Women’s Worlds cancelled as nations set to pull out of Men’s World Teams
By LEE HORTON, ALAN THATCHER and ALEX WAN
The Women’s World Individual Championship, scheduled for Malaysia in two weeks’ time, has been cancelled. And, on a Black Monday for squash, nations are understood to be set to pull teams out of the Men’s World Team Championship in Egypt.
The cancellation of the Women’s World Championship has been confirmed by media outlets in Malaysia. The tournament is scheduled for December 14-18 in Kuala Lumpur. However, a media invitation to view the championship trophy has been recalled because “the event is off” according to a PR agency.
Live Update from Alex Wan in Singapore: The Women’s World cancellation is confirmed through a PR company in Malaysia. They had sent out press invites for the unveiling of the trophy on December 4th. But today they have sent out another note saying it’s cancelled because the event is off.
Players were meeting in Hong Kong today to discuss the situation ahead of the Hong Kong Open.
The Women’s World Championship promoters, the Hallmark Events Group, are understood to have emailed the players and have apparently cited “security fears” for the tournament being in danger of cancellation.
Media outlets in Malaysia are understood to be poised to publish articles confirming that the event will not go ahead.
Live Update from Alex Wan in Singapore: The meeting in Hong Kong has closed with players being told that a decision will be announced within two days.
Published prize money states that there will be a fund of $185,000. However, there has been zero advance publicity about this event, which is now just a fortnight away.
A major event like this would usually launch a publicity campaign several months in advance.
To our knowledge, no media releases have been issued concerning the venue (believed to have been a slot between the Petronas Towers) or any title sponsors.
A visit to the Hallmark Events Group Facebook page shows just two posts, dated August 2014, concerning a three-year agreement with the old WSA (prior to the merger with the Men’s World Tour) giving them the rights to stage the event with a media release promising a “guaranteed” prize fund of more than $500,000 over that term.
A published link from their Facebook page to their website produces this response:
http://www.hallmarkeventsgroup.com is unavailable or may not exist
Squash Mad revealed the news that several nations were unsure about sending squads to Cairo for the Men’s World Team Championship because of security issues following the terrorist attacks in Paris which resulted in the deaths of 130 people.
Today saw the deadline for nations to submit their final team line-ups to the World Squash Federation.
We understand that several nations are concerned about security issues following the Paris atrocities, and the escalation of bombing raids on Syria, and may pull out.
The fact that teams from France, the USA and England are scheduled to appear at the Al Ahly Club venue is an obvious cause for concern.
While the Egyptian government and the state tourism industry are keen to promote Cairo as a safe destination, and major squash events have been successfully staged in Cairo and El Gouna in the past year, visiting nations have been appraised of fluctuating safety levels by their security advisers.
The terrorist group known as ISIS (or Daesh) is known to have strongholds in the Sinai area of Egypt and in neighbouring Libya.
Cairo squads announced
Hosts Egypt are expected to reclaim the WSF Men’s World Team Squash Championship title in Cairo in December according to the seedings announced today by the World Squash Federation.
Fifteen of the top 20 players in the world are due to compete in the 25th biennial championship which will take place at the Al Ahly Club in the Egyptian capital from December 12-18.
Egypt boast a formidable four-man squad led by world No.1 Mohamed Elshorbagy and including three further players from within the world top 12: third-placed Ramy Ashour, No.6 Omar Mosaad and No.12 Tarek Momen. But the favourites are sweating on the recovery of Ashour, who is missing the current Hong Kong Open due to the recurrence of a hamstring injury.
Competing in their third successive final in the 2013 championship in France, Egypt went down 2-1 to England – who lifted the trophy for the fifth time since 1995. The defending champions – the 2015 event’s second seeds – will be led by world No.2 Nick Matthew, supported by Daryl Selby (world No.16), event debutant Chris Simpson (No.23) and James Willstrop, the world No.24 who defeated the top-ranked Elshorbagy in the recent PSA World Championship.
France, runners-up in 2003 and 2009, are seeded three and will be led by the newly-crowned world individual champion Gregory Gaultier. Record eight-time champions Australia are the fourth seeds.
The full list of participating nations, in seeding order, is:  Egypt,  England,  France,  Australia,  Hong Kong China,  Germany,  India,  Scotland,  South Africa,  New Zealand,  Mexico,  Pakistan,  Malaysia,  USA,  Switzerland,  Finland,  Canada,  Argentina,  Colombia,  Austria,  Qatar,  Republic of Korea,  Iraq.
Pool A:  Egypt,  Pakistan,  USA
Pool B:  England,  Mexico,  Malaysia,  Iraq
Pool C:  France,  New Zealand,  Switzerland,  Republic of Korea,
Pool D:  Australia,  South Africa,  Argentina,  Austria
Pool E:  Hong Kong China,  Scotland,  Canada,  Colombia
Pool F:  Germany,  India,  Finland,  Qatar