Tuesday, March 21, 2023

As top kids learn lessons from Egypt’s superstars, Russia hopes for rich results in the future

By ALAN THATCHER – Squash Mad Editor

Two leading Russian juniors are training with the world’s top stars in Egypt. Moscow-based twins Varvara Esina and Makar Esin are gifted 16-year-olds with a solid pedigree in the European junior rankings.

They have been invited to train at one of the world’s most spectacular squash centres, the Black Ball Sporting Club in Cairo. They are learning their craft at the Black Ball Academy run by former Egypt national team coach Ashraf Hanafi.

As part of their squash education, the Russian players have also visited several different clubs and have practiced with superstars Ali Farag, Mohamed Abouelghar, Mostafa Asal and Omar Mosaad.

This dream experience has been arranged by Austrian court construction company COURTWALL, owned by Wolfgang Denk (pictured). The juniors also received major support from their home club, Squash Club Moscow, which arranged a crowdfunding exercise to extend their stay in Egypt to one month.

Fuelling the need for extra facilities demanded by the phenomenal success of squash in Egypt, COURTWALL have already installed more than 100 courts around the country.

As well as the dazzling show court at the Black Ball Club, COURTWALL have also installed top-class facilities at Madinaty City, Al Ahly, Heliopolis, Hurghada and many others.

With Egyptian players dominating the senior and junior global rankings, these clubs are proud symbols of the nation’s position in the sport.

If youngsters Varvara and Makar continue to improve, their successes could help to trigger a similar squash expansion in Russia.

The twins were born in Nizhniy Novgorod and moved to Moscow in 2019.

Both already have shown considerable promise and achievement. Varvara is 2020 national champion, No.1 in the national female rankings (both juniors and adults) and No.4 in the European girls’under-17 rankings.

Makar is currently No.3 in the senior Russian male rankings, No.1 in the national junior rankings and at No.10 in the European boys’ under-17 list.

COURTWALL boss Denk said: “This is a great example of international cooperation. As a company, we want to support future emergent squash markets like Russia by supporting talented junior players.

“There is a lot of potential in these countries and it would be very important for the further development of the sport of squash in Europe to have players from more nations in and around the top of all European ranking lists.”

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Anton Odintsov, Courtwall’s representative in Russia, said: “While most of the squash courts are closed around the world and international tournaments are on hold, there are still some places where squash is growing.

“Russia is a great example of this. The game started almost from zero around 15 years ago and is now experiencing a mini breakthrough. The number of courts has almost doubled over the last five years.

“Our juniors are climbing to the top of the ESF rankings, with Russian players at one and five in the boys Under-13s, No.7 in the girls’ Under-19s, No.10 in the boys Under-17s, No.4 and 10 in the girls’ Under-17s, No.4 in the boys’ Under-15s, and No.4 and No.8 in the girls’ Under-15s.

“Our women’s national team won the European Teams Championship (Division Three) gold medal in 2019.

“We have a forward-thinking federation investing a lot of effort in promoting squash via public glass court events.


“We hold a big number of amateur tournaments, involving local celebrities and putting huge energy into social media, with some of the squash videos attracting more than 456K viewers.”


In business for more than 35 years, COURTWALL™ is today one of the leading squash court brands in the world.

In 2019, COURTWALL™ launched the new Play Wall System 4.0, which involves silica and sand refills in a high density wood system, comparable to other leading brands like ASB or Courttech.

Now COURTWALL™ is the only company in the world market offering all technical possible materials for play walls, being a full accredited WSF company.

Company founder and managing director Wolfgang Denk said: “I have understood for a long time some product advantages form the systems used by ASB and Courttech, but my philosophy was to build up an international competition by using a completely different system with melamine surfaced high density wood panels for a lower price.

“After Courttech’s bankruptcy in 2019, I found it was the time to improve the silica sand refill system, and add it to the COURTWALL™ portfolio. The markets immediately accepted our new product and in the first year we sold a reasonable number of new courts and renovation walls.

“If the game of squash is to grow across the world then that process must start with the building of courts.

“We are very keen to be a major part of that process.”

Pictures courtesy of COURTWALL™ and ANTON ODINTSOV


Related articles

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Latest articles