PSA clinch three-year deal with CIB as world champion Nour pledges to promote squash in Egypt
By SEAN REUTHE and ALAN THATCHER
The 2019-2020 PSA Women’s World Championship, the most prestigious squash tournament of the season, will take place in front of the Great Pyramid of Giza, the only remaining ancient wonder of the world, after an agreement was reached today between the Professional Squash Association (PSA), Egyptian events company I-Events and title sponsors CIB.
Due to take place from October 23 to November 1, 2019, the tournament will bring 64 of the best female squash players in the world together to compete for the sport’s biggest prize – and a share of a $325,000 prize fund – with the spectacular Pyramids set to provide a stunning backdrop for the first time since the Al Ahram Open was staged there in 2016.
The 2019-2020 event will also see a World Championship return to the Pyramids at Giza for the first time since 2006, when Australian David Palmer defied the odds to defeat Gregory Gaultier and win one of the greatest ever men’s finals.
The Great Pyramid of Giza is only one example of the spectacular locations that squash has helped enhance in a dynamic way over the past years. A glass court has been erected at incredible locations such as New York’s Grand Central Terminal, on top of the Peninsula Shanghai, which overlooks the city’s famous Bund, and the Théâtre Graslin in the French city of Nantes, among many others around the world.
“We are thrilled to announce that the 2019-2020 PSA Women’s World Championship will take place in Egypt and are very excited to be bringing the sport back to one of its most iconic and breathtaking locations,” said PSA Chief Executive Alex Gough.
“The PSA World Championship is the most significant title in squash. For our top female athletes to have the opportunity to compete for the sport’s grandest prize in front of one of the most historic locations in the world is something we are all excited by.
“The Pyramids at Giza have become synonymous with squash over the past two decades and have provided the sport with some of the most iconic sporting images of all time. The winner of next season’s World Championship will have the chance to write their name into squash folklore when they lift the trophy in front of the Pyramids.
“We have worked with I-events for almost a decade and have been continuously impressed with their ability to continuously raise the level of production at their tournaments. We look forward to working closely with them over the coming year to ensure the 2019-2020 PSA Women’s World Championship is one to remember.”
Commercial International Bank are the biggest private sector bank in Egypt. CIB Chief Executive and Board Member, Hussein Abaza, said: “We are thrilled to be sponsoring an event of this magnitude and importance, which bookends a significant track record CIB has built throughout the years to bring squash to the forefront.
“This partnership with PSA will not only propel engagement with the sport in the local arena but underscores our commitment to the exceptionally talented players who deserve a dedicated, engaged partner that wholeheartedly believes in their success.”
Tournament Director Amr Mansi said: “To bring the most important title in squash to one of the most recognisable landmarks in the world is both exciting and challenging and we are looking forward to delivering an event to remember in October 2019. I am happy that we are hosting two international Platinum tournaments in Egypt, the desire to have these championships play a significant role in reviving and restoring tourism in Egypt.
“The Pyramids of Giza are recognised around the globe and have become part of squash history. We were lucky to bring back the Al Ahram Open here in 2016 and we’re excited by the prospect of improving on that event to make the 2019-2020 World Championships one of the greatest ever squash tournaments.
“I’d also like to thank CIB, who have been supporting squash here in Egypt for a long time and have partnered up with I-Events for the next three years as a title sponsor to bring back the most iconic event on the PSA calendar.”
The 2019-2020 PSA Women’s World Championship will take place between October 23 – November 1, 2019 with a men’s PSA Platinum event due to be staged simultaneously. The PSA Men’s World Championship will take place in Doha, Qatar between November 7-15.
In addition to their sponsorship of the 2019-2020 PSA Women’s World Championship, CIB have also committed to becoming title sponsors of future tournaments in Egypt in both 2020 and 2021.
Cover girl Nour
She is named as one of the 30 most influential people under 30 years of age. In an interview, she revealed that she has an unfulfilled dream to work in the media. A former student of Media Administration, she says she intends to work on a project to introduce Egypt’s squash champions to her country and spread awareness about the sport among Egyptians. “Squash is a neglected game; it doesn’t receive much attention in the Egyptian media,” says the star player.
The article revealed that in 2018, she earned close to $195,000 from sponsors, up from $123,000 in 2017 and $39,000 in 2016. El Sherbini expects her earnings from sponsorships to reach $205,000 this year, while she has collected a total of $477,000 in prize money throughout her career. This figure was enhanced by the $72,500 she collected for her beating compatriot Nour El Tayeb in Saturday night’s World Championship final.
In 2011, young El Sherbini suffered a serious knee injury that nearly ruined her career in sports. “I was shocked when a doctor told me that it’s over, you won’t be playing squash again,” she remembers.
But Saturday night’s world title win in Chicago has placed her among the greats of the game, with many more achievements surely in the pipeline.
Pyramids picture courtesy of PSA