EGYPT were crowned the All-Africa Junior Squash champions as the curtain came down on the event at St John’s Squash Club in Zimbabwe. The six-day championships, which started last Thursday, featured six countries — Namibia, Malawi, Zambia, South Africa, Egypt and Zimbabwe.
Egypt finished top of the tables with 84 points as they dominated both team and individual events with their players scooping titles in both the boys’ and girls’ category.
Mazen Hesham beat his countryman Mostafa Bayoumi 3-1 to scoop the gold medal.
Hesham was impressed with his performance as he said it was his first appearance in the African championships.
“I feel happy, it was my first African championship and my first time to play in Zimbabwe.
“It was tough, especially the South Africans, they were really good. I think I played some of my best matches here.
“I think Africa is getting better now. The tournament was really nice, my whole team enjoyed staying here,” said Hesham.
Third place went to Nell Van Der Merwe of South Africa who beat Egypt’s Shehab Essam 3-0.
Kanzy El Dafrawi won the girls’ title when she beat Salma Hatem 3-1 in the finals. Hatem said she was happy with the level of competition despite the withdrawal of some countries that were scheduled to take part in the event.
“It was a very good tournament, there were a lot of countries even though three nations pulled out.
“However, in terms of organisation it was a bit bad on the first day because we played two matches on the same day we arrived, of which we were a bit tired.
“But everything else was good, the atmosphere was good and most of the matches were easy,” said El Dafrawi.
With most of their players reaching the semi-finals, South Africa A team came second with 69 points and their B team was on third place with 65 points.
Zimbabwe A team settled for fourth position having amassed 51 points while Zambia were fifth with 40 points.
Sixth place went to Zimbabwe’s B team while Namibia and Malawi finished on seventh and eighth position with 19 and 0 points respectively.
Zimbabwe’s number one player, Faisal Hassan, said the tournament was a learning curve for them.
“The Egyptians played very well, they are ahead of us but we hope to catch up with them.
Chairman of the Zimbabwe Junior Squash, Mark Ralphs, said being able to host the championships will help in promoting the game.
“This is very much part of getting squash into a more high profile sport.”