Egypt’s world number ones lead star-studded field in the Al Ahram
By NATHAN CLARKE
The Great Pyramid of Giza, one of the seven wonders of the world, will provide the backdrop to a five-day squash extravaganza this September that will see Egyptian World No.1s Mohamed ElShorbagy and Nour El Sherbini lead a star-studded field at the 2016 Al Ahram International, the iconic tournament which returns to the PSA World Tour calendar for the first time since 2006.
Taking place in an open-air court in front of the Pyramids from September 19-23, the Al Ahram International will see players competing for a share of the $200k prize fund which will be split evenly across the Men’s and Women’s draws, the first time a major tournament in Egypt has offered parity in prize money.
Having dominated the Men’s Tour in 2015-16, claiming an unprecedented six of seven World Series titles, ElShorbagy will be firm favourite to claim the men’s crown while fellow Alexandrian El Sherbini, the 20-year-old World Champion and British Open Champion, is odds-on to deliver double home success.
ElShorbagy’s main rivals will come in the form of compatriots Omar Mosaad, the 2015 World Championship runner-up, three-time World Champion Ramy Ashour and French danger-man Mathieu Castagnet while El Sherbini will have to be at her best to hold off the challenge of Malaysian eight-time World Champion Nicol David and former World No.1 Raneem El Welily.
“This September’s tournament in front of the Great Pyramid of Giza is certain to be one the most spectacular settings in world sport and we are excited to be working with all partners to help ensure the tournament is a success,” said PSA CEO Alex Gough.
“Squash has an unmatched ability to showcase the most stunning locations in the world and the strength and depth in the playing field will lead to a truly spectacular exhibition of world class sport for both spectators and television viewers.”
A total of 56 players from 13 nations will travel to Giza for the tournament, with qualification beginning on Saturday September 17 at Cairo’s Le Lido City View Clubhouse.
2016 Al Ahram International, Giza, Cairo, Egypt.
Men’s First Round Draw:
 Mohamed Elshorbagy (EGY) v Cameron Pilley (AUS)
[WC] Youssef Soliman (EGY) v  Simon Rösner (GER)
 Ramy Ashour (EGY) v [Qualifier]
Fares Dessouky (EGY) v  Mathieu Castagnet (FRA)
 Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) v [Qualifier]
[Qualifier] v  Tarek Momen (EGY)
 Ali Farag (EGY) v Borja Golan (ESP)
[Qualifier] v  Omar Mosaad (EGY)
Women’s First Round Draw:
 Nour El Sherbini (EGY) v [Qualifier]
[Qualifier] v  Omneya Abdel Kawy (EGY)
 Alison Waters (ENG) v Victoria Lust (ENG)
[WC] Nour El Tayeb (EGY) v  Nouran Gohar (EGY)
 Raneem El Welily (EGY) v Joshna Chinappa (IND)
[Qualifier] v  Amanda Sobhy (USA)
 Camille Serme (FRA) v Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG)
[Qualifier] v  Nicol David (MAS)
Picture by STEVE LINE (www.squashpics.com) courtesy of PSA