The Golden Girls are Back
Fram reports from Cairo
It was very early in the morning – their flight landed
at 5.35 from Beijing – but we were all there to welcome the four
Golden Girls back from their successful trip from the World
Teams in China.
It was a nice surprise to see the Minister of Sports and
Youth Dr Ashraf Sobhi up at dawn to welcome the girls. He
looked very fresh, I didn’t!!!
am indeed very keen to support the squash players and all the
other sports. We are making sure that we are preparing our
athletes for the Olympics and other major competitions but also
that we are implanting strategy to ensure the success on this
generation , but also the generations to come.
“As we all know, Egyptian Squash is leading the world, and we
have a plan to try and sustain this success for many years to
Raneem, first time captain, was greeted by her parents today,
and was very proud of her team’s achievements.
Minister of Youth and Sports
Raneem's parents were at the
airport and were delighted to have a word with the Minister
before The Enigma made her entrance with the Team!
is not a personal victory, this is the 4th title for Egypt, and
that’s what counts the most”, smiled Raneem. “the team was super
this time, I played with many many teams, every time was superb,
but this one was extra special for me.
“Things were very tough the night before the final, but we
managed to calm down, to settle down, to each think on our own
what was best for the team, to make sure that I would do the
best for the team.
“I think Nouran played superbly, the way she started, she was on
fire, and she made it very easy for me to follow actually.
Shabana did a great job, he is always good with his words, he
knows how to find the right words. So he spoke with us with each
one of us individually and he spoke to us as a team, thanks to
thanks to our physio, she stayed up to the middle of the night
to make sure we were taking care of. It’s not an easy job but
she did it perfectly. We were lucky to have her.
“It was my first time captain, but I learned so much from Engy
and Omneya, and I am actually very happy we made it. I’m very
happy that we won, very proud and we all decided that we would
dedicate this title to our Dr Samiha Abou Magd, the
Mother of Egyptian Squash, who passed away the 5th May. We owe
her so much and we wish she was here with us.”
Mr Nour El Tayeb, AKA Ali
Farag, was there to welcome his wife. Nour was
radiant and boasting laughing :
we got married, he got one, and I got one, he got it before me,
so we are even now
“It’s my second title, but my first one as a married woman. Does
it make a difference? Actually no!
“more seriously, the whole tournament was very interesting, the
whole experience, we were all very good friends, supporting each
other, one loses, one winning, and we were all there for each
other, which was a nice feeling, different from the PSA
tournaments where everybody is selfish, and doesn’t care as much
for the others. So it was very nice to care for each other for a
all played well, it’s a different kind of pressure, and I’m sure
it’s going to help us moving forward and I’m very excited for
the season coming...”
ABOUT THE FINAL
“I was very
surprised when Shabana told me that I was going to be the first
on court. He told me “are you going to give me 100% tomorrow? I
told him that I actually lost the last two times we played, and
that it was very tough for me. He just said, I believe in you
and I’m sure you are going to make it.
“To be honest, it was very very stressful, I couldn’t sleep the
night before, I was awake at 3am, and I was really nervous. But
I really wanted to give everything. I was sure that Raneem and
Nour would win, but I didn’t want them to go on court and be 1/0
down, it is very stressful.
“in the first games, I was playing really fast to try and get
rid of the butterflies, it went very fast. And when I was up
2/0, I started to calm down, I played well in the 3rd, but 5/2
up, a few decisions, and it’s turned round and it was the
“And to come back after the 4th, I was telling Shabana, it is
very very stressful, I can’t feel anything, and the referee was
not as his best that day. He said, it’s the last game, just
play, give it everything, and don’t forget you are not playing
for yourself. And that did the trick, in my head I went just
give it it all and Alhamdulillah it worked.
do you want to speak with me, I didn’t do anything!
I was a bit soon for me to play, I had a shoulder injury, I was
not completely ready when the season started. Then I had a fall
in Shanghai, it was slippery conditions, and I damaged my
hamstring and my Achille’s tendon.
But I’m glad the three other girls were in great form, and they
made it and kept the title!
It was an honor to represent Egypt next to this amazing team, what
a group of amazing players and fine ladies!!
On behalf of the entire team I would like to thank our Coach
Amr Shabana, for his guidance throughout the entire week.
Many thanks to our physiotherapist Doaa Zahran for
keeping us in the best form for our matches here. And also to
our manager Mr. Hani Hamouda.
We would like to dedicate this to Dr. Samiha Abou Elmagd,
may her soul rest in peace, without whom, we wouldn't be
standing here today and Egyptians women's Squash will not have
been what it is today. This one is for her.
Egypt's women's squash team won the world championship for the
fourth time in its history, and the second consecutive.
"We were fairly confident Alison might be able to get us off to a
decent start with her track record against Gohar. But, to be
fair, both Raneem and Gohar played really well for Egypt – both
played superb squash. And from 2/0 down when Al came back I
thought she might be able to do – but it wasn't to be.
"They both gave it everything. Laura's match with Raneem was a
quality match. Raneem was superb and when she plays like that
she's very difficult – she beats everybody when she plays like
"We can't really be too disappointed with the outcome when you
see the level of squash they play at today.
"It's another silver medal against Egypt. We'll keep fighting
away and hopefully keep as competitive as this going forward!"
Egypt 2-0 England
Nouran Gohar 3-2
Alison Waters 11-9, 11-9, 6-11, 7-11, 11-7 (55m)
Raneem El Welily 3-1 Laura
Massaro 11-3, 11-8, 9-11, 11-3 (36m)
Team Egypt win their 4th and 2nd
women world title
champions Egypt fulfilled their seeding in the CGG WSF Women's
World Team Squash Championship today in China, successfully
retaining their title by beating perennial rivals England, the
No.2 seeds, 2/0 in the final of the biennial World Squash
Federation championship at the Xigang Gymnasium in the seaport
city of Dalian.
It was the two nations' fifth meeting in the final in since 2006
and Egypt's fourth triumph over the seven-times champions.
An incredible performance today from the Pharaohs in Dalian,
China, as if Egypt was favourite on paper, boasting World number
1, 2, 3 and 6 against England, World number 7 8 10 13, it was
not THAT simple.
Amr Shabana, four time World Champion and coach to The
Pharaohs, had a difficult choice to make today.
As Nour El Sherbini, not at the best of her form, had
lost her last two matches in the competition against Annie Au
and Joelle King, the Maestro took the decision to rest the World
number 1. And that was a gutsy decision, especially if you look
at the stats for the other matches!
Terminator Nouran Gohar was going to be first on court
against Alison Waters, earning her 140th international
cap for England and who had beaten Nouran in their last two
meetings, in Gouna and at the British Open. Then on would go
Enigma Raneem El Welily against the Iron Lady Laura
Massaro: there again the bet was not won in advance, as out
of 6 matches, Raneem only one once….
But Shabana was counting probably on two factors: First, the
stats, with Nouran beating that same Alison Waters in the last
World Team match, and Raneem’s only victory against Laura in
those 6 matches was … the Worlds. When it realllllly mattered.
And the second was the “Egypt Shirt on your back” factor: that
did the trick….
It was not easy for the people on the bench at any time if
Nouran took the first 2 games only just, 11-9, 11-9, she then
lost the next two 6-11, 7-11. Where the ghosts of her last two
defeats going to overshadow the Egyptian chances? The nails of
the Egyptian Camp were getting shorter and shorter. But finally,
the Wadi Degla lady closed it down 11-7 in 55m, very much to the
relief of her benched team mates.
On went Raneem, with a great start, 11-3, then 11-8. But as she
always, always does, the Iron lady fought back, 10-8, and if
Raneem saved a game ball, Laura shortened the deficit 11-9.
Again, mental battle for Enigma Raneem, who knew what to expect
from the English. No trembling in the 4th though, and the
Egyptian sealed the English Fate to a second silver in two
editions, 11-3, 36m.
Incredible to think that Raneem El Welily wins her 4th world
Team title, confirming her Egyptian Icon Statuts, after having
been the first ever Egyptian Athlete to become world number 1 in
Incredible performance from an incredible team, looked easy on
paper, but it was anything but… And one can only saluted
Shabana's guts to rest a world number 1 in the final of the
worlds, even with those odds....
week was always going to be about trying to manage the best team
Egypt has produced in women squash in years. The target was to
retain the World Open yes, but it also had to do with creating
this week as a launch pad for them to kickstart and carry
through for the season 2018/2019.
I tried to fire them up. I asked them, just before they started
to warm up, how many times they have won the world team title? I
know England has won it seven times – but how many times have
you won it, how many times did England win it?
“It is only four. So I said, you are not exactly favourites
here; you are not used to that feeling. You still have a long
time before you can say you are dominant – and that’s what I
wanted them to know. I wanted to remind them, it’s not us on top
of the mountain, it’s actually England on top of the mountain.
It’s up to us to work our way up to that.
“Australia won it 9 times, so we are not even among the two best
teams yet. We might be higher in the rankings but by far we’re
not the most dominant nation as of yet. Yes, we’re higher-ranked
right now, but people tend to think we have always been this!
"The danger in the future is coming from Hong Kong, Malaysia and
India – in that order. After that you can see USA coming up
next. Hong Kong have an amazing system, as does Malaysia. And
USA wants to show off that university mentality
You always forget about how hard it is for managers and coaches
to watch the players – especially on the women’s side where it’s
all about tactical squash, the attrition and speed has gone up
in the last ten years. But at the end of the day it’s very
tactical - and you can see the tactics going back and forth
So I am very proud of the girls especially after Nour El
Sherbini messed up her Achilles tendon yesterday so I am very
happy that they stuck together and kept it together.
It was a privilege to manage such an illustrious team and I can
only hope that I did the ladies champions and our nations proud
by winning the title and creating a week they can carry momentum
from and push them forward to more victories through their
coming season on tour.
Incha Allah! :))
Egypt 2-1 Hong Kong
Raneem El Welily
3-0 Joey Chan 11-8, 11-8, 11-9 (24m)
Nour El Sherbini 2-3 Annie Au
7-11, 11-8, 9-11, 12-10, 3-11 (51m)
Nour El Tayeb 3-0 Lee Ka Yi
11-6, 11-5, 11-6 (20m)
For the fifth year time in seven years, Egypt and England will
contest the final of the Women World Team Squash Championship in
China after the top two seeds survived semi-finals which
went the full distance.
Defending champions Egypt, boasting a powerful squad featuring
four players in the world top six, were the first to make the
final after overcoming surprise opponents Hong Kong China, the
fifth seeds who defeated No.3 seeds USA in the quarter-finals.
Second string Raneem El Welily, currently the world's
second best player, eased Egypt ahead following a straight games
win over Hong Kong left-hander Joey Chan.
the favourites suffered an uncharacteristic setback - for the
second time in 24 hours - when top string Nour El Sherbini,
the world No.1, went down in five games to the top-ranked Hong
Kong player Annie Au. Au led 1/0 and 2/1 - then
squandered a match ball in the fourth before finally closing out
the match 11-7, 8-11, 11-9, 10-12, 11-3 to level the tie.
Despite a brave fight in the decider, HK event debutant Lee
Ka Yi, the fourth string ranked 57 in the world, was no
match for Nour El Tayeb, going down to the world No.3
from Egypt 11-6, 11-5, 11-6.
number one player is always going to have a tricky match, but
you have to give it to the Hong Kong federation - their system
is amazing. I remember maybe 15 years ago, it was a surprise
when a Hong Kong player did well - now it's not a surprise! The
Hong Kong federation and the national team should be very proud
Even their number four player today was playing against our
number three player - and she was very promising. As the
Egyptian national team, we have to be very proud to have got
through this match.
But we're in the final now, so as far as I'm concerned, it's job
done for me. It was up to me not to lose before the final, and
if we do win this tournament none of the credit is to me. We're
playing with the best players in the world and all I am trying
to do is manage them and get the best out of them. Once they
step out on court tomorrow it's up to them.
So far so good!
Egypt 2-1 New Zealand
Nour El Sherbini 0-3
Joelle King 9-11, 9-11, 7-11 (35m)
Nour El Tayeb 3-0 Abbie
Palmer 11-2, 11-3, 11-4 (14m)
Raneem El Welily 3-0 Amanda
Landers-Murphy 11-4, 11-3, 11-2 (18m)
Hamdolelah made it to the semis after winning a tricky tie
against New Zealand.
Wish us luck tomorrow in the semis against Hong Kong isa :)
الحمدلله تمكنا من الوصول الي الدور القبل النهائي لبطولة العالم للفرق بعد
التغلب على نيوزيلاندا ٢/١ . ادعوا لنا بالتوفيق غدا ان شاء الله
امام هونج كونج
Egypt 3-0 Germany
Nour El Sherbini 3-0 Nele
Hatschek 11-7, 11-2, 11-5 (18m)
Nouran Gohar 3-0 Annika
Wiese 11-1, 11-2, 11-1 (13m)
Raneem El Welily 3-0 Saskia
Beinhard 11-6, 11-6, 11-2 (22m)
Egypt 3-0 Canada
Nouran Gohar 3-0
11-3, 11-4, 11-2 (16m)
Nour El Tayeb 3-1 Hollie
Naughton 8-11, 11-7, 12-10, 11-4 (39m)
Raneem El Welily 3-0
Danielle Letourneau 11-8, 11-7, 11-7 (24m)
Egypt 3-0 Australia
Nouran Gohar 3-0 Sarah
Cardwell 11-7, 11-8, 11-8 (29m)
Nour El Tayeb 3-0 Christine
Nunn 11-5, 11-8, 11-8 (24m)
Nour El Sherbini 3-0 Donna
Lobban 11-1, 11-2, 11-9 (20m)