CIMB Malaysian Open top seed Mohamed El Shorbagy of Egypt, seen here in last year's competition, can now concentrate fully on squash after completing his studies recently. - Filepic
KUALA LUMPUR: Balancing studies and squash is never an easy task as Egypt’s Mohamed El Shorbagy can testify.
The 23-year-old from Alexandria however has managed that to perfection, all at the same time of achieving a career high world No. 3 ranking, and reaching the semi-finals of the world championships last year.
Mohamed also picked up three titles since November last year - the back-to-back Qatar Classic, Sky Open in Cairo and the Motor City Open in Detroit this year.
Now Mohamed who completed his degree studies in business at the University of Bristol, is ready to take his career to the next step.
“It’s never easy doing both squash and studies. Sometimes I just felt like giving up squash, sometimes I just couldn’t carry on with studies,” said Mohamed.
“But I’m very happy that I have finally finished my studies. It has made me the player that I am today because I am a target driven person.
“And I can definitely concentrate more, and take my career to the next step. It’s every player’s dream to win the world title, the British Open and become world No.1. Hopefully I’ll achieve one of that at some point this year.
“And I’m definitely hoping to get the start I want at the Malaysian Open. I’ve came close in the past but I’ve never won it before so that is my drive.”
Mohamed who was a finalist at the 2012 CIMB Malaysian Open, losing to compatriot Tarek Momen, is the top seed and takes on Kuwait’s Abdullah Al Muzayen in the first round on Wednesday.
“I’m really excited to get going once more as I’ve had a good summer break and fixed a slight ankle problem that has been bothering me,” said Mohamed whose last tournament was the British Open in May in which he made the semi-finals.
“I know Abdullah, he’s a very capable player and very dangerous one as well. It will be a tough match for me mentally and I’m going out looking forward to using my experience and playing it at my pace,” added Mohamed.
With such a strong drive and desire, not to mention discipline, perhaps Mohamed is just the role model the Malaysian boys should look up to.