Monday, June 24, 2024

Diego Elias and Nouran Gohar win World Junior titles

The 2015 world junior champions Diego Elias and Nouran Gohar
The 2015 world junior champions Diego Elias and Nouran Gohar

Elias wins back to back titles as Gohar topples top seed
By HOWARD HARDING  – Squash Mad Correspondent

Diego Elias and Nouran Gohar have been crowned the champions of the 2015 WSF World Junior Individual Squash Championships after triumphs in today’s finals in the Netherlands.

Peruvian Elias overcame Egypt’s Youssef Soliman at the Squashtime Centre in Eindhoven to retain the title he won for the first time last year in Namibia, and second seed Gohar upset top seed Habiba Mohamed in the other final to deny her Egyptian compatriot a second consecutive women’s title.

unnamedTop seed Elias, who last year became Peru’s first world squash champion, has been imperious form throughout the week.

The 18-year-old from Lima reached the final without conceding a game – then took on surprise finalist Youssef Soliman, a 3/4 seed from Egypt.

Elias – ranked 43 in the world, 133 places higher than his opponent – was forced to battle for 51 minutes before overcoming Soliman 11-6, 11-9, 11-8.

The win sees the South American squash star become only the fourth player in history to win the men’s world junior title twice, after Egyptians Ramy Ashour, Mohamed Elshorbagy and Marwan Elshorbagy.

“I feel very happy to win this title,” said the triumphant Elias. “It’s what you work for. It’s thanks to my supporters, trainers, and family – especially my Dad who pushed me and worked with me – making this happen.

“This has been an important month for me, with the Pan American Games where I played well to reach – and almost win – the final, and now this. It’s an honour to join the list of people who have won this title twice and I hope I can continue to progress as they have.”

After winning the women’s title for the first time last year at the age of 15 – beating Gohar in the final – Alexandria-born Habiba Mohamed had in her sights the potential to win the title an unprecedented four times.

But world No.15 Gohar – who had never before beaten her fellow countrywoman, yet was ranked higher than her 19-ranked opponent – was eager to disprove the seedings while endorsing the rankings.

Honours were shared after the first two games, but from five-all in the third Gohar burst ahead to take a 2/1 lead.

The fourth game was an epic – 30 minutes of unrelenting effort and tension. Mohamed led at 4-1 but Gohar levelled at 6-all. 7-all, 8-all, and 9-all. The favourite had four game-balls, and Gohar had two match-balls before finally converting her third with a low drive that former champion Mohamed had no chance of reaching.

The moment of victory for Nouran Gohar
The moment of victory for Nouran Gohar

“I can’t feel anything right now, I’m so happy,” said the delighted Gohar (pictured above after clinching her win) after her 11-6, 7-11, 11-7, 17-15 title triumph in 69 minutes.

“In the second game she played very well and I lost concentration, but then I played well again in the third.

“I didn’t think of last year at all, I know I played badly then and I didn’t want it to affect me.

“The fourth was so tough, if I’d lost that I don’t think I would have had anything left, I was so pleased to finish it in four, I really don’t know what happened at the end!”

Egypt have been named as top seeds in the 2015 WSF Women’s World Junior Team Championship which gets under way tomorrow.

Eighteen nations will be competing in the biennial event in which defending champions Egypt are expected to face second seeds USA in the final for the third time in a row.

WSF World Junior Squash Championships, Eindhoven, Netherlands

Men’s final:
[1] Diego Elias (PER) bt [3/4] Youssef Soliman (EGY) 11-6, 11-9, 11-8 (51m)

Women’s final:
[2] Nouran Gohar (EGY) bt [1] Habiba Mohamed (EGY) 11-6, 7-11, 11-7, 17-15 (69m) 

Pictures by SquashSite


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