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Egypt wins squash world cup

As a result, squash powerhouse Egypt not only defended the crown it had clinched 12 years ago but also became the most successful team in the tournament’s history with two titles.

Egypt wins squash world cup

Squash World Cup podium finishers with Chief Minister MK Stalin, Sports Minister Udhayanidhi Stalin, WSF president Zena Wooldridge and SRFI life president N Ramachandran at the closing ceremony on Saturday

CHENNAI: Egypt lived up to its top billing and overcame a shaky start in the final to clinch the Squash World Cup with a 2-1 (4-1 when points for each match are taken into account) win over Malaysia at the packed Express Avenue mall here on Saturday.

As a result, squash powerhouse Egypt not only defended the crown it had clinched 12 years ago but also became the most successful team in the tournament’s history with two titles. Up against Malaysia, seeded fourth and whose players left everything on court, top seed Egypt had to toil for its victory.

The left-handed Xin Ying Yee provided Malaysia a dream start as she recorded a straight-game win over Kenzy Ayman in the tie’s first match. Yee ran away with the contest even before Kenzy could settle into rhythm and eventually emerged a 7-4, 7-5, 7-6 winner.

Yee saved three game balls in the third game and converted her first match-ball opportunity to raise hopes of an upset victory.

But normal service resumed in the second match, where Aly Abou Eleinen registered a hard-fought straight-game triumph over Darren Pragasam to level the tie score for Egypt.

The scoreline of 7-3, 7-6, 7-4 does not tell the entire story – despite being ranked much lower than his rival, Pragasam gave Eleinen a run for his money with his aggressive play.

But the Egyptian was up to the task and stamped his authority, even after suffering a cut below his left eye when the scorecard read 6-6 in the second game. Taking to the court after a medical timeout, Eleinen held his nerve at sudden death to make it 2-0.

“It was an intense match. There was interference down the middle and his (Pragasam’s) racket caught my eye. I just had to recover quickly. Every game counted and I just focussed on the next point,” said Eleinen, who got the job done in the third game.

With the victory, Egypt moved ahead in the tie – the Eleinen-Pragasam match was worth two points as it was the clash between the top-ranked men’s players.

The African heavyweight then took an unassailable 4-1 lead after Fayrouz Aboelkheir defeated Aira Azman 7-4, 7-5, 6-7, 7-6 in the tight third match that was also worth two points – it was the battle between the top-ranked women’s players.

Aira, who was not at her best on the day and looked deflated at times, saved four championship balls in the fourth game, only to go down in sudden death.

RESULT:Final: Egypt bt Malaysia 2-1 (Kenzy Ayman lost to Xin Ying Yee 4-7, 5-7, 6-7; Aly Abou Eleinen bt Darren Pragasam 7-3, 7-6, 7-4; Fayrouz Aboelkheir bt Aira Azman 7-4, 7-5, 6-7, 7-6; there was no match between Karim El Hammamy and Sai Hung Ong).

FINAL STANDINGS: 1. Egypt 2. Malaysia 3. India and Japan (shared) 5. Australia 6. Colombia 7. South Africa 8. Hong Kong


I am glad that I was selected in the national team to come and play the World Cup here (Chennai). Certainly, the victory adds value to my career. It is one of my best achievements; after all, it is the World Cup. We (Egypt) are glad to win the title again. The tournament was not organised for the last 10 years (it was last held in 2011 in Chennai), so we are happy to have come to Chennai and defended the title. The hospitality was great and everything was well organised at the mall (Express Avenue)

—Karim El Hammamy, Men’s World No.40

We are happy to win the title again. I am proud to win the World Cup. I am not happy with my loss (she went down to Malaysia’s Xin Ying Yee in straight games), but it is fine. All of us are thankful to head coach Mohamed Elkeiy and team manager Hossam Mohammed Gad Mostafa Ragab for supporting us throughout the tournament. Aly Abou Eleinen, Fayrouz Aboelkheir, we did everything to stay prepared for our matches. I am happy for all of us

—Kenzy Ayman, Women’s World No.56

I was a bit stressed at the beginning of my match [against Malaysia’s Aira Azman], but I am really happy now. I am really proud of my whole team. We worked really hard to win the title. It was a team tournament, so each one of us fought hard to win. The hospitality was perfect and I hope to come back to Chennai soon

—Fayrouz Aboelkheir, Women’s World No.33

It is one of my top achievements. It is an amazing feeling. Winning something for your country… representing your country around the world is an honour and privilege. This was the first time I represented Egypt in a team event, because I have lived in the United States for most of my career. I am so happy to achieve this with my team. We have an amazing group. We are of different ages, so it was a great opportunity for us to get closer. I think that we did a great job on and off the court… prepare each other and support each other. Without each other’s support, there is no way we could have won. To go for the title, you have to take one step at a time. If we had looked at the title [at the start], we would have slacked off. There was no room to slack off in any of the matches. I am glad that we took one step at a time. We go home with the title now

—Aly Abou Eleinen, Men’s World No.21

Put everything into two-point matches: Coach

Egypt’s Squash World Cup title-winning head coach Mohamed Elkeiy said that the African team devised a tournament strategy for securing maximum points from the matches that were worth two points.

In each tie at the World Cup, the match between the top-ranked men’s players and the contest between the top-ranked women’s players carried two points. The remaining two matches were worth one point each. In the final against Malaysia at the Express Avenue mall here on Saturday, Egypt won both two-point matches to emerge victorious 2-1 (4-1).

“We put everything into the two-point matches, we considered them as big matches. We started to work on it like that. On Friday, she (Fayrouz Aboelkheir) beat Japan’s Satomi Watanabe with the same strategy. On Saturday, she was more focussed and beat Malaysia’s Aira Azman,” said Elkeiy.

When asked about the challenge Malaysia came up with in the title decider, Elkeiy replied: “It was a difficult tie for us. We beat it 3-1 last time (in the group stage – Pool A), so we knew that it would come up with a fight.”

‘We have plenty of good players’

Egypt could not send its strongest bunch for the World Cup since its top players are preparing for the PSA World Tour Finals, scheduled in Cairo from June 20 to 25.

On going the distance despite their absence, Elkeiy said: “We have plenty of players, plenty of good players who can deliver good results and success. We chose players who can come and compete in this tournament. We tried to win all the ties.”

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