Ramy: As long as I’m breathing, I’ll keep trying
By SEAN REUTHE in Cairo
Egypt’s Karim Abdel Gawad is the 2016 Wadi Degla PSA Men’s World Champion after his final opponent in Cairo, three-time winner Ramy Ashour, was forced to retire in the fourth game of their climactic clash after a reoccurrence of the hamstring injury that has ravaged the last two years of his career.
Gawad, the 25-year-old World No.3 from Giza, battled back from a game down to go 2-1 up after a series of explosive rallies brought a vociferous crowd at the Wadi Degla club to their feet time and time again.
But, just two years after he marked a return from six months on the sidelines by taking the 2014 World Championship title, Ashour was unable to repeat the feat as his troublesome hamstring flared up again with the maverick 2-1 down in the fourth to hand the title to Gawad, who becomes only the third Egyptian of all time to hold the sport’s most illustrious title after Amr Shabana and Ashour himself.
“I still can’t believe it,” said Gawad. “It has been a very long week, I didn’t have a good start, but I think I had good performances this week. I’m grateful to my team as I was able to get back on court today after my match yesterday.
“I need to thank my parents, my father, my mother, my sister and my fiancée, who support me always, and came this week to help me win this. Also, my coaches, Omar Abdel Aziz, Mohamed Abbas, and my fitness coach, Ali Ismail.
“The results I have had this season are 50% my work, but 50% their effort, and they work hard to keep me fit and allow me to recover between tournaments when we have a very short time between events.
“I feel very sorry for Ramy for having the injury again and not being able to complete the match today. He’s a great ambassador for our sport and we are all happy to have him around at the tournaments.
“He’s great for many generations and all the generations learn a lot from him, even me. I wish him a speedy recovery.”
Ashour said: “It was an honour to play this week. I’ve been through a lot, and every time I fall down I learn.
“As long as I’m still breathing, I’ll just keep trying. It’s the thing that I feel so much happiness when I do and thank you all for being here today.”
$325,000 Men’s Wadi Degla PSA World Championship 2016, Wadi Degla Club, Cairo, Egypt.
 Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) bt  Ramy Ashour (EGY) 3-1: 5-11, 11-6, 11-7, 2-1 retired (50m)
Pictures courtesy of PSA