Cartagena classic on the cards with Rodriguez out to topple Egyptian stars
By ALAN THATCHER
World number one Mohamed Elshorbagy aims to add the Colombia Open title to his collection of silverware in Cartagena next month.
The draw for the first ever Colombia Open has been made and will see World No.1 Elshorbagy headline proceedings when the 16-strong tournament gets under way in the coastal town of Cartagena on February 16.
The PSA M100 tournament, the biggest ever to be staged in South America, will be the most lucrative 16-man event ever with $115,000 in prize money up for grabs.
Elshorbagy will be favourite to take the title but will face stiff opposition from a high-quality field which also includes fellow Egyptians Omar Mosaad and Tarek Momen, but the crowd is sure to get behind home hero Miguel Angel Rodriguez, the world number five and the highest-ranking South American player in history.
His athletic style of play makes him a hugely popular visitor to every tournament he plays, and his presence in Cartagena is central to the whole operation in terms of promotion and media coverage, and, hopefully, ticket sales.
The draw also includes Qatar Classic semi-finalist Ryan Cuskelly, his fellow Australian Cameron Pilley, the Hong Kong Open runner-up, former World No.5 Borja Golan from Spain, and Indian national champion Saurav Ghosal.
With such quality in the mix, the 2016 Colombia Open promises to deliver a week of world-class action when it all gets under way on February 16 in an open-air venue in the stunning location of Plaza De La Aduana.
“Cartagena is one of the most picturesque cities in all of South America and we feel certain that the tournament, which will be played at sea-level, will become one of the most sought after on the PSA World Tour,” said Squash Colombia President Pablo Felipe Serna.
“As such we’re delighted to see such a strong selection of players wishing to come here and compete in the very first staging of the tournament and very much look forward to watching some world class squash action unfold here over what promises to be a thrilling week.”
Draw – 2016 Colombia Open, PSA M100:
 Mohamed Elshorbagy (EGY) v [WC] Andres Felipe Herrera (COL)
Tom Richards (ENG) v  Ryan Cuskelly (AUS)
 Marwan ElShorbagy (EGY) v Borja Golan (ESP)
[Qualifier] v  Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL)
 Tarek Momen (EGY) v [Qualifier]
Stephen Coppinger (RSA) v  Cameron Pilley (AUS)
 Saurav Ghosal (IND) v [Qualifier]
[Qualifier] v  Omar Mosaad (EGY)
All the action from the 2016 Colombia Open will be streamed live on SQUASHTV – visit www.psaworldtour.com/tv for more information.
Pictures by IRENA VANISOVA (squashpage.net) and STEVE LINE (squashpicscom)