Monday, 17 March 2014 | MYT 10:17 PM
Egyptian women ready to rise to the occasion
Egyptian trio of Omneya Abdel Kawy, Nour El Sherbini and Raneem El Weleily ready to make their mark at the Women's World Championships in Penang.
GEORGE TOWN: Egyptian players are a great force in the women’s junior squash scene. Now, they are ready to make the step up to conquer the senior scene as well.
There are four Egyptian world junior champions in the main draw of the 29th Women’s World Squash Championship 2013.
Between them, Raneem El Weleily, Nour El Sherbini, Omneya Abdel Kawy and Nour El Tayeb have won seven world junior titles. But it is the holy crown of women’s squash – the World Championship – which they badly crave to complete Egypt’s rise to the pinnacle.
World No. 3 El Weleily, the 2005 and 2007 world junior champion, is the best bet to end Egypt’s drought. She reached the 2012 World Open semi-finals before losing to world No. 2 Laura Massaro of England.
“I agree that the Egyptian girls are the best at junior level, but we have yet to make a transition of our domination to the senior scene,” said the 25-year-old El Weleily, who is again in the same half as Massaro.
“I don’t think that Egypt are a powerhouse in women’s squash because we have not produced results consistently to trouble the top players. I hope to see more of my compatriots coming through the ranks to play in top-level competitions.”
Abdel Kawy, the 2003 world junior champion and 2010 World Open finalist, disagrees with El Weleily and feels that Egypt are moving in the right direction to dominate the sport.
“The way our juniors are performing, it is just a matter of time before an Egyptian woman lifting the world title. Anything is possible, and you never know if one of us can spring a surprise (this week),” said the 28-year-old.
El Sherbini, 18, has won three world junior titles in 2009, 2010 and last year. She is tipped as a future world champion following her meteoric rise back in 2010, but has seen her ranking plummet from No. 4 to No. 27 over the past year.
“I have not got past the second round in the World Open, so my aim is making the quarter-finals first. Anything more after that will be considered a bonus,” said El Sherbini.
The teenager, who opens her campaign against 12th seed Kasey Brown of Australia, will find it tough to make the last eight as she faces a potential second-round clash against fourth seed Alison Waters of England.
El Tayeb, the 2012 world junior champion, is also a dark horse in the tournament. The 21-year-old Egyptian national champion had to go through the qualifying rounds before booking her place in the main draw.
“I guess there is a lot of Egyptian girls doing well because squash is a popular sport back home. We have many legends to look up to like Amr Shabana and Omar El Borolossy. This is why many youngsters pick up the sport in my country,” said El Tayeb, who has yet to clear the first round in her four previous attempts in the World Championship.