England’s Georgina Kennedy wins PSA Challenger Tour Female Player of the Year award after roaring up the rankings
By JANE BALL (Squash Mad Correspondent)
Egypt’s Nouran Gohar and New Zealand’s Paul Coll have been crowned the 2021-22 PSA Players of the Year, securing the honours after being chosen by a combination of votes from both the PSA Awards Committee and fans on the PSA World Tour website.
Gohar, a three-time recipient of the PSA Female Young Player of the Year, has picked up the main award for the first time in her career following a season which has seen her overthrow Nour El Sherbini to return World No.1, while the 24-year-old has also captured seven PSA titles.
Of those seven titles, four have come at prestigious PSA World Tour Platinum level events, where she has won the CIB Egyptian Open, U.S. Open, Windy City Open presented by the Walter Family and the CIB Black Ball Open. Gohar also won the DAC Pro Squash Classic, the Cincinnati Gaynor Cup and the J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions, while she reached three further finals.
El Sherbini came second in the voting after she beat Gohar to capture a sixth PSA World Championship title in Cairo in May. The 26-year-old also claimed titles at the CIB Squash Open Black Ball and the Squash on Fire Open.
Meanwhile, the PSA Male Player of the Year award also has a first-time winner, with New Zealand’s Paul Coll being recognised for a history-making season.
Coll won five PSA titles throughout the campaign, including the historic Allam British Open (twice), which made him the first man from New Zealand to win one of the sport’s most distinguished titles.
Those successes then saw him become the first male Kiwi ever to top the PSA World Rankings in March. The other titles Coll picked up during the campaign were the Canary Wharf Classic, the CIB Squash Open Black Ball and the Windy City Open. Coll is the first non-Egyptian man since France’s Gregory Gaultier in 2017 to win this award.
Farag, who this month overtook Coll to return to World No.1, finished second in the voting after winning a third PSA World Championship title, beating long-term foe Mohamed ElShorbagy in the final. That was one of six titles Farag won throughout the season, with the CIB Egyptian Open, Oracle NetSuite Open, Houston Open, Optasia Championships and J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions titles all being held aloft by the Egyptian.
Farag did, however, win the men’s PSA Spirit of Squash Award for the fifth time in six years. The award is voted for by PSA players and is presented to the players who best demonstrated true sportsmanship during the season. The women’s award went to Farag’s wife, Nour El Tayeb, who returned to the tour in December, 2021 after 14 months away from the sport following the birth of their daughter.
Egypt’s Hania El Hammamy collected the PSA Young Female Player of the Year award for the second time in a row after the 21-year-old broke into the world’s top three and won major titles at the Allam British Open and El Gouna International, beating Gohar in both.
Her compatriot Mostafa Asal was crowned the PSA Young Male Player of the Year, also for the second time in succession. Asal has reached the top four of the PSA Men’s World Rankings and captured his first two Platinum titles throughout the season, with those wins coming at the U.S. Open and the El Gouna International.
This year also saw the return of the PSA Challenger Tour Player of the Year award following its debut in 2020, with England’s Georgina Kennedy and Egypt’s Moustafa El Sirty walking away with the female and male award, respectively.
Kennedy, who has enjoyed a meteoric rise from World No.74 to World No.9 throughout the season, won four Challenger Tour titles, while El Sirty has risen into the top 30 of the men’s rankings after winning seven trophies.
2021-22 PSA Players of the Year.
PSA Male Player of the Year
Winner: Paul Coll (NZL)
Runner-Up: Ali Farag (EGY)
PSA Female Player of the Year
Winner: Nouran Gohar (EGY)
Runner-Up: Nour El Sherbini (EGY)
PSA Male Young Player of the Year
Winner: Mostafa Asal (EGY)
Runner-Up: Youssef Ibrahim (EGY)
PSA Female Young Player of the Year
Winner: Hania El Hammamy (EGY)
Runner-Up: Rowan Elaraby (EGY)
PSA Challenger Tour Male Player of the Year
Winner: Moustafa El Sirty (EGY)
Runner-Up: Nick Wall (ENG)
PSA Challenger Tour Female Player of the Year
Winner: Georgina Kennedy (ENG)
Runner-Up: Satomi Watanabe (JPN)
PSA Men’s Spirit of Squash Award
Winner: Ali Farag (EGY)
PSA Women’s Spirit of Squash Award
Winner: Nour El Tayeb (EGY)
Pictures courtesy of PSA World Tour