Ramy and Nouran set the pace after Hong Kong victories
By NATHAN CLARKE
The 18-year-old World Junior Champion Nouran Gohar and three-time Men’s World Champion Ramy Ashour have taken the first steps towards qualifying for the lucrative season-ending Dubai PSA World Series Finals after taking the honours at the first PSA World Series Tournament of the 2016/17 season – the Cathay Pacific Sun Hung Kai Finical Hong Kong Open.
Come June 2016 only the top eight players on the standings will qualify for a coveted place at the Dubai PSA World Series Finals, with every match in the PSA World Series vital in determining who gets a shot at one of the sport’s most prestigious and financially rewarding titles, and Gohar left it until the last moment to qualify for the prestigious tournament last season.
A good run at the Allam British Open, the final event on the calendar, secured her a place amongst the top eight but she began the 2016/17 season in red hot form, defeating World No.2 Laura Massaro and World No.3 Nicol David before downing US star Amanda Sobhy to take the Hong Kong crown and sit atop the Road To Dubai Standings on 100 points.
“It was such a great feeling to be in Dubai last season and be among top eight players in the world, so I’m really going to work hard this season to make sure I can qualify again,” said Gohar.
“I have started very well here in Hong Kong but I will have to continue to push hard and see how it goes throughout the season.”
Ashour, the 28-year-old who missed out on competing in Dubai last season despite a late charge towards the climactic event on the calendar, showed signs that he has recovered from his injury woes as he saw off compatriot Karim Abdel Gawad in a highly entertaining five-game finale in Hong Kong.
The victory means Ashour takes the maximum 100 points on offer – more than he accumulated throughout the entirety of the 2015/16 season – to top the standings after one event with 2016 Dubai PSA World Series Finals winner Gregory Gaultier and World No.1 Mohamed ElShorbagy both outside the top eight after surprise second round defeats last week.
The journey towards the Dubai PSA World Series Finals continues on October 8 when the Delaware Investments U.S. Open gets underway in Philadelphia. Gaultier and Massaro will be hoping to successfully defend their titles as the Road To Dubai intensifies.
The 2017 Dubai PSA World Series Finals will take place from June 5-9 at the Dubai Opera, further information can be found by visiting www.worldseriesfinals.com
Pictures courtesy of PSA