By ALAN THATCHER – Squash Mad Editor
The month of June is shaping up to be a major focal point for the game this year with dates for both the Allam British Open and the CIB PSA World Tour Finals now confirmed.
The University of Hull will host the 2021 Allam British Open, PSA World Tour Platinum tournament between Monday June 14 and Sunday June 20.
The leading players will then head to Egypt to compete in the the World Tour Finals at The Mall of Arabia in Cairo from June 22-27.
The British Open will go ahead subject to restrictions put in place by the UK government when squash’s longest-running tournament returns to the calendar.
Last year’s Allam British Open was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but a world-class field, featuring defending champions Mohamed ElShorbagy and Nouran Gohar, will head back to Hull to compete for one of the most distinguished trophies on the PSA World Tour.
A men’s and women’s event featuring 48 players in each will battle for $350,000 in total player compensation which will be split evenly between both draws. The Allam British Open will be the final tournament on the CIB Road to Egypt.
“The Allam British Open is one of the sport’s most prestigious tournaments and we’re delighted to see Dr Allam be the title sponsor for the record ninth consecutive time,” said PSA Chief Executive Alex Gough.
“We are optimistic that the planned COVID-19 roadmap in the United Kingdom will enable us to welcome fans back to one of our European tournaments for the first time since March, 2020.
“However, we will be monitoring developments closely and working together with Dr Allam, the University of Hull and England Squash over the coming months to ensure a safe and successful delivery of one of the world’s premier squash tournaments.”
England Squash Chief Executive Keir Worth said: “We are thrilled to reschedule the 2021 Allam British Open to June for what promises to be another exciting edition of this prestigious tournament. While there remains a great deal of uncertainty, we hope to welcome athletes and fans back to the University of Hull once again and will take every precaution for their safety.
“We are hugely grateful to Dr Allam for his continued support in sponsoring the tournament for the ninth time.”
Title Sponsor Dr Assem Allam said: “I am extremely proud to be involved with supporting The Open event for another year. After the cancellation of last year’s tournament I am confident we are able to deliver an excellent competition featuring some of the world’s top squash competitors.”
A specially constructed ASB Glass Show Court will showcase the best of the action inside the Allam Sport Centre while the traditional courts located within the same complex will also host matches in the early stages of the tournament.
Action from the Allam British Open will be shown live on SQUASHTV, as well as via the official Facebook page of the PSA World Tour (excluding Europe & Japan). The semi-finals and finals will also be shown live on the channels of contracted broadcast partners.
The Allam British Open will be held in accordance with strict COVID-19 protocols.
Mall of Arabia to Host CIB PSA World Tour Finals
The 2020-21 CIB PSA World Tour Finals will be held between June 22-27, 2021 when the world’s leading squash players will compete for the coveted title at Cairo’s Mall of Arabia.
The CIB PSA World Tour Finals – organised by Wadi Degla – is one of the most unique events on the PSA World Tour calendar and features only the very best players in the worlds, with eight men and eight women competing in a round robin best-of-three games group stage as they aim to progress to the knockout semi-finals and beyond.
To qualify, a player must either win one of the prestigious PSA Platinum tournaments throughout the season, while all other places are allocated to the highest ranked players on the CIB Road to Egypt Standings, with points on offer at all PSA World Tour events throughout the 2020-21 season.
“The CIB PSA World Tour Finals is one of our flagship tournaments and I look forward to watching the world’s best squash players compete at the Mall of Arabia in the summer,” said PSA Chief Executive Alex Gough.
“Karim Darwish did a magnificent job as tournament promoter of staging the 2019-20 CIB PSA World Tour Finals last October against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic and we’re pleased to see the finals move back to its regular slot in the calendar.
“The CIB PSA World Tour Finals pits the best of the best up against each other right from day one and has a different structure to any other PSA World Tour event. All of this makes for an enthralling spectacle and I’m excited to see how the week plays out in June.”
CIB PSA World Tour Finals Tournament Promoter Darwish said: “The CIB PSA World Tour Finals is one of the most prestigious squash events in the world. It’s the only event that all matches are between the top eight male and female players, and this shows how exciting the event is.
“The event was successfully organised by Wadi Degla for the last couple of years and I’m so looking forward to be part of this year’s event for the third consecutive year, at the very special place, The Park Mall of Arabia. This event is one of a few other events that is sponsored by the best private bank in Egypt, CIB, and could not have happened without their tremendous support.”
Commercial International Bank (CIB) Chief Executive and Board Member, Hussein Abaza, said: “CIB is proud to sponsor one of the most anticipated sporting events of the year. We are looking forward to witnessing Egypt’s squash champions compete against the world’s best squash players.
“We are committed to supporting sport initiatives in Egypt as an integral part of the bank’s social responsibility and community development, especially seeing that Egypt is considered an international squash hub.”
World No.1s Ali Farag and Nour El Sherbini have already qualified for the tournament after winning the CIB Egyptian Open titles in front of the Great Pyramid of Giza.
Tarek Momen, Fares Dessouky, Paul Coll, Marwan ElShorbagy, Mostafa Asal, Diego Elias and Joel Makin are the other men poised to qualify for the tournament as a result of their places on the CIB Road to Egypt Standings, but the likes of Mohamed ElShorbagy and Karim Abdel Gawad still have plenty of time to move up the standings between now and June.
El Sherbini tops the women’s CIB Road to Egypt Standings and is joined in the top eight by Nouran Gohar, Camille Serme, Nour El Tayeb, Hania El Hammamy, Sarah-Jane Perry, Amanda Sobhy and Joelle King.
View the CIB Road to Egypt Standings in full here.
A total of $370,000 in total player compensation will be up for grabs during the tournament, split equally between the men’s and women’s draws.
Pictures courtesy of PSA