Omneya has the drive to keep going strong in squash

Omneya in action during a match against Delia Arnold at the world meet. - FAIHAN GHANI/The Star

Omneya in action during a match against Delia Arnold at the world meet. - FAIHAN GHANI/The Star

KUALA LUMPUR: It’s hard to stay motivated if you have been in a game for a long time.

That’s why it’s surprising to see 30-year-old Omneya Abdel Kawy still plodding on despite having made her professional squash debut while still in her mid-teens.

The world No. 6 is a trailblazer of sorts since becoming the first Egyptian woman to win the World Junior Squash Championships in 2001.

She is also the first Egyptian player to have reached the world championship final, losing to Malaysia’s Nicol David in 2010.

Omneya has clearly added colour to the game, with her racquet skills on court and witty answers off it.

So, what keeps her going then?

“I’m just enjoying playing on tour these days ... without any pressure,” said Omneya.

Omneya Abdel Kawy of Egypt (front) making a return to Malaysia's Delia Arnold in the second round of the Naza Women's World Championship at the National Squash Centre in Bukit Jalil. Delia Arnold lost to Omneya Abdel Kawy with 11-9, 8-11, 9-11, 8-11. FAIHAN GHANI/The Star.
Omneya playing without pressure nowdays

“Back in those days, I would put too much pressure on myself and things just didn’t work out for me ... now, it’s much better.

“These days, even if I go out there and lose my next match 3-0, and hit a bunch of tins, it’s fine because I know I’m enjoying the game right now.

“Of course, I still want to win tournaments and be the world No. 1 someday ... but I’m not forcing it.

“In a way I feel like I’m like a junior again ... taking baby steps to achieve my goal and work on things from scratch once again.”

Omneya, who is the oldest Egyptian player, is certainly blooming late into her career.

She reached three World Series semi-finals – US Open, Qatar Classic and Hong Kong Open – last year and was a quarter-finalist in three events – Tournament of Champions, Windy City Open and the British Open – this year.

Even if she doesn’t get past the quarter-finals of the Naza Women’s World Championship this year, the Egyptian said that “I’m still contented and happy with my contribution to the sport”.