Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Ukraine U-turn as squads are announced for the Women’s World Team Championship in Cairo

Nour El Sherbini looking forward to defending team title on home soil
By ALAN THATCHER (Squash Mad Editor)

Ukraine WILL be sending a squad to compete in the Women’s World Team Championship in Cairo after all.

The Ukraine Squash Federation decided to withdraw from the event after claims that Egypt had supported an illegal referendum on the governance of territories captured by the invading Russian forces.

The Egyptian government has strongly denied these claims despite the Ukraine media publishing reports suggesting the contrary.

This olive branch from Egypt has led to the Ukraine squash federation having a change of heart and it is understood that other nations will help to fund Ukraine’s tournament expenses.

However, the Poland squash federation, having decided to boycott the event in support of Ukraine, is sticking to its decision and has decided to invest the funding into junior development instead of sending a team to Egypt.

The entry list contains 17 teams who will compete at Cairo’s Madinaty Sports Club between between December 10-16.

WSF president Zena Wooldridge (fourth from left) visits the Madinaty Sports Club’s all-glass show court earlier this year

The tournament has not been held since 2018 due to the global Covid-19 pandemic.

The Women’s World Team Squash Championship is a biennial international tournament which sees four-player squads from each country battle it out in best-of-three-match clashes.

Hosts and defending champions Egypt will go in as strong favourites. Three of the four players who won the Dalian 2018 tournament still play at the highest level, with Nouran Gohar ranked World No.1, Nour El Sherbini ranked World No.2 and Nour El Tayeb ranked World No.6.

The 22-year-old Hania El Hammamy is expected to add to the reigning champions’ already considerable firepower, with the World No.3 beginning the 2022-23 PSA World Tour season with a win at the Platinum-level CIB Egyptian Open.

Amanda Sobhy (left) and Gina Kennedy are among the stars expected to compete in Cairo

Joining Egypt as a fancied team will be England, beaten finalists in 2018 and winners of this year’s European Team Championship.

Since the 2-0 defeat to Egypt in China, England have added a number of young and dangerous players to the squad, including Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games Gold medallist Georgina Kennedy, who took the squash world by storm last year as she rose from World No.185 in May 2021 to World No.8 in July 2022.

Also tipped as a team to watch is the USA. Team USA’s best-ever finish was fifth in 2018, 2016, and 2014, but this year will have a number of the game’s top players to choose from, including World No.4 Amanda Sobhy, World No.11 Olivia Fiechter, World No.18 Sabrina Sobhy (younger sister of Amanda), and World No.20 Olivia Clyne.

As well as Ukraine, Chinese Taipei will make their World Team Championship debut, while former World No.2 Camille Serme, who retired from the PSA World Tour in June 2022, is set to make a competitive return to the sport for the France team.

The powerful Egypt squad (left to right) Raneem El Welily, Nouran Gohar, Nour El Sherbini and Nour El Tayeb with the World Teams trophy they won in 2018

Nour El Sherbini, who won the tournament with Egypt in 2012, 2016 and 2018, said: “It’s amazing. The last time the World Championship was in Egypt, I was very young and still living in Alexandria. I came all the way to watch the finals and it was one of my best memories, coming over to watch our team winning the tournament!

“I’ve never played a World Teams in Egypt and I’m so excited for it!”

WSF President Zena Wooldridge, OBE, visited Madinaty Sports Club to tour its squash complex earlier this year. She was greeted by Assem Khalifa, President of the Egyptian Squash Federation, and Hatem Hassan, the Managing Director of TM Sports, and various club officials.

The luxurious Madinaty club, which hosted this year’s Egyptian National Championships, has 11 courts including a show court with seats for 500 spectators.
In March, the club also hosted the Egyptian Junior Championship, which attracted an entry of 1,600 players.
Squash at the Madinaty Sports Club

Wooldridge said: “It is very fitting for the WSF Women’s World Team Championships to close off what has been an action-packed 2022 WSF calendar. Championships so far this year have shown how eager and appreciative players and coaches are to be back following a 2-year interruption.

“The camaraderie between players and nations has been brilliant to witness. World Team Championships are a very special experience for players and due to the four-year gap since this event was last played there will be an unusual number of debutantes, which brings a fresh dynamic to the teams and the competition, which is very exciting.

“Our thanks to the Egyptian Squash Federation, their supporters and sponsors for hosting this important Championship. I’d like to wish all the teams an enjoyable and successful Championship. We’re looking forward to a fabulous event in Cairo.”

Further tournament details, including team rosters and broadcast information, will be announced shortly.
Women’s World Team Squash Championships 2022, Madinaty Sports Club, Cairo, December 10-16.

Entry List

Chinese Taipei
Hong Kong, China
South Africa

The Madinaty Sport Club’s Facebook page

Pictures courtesy of WSF and Madinaty Sports Club 


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