Aged 15, Hania storms through qualifying into Mumbai semi-finals
Interview by LIESL GOECKER – Squash Mad India Correspondent
A fascinating story, and a fascinating interview with a qualifier who has made it into the semi-finals of the Indian Squash Circuit tournament in Mumbai. On the day 17-year-old Nouran Gohar beat Nicol David in China, the 15-year-old world No.77 Hania El Hammy was beating fellow Egyptian Nouran El Torky in India.
11 questions with Hania El Hammamy (Egypt)
1: What’s your favourite inspirational quote?
“The greatest pleasure in life is doing what people say you cannot do.” – Walter Bagehot
2: What’s your favourite pump-up song?
“Don’t Be So Hard On Yourself” – Jess Glynne
3: What is your favourite tournament?
I haven’t played many PSA tournaments, but my favorite times are when I travel with my brother because he is a squash player and he coaches me.
4: What do you eat before and after a match?
Before, I eat a banana. After, protein and a salad.
5: How much of the day do you think about squash?
I would say 75%
6: What has been your proudest squash moment?
When I won my first WSA tournament in Geneva at the age of 14.
7: When do you know you’ll have a good day of training?
When I have a specific target and work hard to reach it.
8: What is your biggest strength as a player?
A strong personality inside the court and my speed during the game.
9: What other squash player(s) (past or present) do you admire?
Raneem El Welily, because she is a talented and polite squash player. I really like to watch her and I have learnt a lot from her.
10: What’s your favourite shot?
Drop shot volley nick
11: What’s your favourite exercise?
Training with my coach, Islam Hany, as he is the person who understands my mood best.
From all of us at Squash Mad, Happy Birthday greetings to Hania, who was 15 on September 1st!
Report from the Indian Circuit quarter-finals:
El Hammamy juggernaut heads to semis
Egypt’s El Hammamy siblings are on a roll with another pair of wins in today’s quarterfinals. Karim El Hammamy (EGY) played an aggressive game against Mohamed Reda (EGY), working the corners while Reda tried to keep the game long. Reda took control in the second game, but struggled to hold on. In the third and fourth games, El Hammamy had Reda out of the T in long, pacey rallies. In the end it was a test of endurance, and El Hammamy took the match 11-6, 6-11, 11-7, 11-7 in 64 minutes.
“We know each other and train at the same club, so we know each other’s way of playing,” El Hammamy said. “He kept me to the back corners. We have a very contrasting game. In the second game, his basics were deep and he managed to control my game plan. I realized I had to play longer rallies to win the match, and I did.”
“Karim played quite well,” Reda said. “He finished the points better. It’s my first tournament of the season, so I had to get back in the rhythm. Hopefully I’ll be better for the next one.”
Photo above: Karim El Hammamy; Photo credit: Nitesh Square
Hania El Hammamy (EGY), too, slogged her way into the semi-finals with a win against countrywoman Nouran El Torky.
El Hammamy took control from the start, getting in front of El Torky and keeping her off the middle with some well-placed flicking. Game three saw El Torky refocus and mix up her game to be more physical. The decider match was close, but El Hammamy clinched it after several key unforced errors from El Torky, winning 11-7, 11-6, 6-11, 7-11, 11-7 in 50 minutes.
“I feel tired,” El Hammamy said. “I played well in the first two games, but in the other two, I lost my concentration and she played better. In the last one, I managed to play like the first two games again. The last game was really close, but I managed to win.”
Pictures by NITESH SQUARE courtesy of Indian Squash Circuit