Home-town pride is at stake for Amanda Sobhy in ToC final as women enjoy parity with the men
By NATHAN CLARKE in New York
America’s top-ranked female squash player Amanda Sobhy will tonight take on Egyptian Nour El Sherbini in the final of the 2016 J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions when the biggest prize fund in the tournament’s history, the winner’s share of $150,000, will be on the line.
The prestigious PSA World Series tournament, staged inside New York’s iconic Grand Central Terminal, this year committed to parity in prize money between men and women athletes for the first time in history and Sobhy, who downed World No.2 and defending champion Raneem El Welily in a remarkable run to the final, now finds herself within one victory of the most lucrative win of her career.
The TOC became just the third World Series tournament to offer prize money parity, after the Delaware Investments U.S. Open and Guggenheim Partners Windy City Open, but with all PSA World Series events committed to reaching equality over the next few years Sobhy’s surge in Grand Central marks the beginning of a bright future for women’s professional squash.
“It’s an amazing time for women’s squash at the moment, there are so many players at the top of the game playing well and winning titles and to be in a position where we have equal prize money with the men in another major event, and now at all World Series tournaments here in the USA, is an incredible achievement for the sport,” said Sobhy.
“Having parity is fantastic for us and gives us all extra motivation to push ourselves even more because we work just as hard as the male players do. To have our dedication and hard work recognised in that way is such a boost for all the players on tour.”
Tournament promoter John Nimick said: “With record prize money offered in both the Men’s and Women’s events and parity in the prize money for the first time in the tournament’s history, the J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions is proud to continue its legacy as a pioneering event that showcases the best of what the sport has to offer.”
Sobhy, competing in her first ever World Series final, takes on El Sherbini at 7pm EST (12 midnight GMT) in the title decider, which will be followed by the men’s final between England’s Nick Matthew and defending champion Mohamed Elshorbagy of Egypt.
“For me, to be competing in my first ever World Series final here in New York, my home town, is incredible,” added the 22-year-old.
“The atmosphere here in Grand Central Terminal is the best in squash and it’s an amazing place to play in so if I could get my hands on that trophy it would mean everything to me.
“To win my first major World Series title in New York in front of all my friends and a full house – it couldn’t get any better.”
The finals of the 2016 J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions, PSA World Series tournament, takes place in New York’s iconic Grand Central Terminal on Jan 14 with all the action shown live on SQUASHTV and broadcaster partners around the world
Pictures by STEVE LINE (www.squashpics.com) courtesy of the PSA