Wednesday, June 19, 2024

World Squash 2024: Diego Elias and Nouran Gohar finally lift showpiece

Diego Elias and Nouran Gohar, two former World No.1s who had never lifted the sport’s showpiece title, finally prevailed in commanding fashion to win the 2024 World Championship on Saturday night.

Elias became the first South American to win the world title after he overcame World No.3 Mostafa Asal on a sweltering night in Cairo, winning 11-6, 11-5, 12-10 after 61 minutes. Moreover, he stopped the stranglehold of Egyptians who had won the last seven editions.

The 27-year-old from Lima became the first non-Egyptian since Frenchman Gregory Gaultier in 2015 to win the PSA World Championships and his win over Asal came 24 hours after he had ended a six-match losing streak to end World No.1 Ali Farag’s run of three successive World Championship titles. 

“I just can’t believe it, it’s been a dream week since the start and I’m super happy to have my whole team here and for all the people who are supporting me back home,” Elias said after winning his 18th PSA title.

“I want to thank all the people who have been helping me with my squash and Jonathon [Power] was here at the start of the week. Also having Greg [Gaultier] has been a massive help for me the last few years, all of them made a big difference in my game and I can’t thank them enough. I also want to thank all my sponsors that have supported me all these years.

“It’s going to be huge [in South America], it’s going to be massive in Peru for all the people who have supported me throughout all these years. To be honest, I don’t know how I feel right now, I haven’t processed it yet, but I’m just very happy.”

Meanwhile, World No.2 Gohar denied El Sherbini the opportunity to equal the great Nicol David’s record of eight World Championship trophies after completing an 11-8, 9-11, 11-7, 11-5 victory.

El Sherbini’s form in the sport’s pinnacle event had yielded 35 wins in a row, but Gohar became the first woman since Raneem El Welily in 2017 to get the better of El Sherbini at the PSA World Championships.

Gohar had succumbed to defeats in the last three PSA World Championship finals, but the 26-year-old put those demons to bed in a mesmerising display that saw her pull away from one game apiece to record an 11-8, 9-11, 11-7, 11-5 triumph after 81 minutes. The win has seen Gohar lift her 26th PSA title.

“I don’t think I’ve ever been emotional like this before,” Gohar said afterwards.

“Usually I show very little emotion but this means so much. I kept on saying that I don’t want to stop until I’m World Champion and I can’t really believe it. [Nour] El Sherbini reached the final 10 times and that’s an unbelievable achievement for her. 

“The people around me, I’ve given them a hard time because I always want everything to be perfect. Two people that I miss the most today are my husband and my mum, two important people besides my father, and it’s because of him I’m playing this game, so thank you for everything.”

Results – Men’s Final: 2023-24 CIB PSA World Championships

[3] Diego Elias (PER) bt [4] Mostafa Asal (EGY) 3-0: 11-6, 11-5, 12-10 (61m)

Results – Women’s Final: 2023-24 CIB PSA World Championships

[3] Nouran Gohar (EGY) bt [1] Nour ElSherbini (EGY) 3-1: 11-8, 9-11, 11-7, 11-5 (81m)

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