them, with ElShorbagy winning the October’s U.S. Open and Farag triumphing at the Qatar Classic earlier this month.

But ElShorbagy was a class apart in Hong Kong as he powered to the 35th PSA title of his career – a total sees him move up to joint eighth in the all-time PSA title winners list, level with the legendary Nick Matthew.

“I’m really pleased to be able to come here and play my best squash,” said ElShorbagy.

“It’s always great when it all comes together. I’m really proud of my performance but not to take anything away from Ali, I have nothing but respect for him. He came to the tour later than all of us and came up the rankings very fast. Very few people can do what he did and he’s coming after me, but I’m trying to hold him a little bit.

“We’ve played twice already this season, he beat me once and now I’ve beaten him. I’m sure we will have many more battles and compete in more finals.”

ElShorbagy and King both take home almost $23,000 in prize money after the Hong Kong Open this year became the final joint Platinum event to commit to equal prize money.

The next Platinum tournament will be the CIB Black Ball Squash Open which takes place in Cairo between 3rd and 9th of December.

Men’s Final: 2018 Everbright Sun Hung Kai Hong Kong Squash Open
[1] Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) 3-0 [2] Ali Farag (EGY)  11-6, 11-7, 11-7 (39m)

Women’s Final: 2018 Everbright Sun Hung Kai Hong Kong Squash Open
[5] Joelle King (NZL) 3-0 [2] Raneem El Welily (EGY)  11-4, 12-10, 19-17 (48m)

FULL RESULTS & HONG KONG COVERAGE




New Zealand’s Joelle King will be the only non-Egyptian to compete in the finals of the Everbright Sun Hung Kai Hong Kong Squash Open ...

New Zealand’s Joelle King will be the only non-Egyptian to compete in the finals of the Everbright Sun Hung Kai Hong Kong Squash Open after she dispatched England’s Sarah-Jane Perry to join Raneem El Welily, Mohamed ElShorbagy and Ali Farag in the title deciders of the PSA World Tour Platinum event.

World No.7 King will appear in the second Platinum final of her career after she recorded an impressive 11-7, 11-3, 11-7 victory over World No.6 Sarah-Jane Perry to follow up her win over the Englishwoman in April’s Commonwealth Games singles final.

“I felt like I played well,” said 30-year-old King afterwards.

“SJ has had an amazing week and two really tough matches. I just had to think about making it hard for her at the start and try to not let her back in.

“We have had some epic battles over the years, today it was 3-0 but it is always mentally so tough against her. This is the closest tournament to New Zealand, so it’s like playing at home a little bit. I’ve been coming for eight or 10 years and let’s hope that I can make it a win tomorrow.”

Egypt’s Raneem El Welily awaits King in the women’s final after the came through a challenging five-game test against 2016 champion Nouran Gohar.

El Welily, who will become World No.1 on December 1 after compatriot Nour El Sherbini’s defeat in the quarter-finals, twice saw a one-game lead eradicated by a tenacious Gohar.

But a composed performance from the 29-year-old saw her record an 11-7 victory in the decider to earn her place in a fourth Hong Kong Open final and her seventh successive PSA Tour final.

“I’m happy to be becoming the World No.1 next month, but I’m still in Hong Kong and I’m focusing on the tournament,” El Welily said.

“I’ve been the World No.1 before but I didn’t win as many tournaments as others did, so my goal is to win as many tournaments as possible. Making it to the final here is another step further and hopefully I can go one more.”

Meanwhile, men’s World No.1 Mohamed ElShorbagy and World No.2 Ali Farag will meet in the title decider for a second successive year after they achieved respective 3-0 wins over World No.4 Tarek Momen and World No.5 Simon Rösner.

Momen – who hasn’t beaten ElShorbagy since 2012 – started strongly to take an early lead in the opening game to go 7-2 ahead. But the reigning World Champion soon clicked into gear and came back to take three games on the trot, earning a place in a fourth Hong Kong Open final.

“I knew I had to be sharp from the beginning, he had a great start in the first game, but I think coming back and winning that game was crucial,” said ElShorbagy.

“I’m happy to be through, it’s my fourth final here and I’m hoping to go all the way. I love coming back here, I have great memories and I hope that I can get my name on the trophy for a fourth time.”

ElShorbagy will look to preserve his unbeaten run in the final here when he comes up against Farag after the Harvard-graduate dismantled Germany’s Simon Rösner by an 12-10, 11-7, 11-3 margin.

Farag and Rösner were meeting for the third time this season – with Farag winning their last match in the Qatar Classic final – and it was the Egyptian who emerged victorious to earn his place in a fourth final this season.

“It always a pleasure to play against Mohamed and big stages such as the Hong Kong Open final,” Farag said.

“Mohamed is a great champion, he’s been the World No.1 for so long and he’s proving himself tournament after tournament. I’m just happy to be playing another final with him and I’m looking forward to another good one.”

Men’s Semi-Finals
[1] Mohamed ElShorbagy (EGY) 3-0 [3] Tarek Momen (EGY)  11-9, 11-5, 11-6 (36m)
[2] Ali Farag (EGY) 3-0 [4] Simon Rösner (GER)  12-10, 11-7, 11-3 (44m)

Women’s Semi-Finals
[5] Joelle King (NZL) 3-0 [8] Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG)  11-7, 11-3, 11-7 (34m)
[2] Raneem El Welily (EGY) 3-2 [7] Nouran Gohar (EGY) 13-11, 10-12, 11-8, 9-11, 11-7 (66m)

FULL HONG KONG RESULTS AND COVERAGE]






Nov 4 2018 10:06AM

Instant Update #77


Latest edition of the WSF Newsletter, Nov/Dec 2018
IU-77

READ ISSUE #77 BACK ISSUES


Ali Farag delighted a partisan crowd in Doha as he defeated Germany’s Simon Rösner to win the 2018 Qatar Classic ...

Egyptian Ali Farag, the 26-year-old from Cairo, delighted a partisan crowd inside the Khalifa Tennis & Squash Complex, Doha, as he defeated Germany’s World No.5 Simon Rösner in straight games to win the 2018 Qatar Classic – marking his second PSA World Tour Platinum title victory.

Farag’s defence of his maiden Platinum title win, the U.S. Open, was crushed by Rösner last month when the pair met in semi-finals of the 2018 edition of that event, but the World No.2 earned his revenge with a near faultless display to down Rösner 11-9, 11-7, 11-5.

It was the German who began the stronger of the two, getting the better of Farag in the opening exchanges to open up a quick lead. But it was short-lived as Farag began to nullify Rösner’s mid-court dominance to level the opening game, and from that point on he went from strength to strength to complete the win after 46 minutes.

“At the beginning I saw how crowed the venue was and the screams of the crowd were crazy which made me nervous – it took me a little while to calm my nerves down,” said Farag.

“The atmosphere was beyond my imagination. Nothing I’ve played before was like that but mid-way through the first game I managed to settle and get into my game plan.

“I tried to make sure that first game was long and that I wasn’t giving away any cheap points. I was behind and I didn’t think I would win that game, but coming through to win it made a huge psychological difference I think.

“At the U.S. Open against Simon I became too passive, and if you do that he will kill you on court. You have to find that balance and I was able to do that from the second half of the first game all the way to the end today so I am very happy.

“I’m very happy with the win, and with my week and how I backed up match after match. And I’m really proud with the way I handled the whole week.”

Speaking after the match, Rösner said:

“He was the better player today. I made a few errors – I hung in there, I tried very hard and gave everything I could, but he was just too good – but he deserves the win. I don’t have any regrets, getting to another final is huge for me. Obviously, you want to get those wins, but at the same time, you should be happy with what you have achieved.

“I have good memories from this court, last year I made the semis, this year a finalist, who knows, maybe a winner next year.”

2018 Qatar Classic Final :

[2] Ali Farag (EGY) 3-0 [4] Simon Rösner (GER)  11-9, 11-7, 11-5 (46m)

FULL QATAR CLASSIC COVERAGE

 




The WSF has appointed Club Locker as its exclusive World Championship Event Software and SPIN Database Management Provider ...

The WSF has appointed Club Locker as its exclusive World Championship Event Software and SPIN (Squash Personal Identification Number) Database Management Provider.

In addition, Club Locker will be among several providers to serve as a WSF Certified Event Software, enabling SPIN verification and allowing import and export of results.

Commenting on the partnership WSF President Jacques Fontaine said: “After a formal evaluation process we are certain that WSF now has an excellent long term partner for the coordination of our registration systems and management of our event processes.”

WSF CEO Andrew Shelley has detailed the timeline for the rollout of Club Locker, including transitioning the SPIN database and importing World Championships results which are being completed later this year. Event registrations, via a revamped SPIN profile management interface and application programming interfaces (APIs) for importing results from other systems, will be in place early next year.

The Club Locker technology platform was initially developed for use in the United States by US Squash and is now also being offered to squash organizations globally through an international Technology Collaborative. Countries such as England, Canada, Finland and the United States have all committed to using the software.

For more information on Club Locker, visit www.clublocker.com/about




American Peter Lasusa has been elected as WSF Vice President at the AGM held in the Egyptian capital Cairo ...

American Peter Lasusa has been elected as World Squash Federation (WSF) Vice President at the WSF AGM held in the Egyptian capital Cairo.

Lasusa, a former Chairman of US Squash is the President of Management Leadership Resources Inc.

Upon his election, Lasusa commented: “I would like to congratulate my predecessor Gar Holohan who did so much work for the last two years, and now I look forward to applying my broad experience in many aspects of our sport to help WSF achieve its vision. I am genuinely excited!”

Holohan had completed a two-year term, in which he involved himself fully across all facets of WSF business, with a special interest in governance and branding. Following the vote, WSF President Jacques Fontaine paid tribute to the Irishman for his commitment to the role.

Vice President Sarah Fitz-Gerald, the five-time World Champion from Australia, was returned unopposed for a second term for the other Vice President position that was being contested by rotation. (The President and other two Vice President terms end in 2020).

The Federation AGM, with 45 nations represented and superbly hosted by the Egyptian Squash Federation, was presided over by President Fontaine, and also dealt with formal business. This included amendments to the Articles of Association (reinforcing safeguarding policy); adopting updated World Squash Anti-Doping Rules; reducing the general warm-up period before the start of matches from five minutes to four minutes; Forward Plan and accounts.

The conclusion of the meeting saw Fontaine make a presentation to Chris Herridge, the retiring Chairman of the WSF Courts and Equipment Commission after thirty years as the world authority on everything related to court construction and products. The President also acknowledged the Egyptian Federation, presenting President Assem Khalifa with a plaque recognising their hosting.

Closing the meeting, Fontaine said: “Squash is united to move forward to see the sport flourish, and achieve an Olympic Games place in Paris in 2024. I devote myself to both these objectives.”

The preceding day had seen the important wide-ranging WSF Conference where delegates heard about and discussed such topics as the squash bid for a place on the Paris 2024 Olympic Games Programme, and an updated strategic outline – both in partnership with the Professional Squash Association (PSA).

Other topics included the review into the delegate voting formula at AGMs; updates on general areas of activity such as World Squash Officiating, Coach Education and Championships, amongst others.

Naturally, with the AGM being held in Egypt, the opportunity was also taken to include a presentation to give delegates an insight into the Egyptian pathway to great international squash success.




World No.4 Tarek Momen has ended a four-year trophy drought after beating fellow Egyptian Ali Farag 3-2 to win the Channel VAS Championships at St George’s Hill ...

World No.4 Tarek Momen has ended a four-year trophy drought after beating fellow Egyptian Ali Farag 3-2 to win the Channel VAS Championships at St George’s Hill, PSA World Tour Gold event held in Weybridge.

Momen had been in brilliant form throughout the tournament – dispatching Cameron Pilley, Paul Coll and Diego Elias without dropping a single game – and was up against the 2017 runner-up in Farag.

Momen was also a beaten finalist at this tournament, losing to Coll in 2016, and he twice went a game behind against the World No.2 today, but fought back both times to force a decider as he played some accurate, attacking squash.

The drama inside St George’s Hill Lawn Tennis Club rose to a crescendo in the fifth as Momen thought he had won it after playing a winner while holding a championship ball. Farag questioned whether the ball had clipped the tin, and Momen agreed to play a let to put his title win on temporary hold.

But the 30-year-old held his nerve to close out the win on the very next point as he completed an 8-11, 11-8, 7-11, 11-5, 11-9 victory to capture the fifth PSA Tour trophy of his career, and his first since the Macau Open in October 2014.

“I can’t believe it, it’s been four years since I won a title,” said an emotional Momen afterwards.

“It’s the biggest of my career and I’m really proud of this moment. As for Ali, I have the utmost respect for him, he’s a really good friend of mine. We’ve been away for a month and each of us has won a title, so we should be fine going back home.

“Putting everything aside, I’m really happy with how I’ve progressed mentally over the past year and a half. I used to give up when I was really tired, now I’m much better at it. I can be exhausted, but I can still push and find other plans.”

Final: 2018 Channel VAS Championships at St George’s Hill
[3] Tarek Momen (EGY) 3-2 [2] Ali Farag (EGY)  8-11, 11-8, 7-11, 11-5, 11-9 (87m)

 




WSF President Jacques Fontaine believes that squash's recent Showcase at the Buenos Aires Youth Olympic Games 2018 will have left a lasting impression on both the population of Buenos Aires and the Olympic family ...

World Squash Federation (WSF) President Jacques Fontaine believes that squash’s recent Showcase at the Buenos Aires Youth Olympic Games 2018 will have left a lasting impression on both the population of Buenos Aires and the Olympic family following a successful week of action that saw over 25,000 people witness squash in the flesh.

Over 2,000 children tasted their first experience of squash during the week through introductory sessions on a miniature outdoor activation court – while the Showcase all-glass court, situated in the heart of Technopolis Park, attracted almost 5,000 visitors each day with many witnessing squash for the first time in their lives.

Joining the thousands of locals to watch the squash showcase were high-profile IOC members such as HRH Tunku Imran, President of the Commonwealth Games Federation, and Olympic Games Executive Director Christophe Dubi, who had the chance to step onto court and experience the sport first-hand (pictured below) – an experience shared by hundreds of lucky locals who were given the chance to play a suite of new interactive games on the centrepiece court.


“The Squash Showcase in Buenos Aires has exceeded all expectations and we are delighted with the reaction from the local population, the participating athletes and the wider IOC family,”
 said Fontaine.

“Along with enjoying what could be a once-in-a-lifetime experience for many, our athletes embraced the local spirit and it was fantastic to see them engaging with young fans and to see so many smiles on the young schoolchildren’s faces.

“To have so many children step onto a court for the first time is very encouraging for the development of the sport in Argentina. The number of people stopping to watch in awe at both the athleticism of our athletes and the eye-catching displays of the interactive court have shown us that, as a sport, squash can offer something different.

“The feedback we have received so far has been universally positive and we now look forward to working with all parties to show that squash can replicate this success at Paris 2024.”

In parallel to the Showcase event, squash was also represented amongst wider Olympic initiatives during the Youth Olympics, with Maria Toorpakai Wazir, a professional player from Pakistan, sharing her remarkable story during a panel session at the inaugural Olympism in Action Forum on the same day that Shahd Bshara, a young squash player from Israel, was chosen as one of four athletes from around the world to form the first Sport at the Service of Humanity Young Leaders Mentoring Program.

Inspired by their experiences at the event, all 38 athletes participating in the squash showcase (pictured above) also contributed to the on-going SquashFORWARD initiative by participating in sessions led by Mexico’s PanAm Games Gold Medal winner Samantha Teran – sharing their thoughts and opinions on a host of topics covering all aspects of the game.

Their feedback will be combined in the following months with that collected during previous sessions conducted over the summer to formulate a forward-looking roadmap.

Colombian Squash Ambassador Luis Mancilla signs squash balls for eager fans



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