Tuesday, February 7, 2023

USA seeded above England for Women’s World Team Championship

By Mike Dale

USA have been seeded above England for the WSF Women’s World Team Championship at the Madinaty Sports Club in Cairo from December 10-16.

Team USA will enter the Championship as second seeds behind hosts Egypt – and the States will hope to better their highest finish of fifth, which they have achieved at the last three tournaments in 2014, 2016 and 2018.

America’s growth as a squash nation has been reflected more in the women’s game than the men’s in the last few years and for the first time, their line-up are all world top 20 players: world no.5 Amanda Sobhy, world no.10 Olivia Fiechter, world no.15 Sabrina Sobhy and world no.20 Olivia Blatchford-Clyne. They will be led by national coach Ong Beng Hee.

England’s demotion in the seedings is partially caused by the withdrawal of Commonwealth Games gold medallist Gina Kennedy due to ongoing health problems – as revealed by Squash Mad last month.

Next week’s Women’s World Teams are the first in four years, with the pool stage running from December 10-12 followed by the knockout stages from December 13-16.

USA no.1 Amanda Sobhy enters her fifth world team championship with a 16-5 career record. She said: “It’s been four years in the making and I think we’ve all been looking forward to this event for a long time.

“The two extra years we were handed has only made us hungrier and has allowed us to grow as individuals, improve and get our rankings up to showcase who we are as players and the dominant force that Team USA is. To be seeded two is a huge privilege, not something we’re taking lightly and we’re really looking forward to it.

“We know that we can rival Egypt and to be playing in Egypt against the best team in the world is truly the biggest stage. We know it won’t be easy, but we’re excited to compete for each other, US Squash, our country and everyone who’s supported us in the process.”

No.2 Fiechter is set for her second World Team Championship appearance a decade after her first in 2012. She added: “The first time I played at the Women’s World Team Championships I was 17 years old and it’s been a long time since then. I know I’m very different player now.

“When I decided to go pro in 2018, it was definitely one of my goals to make this team and represent our country at the world team championship. I know everyone’s working really hard and we’ve all had great seasons. There’s no reason why we can’t take it home and if we all play our best squash, anything’s possible.

“If I’ve learned anything from my professional career so far, it’s don’t limit yourself with your goals and the sky is the limit. All of us are playing incredible squash at the moment. We’re fortunate to have a year under our belt at the Specter Center with the incredible staff supporting us. When we all play our best squash, we’re some of the best players in the world.”

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