Golf Club follows Dubai Opera and Burj Khalifa as stunning setting for PSA finals
By SEAN REUTHE
The world’s best squash players are set to appear at Emirates Golf Club between June 5-9 after the Professional Squash Association (PSA) today announced that the 2017-18 edition of the ATCO PSA Dubai World Series Finals will be staged on a specially-constructed all-glass showcourt on the premises of the historic 36-hole golf course.
The agreement, which was reached in association with event management company JK58, means that Emirates Golf Club will become the latest stunning venue in Dubai to showcase the PSA World Series Finals, with the 2015-16 edition held in the shadow of the world’s tallest building – the Burj Khalifa – while the 2016-17 instalment saw squash become the first sporting event ever to take place at Dubai Opera.
“During the past three years Dubai has proven to be the perfect destination for the PSA World Series Finals and I am excited to be taking the event back to the Emirate again this June,” said PSA Chairman and A. A. Turki Group of Companies (ATCO) Chairman Ziad Al-Turki.
“Every major sport in the world has a presence in Dubai and I’m delighted that squash continues to be a part of that. We have built a strong association with Dubai and Dubai Sports Council since first bringing the World Series Finals there in 2016 and this year we are excited to be working with Emirates Golf Club to put on another world-class sporting occasion.
“The World Series Finals is a showcase event for squash, something that fits perfectly with Dubai and Emirates Golf Club, and I look forward to welcoming some of the world’s finest athletes back to Dubai again on June 5.”
Dubai Golf Chief Executive Christopher May said: “We are delighted to be the venue for this prestigious event. Over our 30-year history we have welcomed a host of sporting legends and icons to Emirates Golf Club. We are all looking forward to what will be a fantastic tournament and witnessing another world-class sporting occasion at the club.”
In order to qualify for the PSA World Series Finals, players must finish in the top eight on the PSA World Series Standings, with points on offer at all eight World Series tournaments throughout the 2017-18 season and nine players (five men and four women) have already qualified after stellar performances in the first five events.
The top three qualification spots for both men and women are currently taken up by Egyptians. World No.1 and defending champion Mohamed ElShorbagy has been in blistering form this year, appearing in four World Series finals while winning three of them, and the 27-year-old currently tops the standings.
Fellow Egyptians Ali Farag, Tarek Momen and Marwan Elshorbagy fill second, third and fifth, respectively, with Germany’s Simon Rosner sitting in fourth after winning January’s J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions.
The 2016 World Champion Karim Abdel Gawad, three-time World Champion Nick Matthew and three-time World Series Finals winner Gregory Gaultier currently take up the rest of the spots inside the top eight.
The women’s line-up is led by World No.1 Nour El Sherbini, with Nour El Tayeb in second and World Champion Raneem El Welily in third. New Zealand’s Joelle King sits in fourth after a runner-up finish in the Windy City Open in February and her first appearance at the World Series Finals in June will come shortly after her gold medal success at this month’s Commonwealth Games in Australia.
France’s Camille Serme, defending champion Laura Massaro, Egypt’s Nouran Gohar and England’s Sarah-Jane Perry complete the top eight on the women’s standings, while two-time winner Nicol David currently sits 15 points behind Perry and, after falling to India’s Joshna Chinappa in the second round of the El Gouna International yesterday (April 22), has a real fight on her hands to qualify.
The battle for the final qualification places continues this week at the El Gouna International which concludes on April 27, with the final event, the Allam British Open, held from May 15-20.
With an equal prize purse of $160,000 on offer in both the men’s and women’s tournaments in Dubai, the five-day event will bring together the cream of squash talent, with players playing round-robin best-of-three matches as they battle for a place in the knockout semi-finals.
Tickets for the season-ending PSA World Series Finals will go on sale soon.
(Article by SEAN REUTHE. Edited by ALAN THATCHER)
Pictures courtesy of PSA