Araby and Tarek take titles in New Zealand finals
By HOWARD HARDING – Squash Mad International Correspondent
It was an Egyptian double – the fifth in the history of the tournament – today in New Zealand where Marwan Tarek and Rowan Reda Araby won the men’s and women’s titles, respectively, in the WSF World Junior Squash Championships at the Devoy Squash & Fitness Centre in Tauranga.
The 16-year-old Araby, the runner-up in Poland a year ago, pulled off a significant upset – leading in all games before beating top-seeded compatriot Hania El Hammamy 11-7, 11-9, 11-8.
The pair had contested three British Junior Open finals since 2013, all of them won by El Hammamy – but Araby made her breakthrough a year ago in Poland, beating her older rival for the first time in the 2016 World Junior semi-finals.
Spurred on by her most recent success, the Alexandria-based Araby charged to her straight games triumph over world No.35 El Hammamy – also 16, but from Cairo – in 33 minutes, becoming the seventh successive Egyptian winner of the women’s title.
“I am so happy,” said the 3/4 seed, ranked 15 places lower (pictured above). “I worked so hard for this title after coming second last year. “It’s difficult playing another Egyptian but there are no friends on the court and I worked hard to stay calm.
“I didn’t expect it to be three-nil. All the matches I play against Hania are normally close. This is just amazing. I’m sorry, I don’t really have many words right now.”
Both men’s finalists pulled off upsets in the semis – leaving the climax devoid of the event’s top two seeds for the first time since 2004.
Incredibly, Tarek was facing Victor Crouin for the first time since meeting the Frenchman in the British U13 Junior Open in January 2012! The match went the full distance, with 18-year-old Crouin – bidding to become the first ever world junior champion from France – twice drawing level after 18-year-old Tarek won the first and third games.
But after losing the first point in the decider, Tarek reeled off eight points in a row to take the match 11-9, 3-11, 11-6, 3-11, 11-2 in 58 minutes.
“I can’t think right now, I’m the world champion, I’m the world champion,” said the 17-year-old from Cairo repeatedly (pictured above). “Dreams do come true.”
Tarek revealed he was feeling the effects of his semi-final win against top seed Youssef Ibrahim. “I wasn’t 100 percent ready. My body was weak but this is the world championships and you have to survive.”
The Tauranga climax marked the first Egyptian double since 2013 – when Karim El Hammamy & Nour El Sherbini won the titles in Poland – but the fifth since the breakthrough success by Mohamed Elshorbagy and El Sherbini in 2009.
The WSF World Junior Team Championship starts on Tuesday, with Egypt favourites to claim the title for the sixth time in a row.
Tournament website: www.wsfworldjuniors.com
WSF World Junior Squash Championships, Tauranga, New Zealand.
[3/4] Marwan Tarek (EGY) bt [3/4] Victor Crouin (FRA) 11-9, 3-11, 11-6, 3-11, 11-2 (58m)
[3/4] Rowan Reda Araby (EGY) bt  Hania El Hammamy (EGY) 11-7, 11-9, 11-8 (33m)
Pictures courtesy of WSF