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Saturday September 7, 2013 MYT 6:56:00 PM
Saturday September 7, 2013 MYT 6:57:45 PM
by kng zheng guan
Raneem El Weleily (right) will be defending her Malaysian Open title this month.
PETALING JAYA: World No. 3 Raneem El Weleily has enjoyed an extraordinary rise in women’s squash since breaking into the world top 10 in 2011.
The cheerful Egyptian - world junior champion in 2005 and 2007 - is one of the few players, besides England’s Laura Massaro, to give world No. 1 Nicol David a serious challenge.
She defeated Nicol twice in the past 12 months - first to win the CIMB Malaysian Open last year before doubling her feat at the Cleveland Classic in February.
After surviving the political turmoil in Egypt, the 24-year-old Weleily who trains in Cairo is ready to resume playing competitively.
And that means trouble for her rivals, starting with the defence of her title in the Malaysian Open, to be held from Sept 10-15.
“To be honest, what went down in Egypt has put everyone - not just us players - under a lot of pressure,” said Weleily.
“We had days when we did not leave our homes, let alone train. But hopefully it’s all for the best because a better Egypt is what we all dream of.
“In terms of squash, it’s been an amazing journey so far but I’ve had some inconsistent results this year and I’m hoping that a better season lies ahead.
“Right now, I’m just hoping to play some good and consistent squash because it’s been a long time since my last tournament and I’m really looking forward to playing.
“Laura is in my half of the draw in the Malaysian Open but she’s way too far ahead to think about now. I just want to take things slowly, one step at a time.”
Weleily is the third seed for the Malaysian Open and takes on India’s Joshna Chinappa in the first round.
She should make the semi-finals to take on second seed Massaro.
Meanwhile, Weleily added that she can’t wait for the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to announce its decision on which of three sports will be included in the 2020 Olympic Games - a choice of squash, wrestling and baseball/softball. The decision will be made Sunday (Monday morning Malaysian time).
“Having squash in the Olympics would be the best news ever and it’s the moment that all of us squash players have been waiting for.
“We are all waiting ... not so patiently for the decision.
“As far as celebrations are concerned, I’m already on my way to Malaysia and I’m sure it will be done in order. So, fingers crossed that it’ll be in our favour,” added Weleily.
Tags / Keywords:
squash, Raneem El Weleily, Egypt, Malaysian Open, IOC, International Olympic Committee, 2020 Olympics, Olympic Games
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