20 May 2013
From HOWARD HARDING
Ramy Ashour is seeded to become the first Egyptian since 1966 to win one of the world’s longest-established squash tournaments at the Allam British Open Championships in Hull this week.
The 25-year-old world number one from Cairo kicks off his campaign tomorrow (Tuesday) in the fourth PSA World Seriesevent of the year, which gets underway today at the KC Stadium in the English city of Hull, before reaching its final next Sunday (26 May).
Egypt is the powerhouse nation of world squash – currently holding the world senior and junior team titles, both for men and women, as well as the men’s and women’s world junior individual titles.
Ashour himself, a former two-time world junior champion, became the men’s world individual champion for the second time in December – and in January regained the world number one ranking to become his country’s third world-top-ranked player since 2006.
But the British Open, the event established in 1930 and which for many decades was regarded as the de facto ‘world championship’, has produced three Egyptian champions – FD Amr Bey (1933-1938), Mahmoud Karim (1947-1950), andAA AbouTaleb (1964-1966).
Ashour became the fourth Egyptian runner-up since AbouTaleb’s 1966 triumph last year – since when he has established a remarkable 36-match unbeaten Tour run, winning seven titles in a row including the Australian Open, US Open, Hong Kong Open, the PSA World Championship, the Tournament of Champions in New York, the North American Open and the Kuwait PSA Cup.
Furthermore, Ashour topped the April PSA world rankings with the highest points average ever recorded!
“Considering the status the country has established in our sport in recent years, it is quite remarkable that there hasn’t been an Egyptian British Open champion for nearly 50 years,” said PSA CEO Alex Gough.
“Ramy is probably the biggest favourite to win the title since the heyday of the Khans, Jahangir and Jansher, two decades ago – but there a lot of players in the field who will be keen to prove me wrong!”
Ashour faces fellow countryman Omar Mosaad, the world No10, in one of the event’s toughest first round clashes.
He is expected to renew his acquaintance with English rival Nick Matthew, the world No2 and defending champion from the event’s home county of Yorkshire, in a repeat of the 2012 final.
SquashTV cameras will be covering all matches live, from the first round through to the final – more details are available onwww.psasquashtv.com
Allam British Open 1st round draw:
 Ramy Ashour (EGY) v Omar Mosaad (EGY)
Nicolas Mueller (SUI) v [Q] Chris Simpson (ENG)
[LL] Joe Lee (ENG) v [Q] Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY)
 Borja Golan (ESP) v Adrian Grant (ENG)
 Mohamed Elshorbagy (EGY) v Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL)
Cameron Pilley (AUS) v Ong Beng Hee (MAS)
Simon Rosner (GER) v [WC] Adrian Waller (ENG)
 James Willstrop (ENG) v Stephen Coppinger (RSA)
 Gregory Gaultier (FRA) v Alister Walker (BOT)
Saurav Ghosal (IND) v [Q] Jonathan Kemp (ENG)
Tarek Momen (EGY) v [Q] Marwan Elshorbagy (EGY)
 Peter Barker (ENG) v [Q] Mohd Ali Anwar Reda (EGY)
 Karim Darwish (EGY) v [Q] Andrew Wagih Shoukry (EGY)
Daryl Selby (ENG) v Olli Tuominen (FIN)
Laurens Jan Anjema (NED) v [Q] Ryan Cuskelly (AUS)
 Nick Matthew (ENG) v [Q] Henrik Mustonen (FIN)
For all the latest Tour news: www.psaworldtour.com