Two time World Junior Champion, the first Egyptian athlete to reach World Number One in any sport, Senior World Champion in 2017, serial winner of the ‘Spirit of Squash’ end of season award, winner of 24 PSA titles (most of them major ones) in 18 years on the tour, 4 times World Team Champion, World Number One for the last 19 months … Raneem El Welily has announced that she is retiring from professional squash, as of now.
Tempting as it is to think up a snazzy headline, none of the ‘calling it a day’, ‘hanging up her racket’ options do justice to the event – “Raneem Retires” says it all.
That’s the bad news – the good news is that one of the reasons for her decision is that she and husband Tarek Momen – the reigning Men’s World Champion – are expecting their first child.
We have Raneem’s own words, and plenty of reactions from the whole squash world as they come in … plus you can relive all the reaction when she became world #1 … oh, and a few thousand photos too …
Raneem | Reaction | Becoming #1 | Photos | Tumblr
Dearest Squash Family, Fans and Friends,
For the past year or two I must have written these words in my head over a thousand times. Squash has been my life for the past 25 years, but the time has come for me to say goodbye.
What a ride it has been. When this journey started, I never thought that it would take me this far. I have been so fortunate to have witnessed many generations play the game, to have been inspired by so many legends, and to have been a part of such a great era.
So for one last time, sorry this is going to be long 😄 but I’ve always felt that I’ve expressed myself better in writing, so here goes.
Now anyone who knows me well, knows how much I value my relationship with those around me, which is why it is no surprise that this post (to me at least) is mainly to thank anyone who has helped and supported me throughout my career, sometimes with just a word or even a smile.
Starting off with my heroes and my number 1 fans – my parents. They are literally the reason behind everything that I’ve achieved and everything that I am today. Thank you for the endless sacrifice and love.
Tameem, my brother, whom I always struggle to find the right words for. Thank you for always being there, in every possible way. A manager, a coach, a friend and of course a brother.
My big wonderful family, words will never do you justice, you have been there every step of the way and for that I will always be grateful.
Now comes the hardest one of all. Over the years I’ve trained with many coaches, and I’ve always considered myself so lucky to have crossed paths with a number of talented, experienced and passionate coaches whom I had the chance to spend time with and more importantly learn from both in Squash, as well as on a personal level. And while I wish I could mention them all one by one, unfortunately the character limit won’t allow me.
So I think it’s fair that I mention those who I’ve been working with over the past few years or even decade. One common and very important factor, which I’ve always found to be key between a coach and his player, is chemistry. And to say that I’ve found just the perfect chemistry with this team would be an understatement.
In 2010 I started working with Haitham Effat, my squash coach, and I’ve probably been playing squash through his eyes ever since then. He has been my guide on court and it is through his talent and vision that I was able to reach my best, time and time again.
On to my strength and conditioning coach, Ahmed Faragallah, who since 2009 has managed to keep me fit and strong for the game. Over the years we’ve managed to improve, develop and grow together. His efforts and talent are something I will always cherish.
While I’m sure both Haitham and Ahmed will forever be a part of my life, I have to admit that saying goodbye to the tour will be one thing, and saying goodbye to both their DAILY involvement in my life is a whole different thing. I will miss the most.
This next gentleman is someone very special who I’ve crossed paths with by mere coincidence. Playing against Dipika during World’s at Wadi Degla in 2014 (my most famous World’s to date :D) I rolled my ankle, and in comes the doctor from @Dura Clinics. Mohamed Amin, the most talented physiotherapist I have ever worked with.
I would also like to thank Dr. Hani Wahba, my nutritionist, for his work with me over the past couple of years. And Ms. Hala Metwally my masseuse, for all her energy-boosting sessions.
To my friends, what can I say, thank you for having always accepted me as I am and for always being there for me through all the ups and downs, even though my schedule never allowed me to do the same for you.
I would also like to thank my sponsors for their faith in me as an athlete but most importantly as a person. Within each of the following entities, I’ve found respect, appreciation, examples of powerful role models and amazing human beings.
Harrow sports has had my back since 2005 when I was still a junior, all thanks to Mark Hayden.
Wadi Degla, the club that’s been my home for the last 7 years. The whole Wadi Degla family welcomed me with open arms from day one and helped me fit right in. It was an honor to wear that logo on my shirt and play next to the best team.
This all wouldn’t have been possible without the efforts of the one and only Karim Darwish.
CIB, the bank that changed the squash scene in Egypt in no time —thank you for supporting me and for everything you keep doing for Egyptian Squash.
Hussein Abaza — getting to know has been a treasure.
And Abu Qir Petroleum, while they don’t sponsor me now, I will never forget the fact that you supported me early on for more than 10 years, back when sponsorships were very, very rare
My fellow players and Egyptian teammates (especially the girls), it has been a wonderful journey. Playing with you as opponents or teammates over the years has been a joy. Thank you for all the wonderful memories. I will really miss you.
Huge thank you to all the fans and supporters all over the world for all your love and appreciation. You guys are the essence of our sport 🙏🏼
And last but obviously not least, my wonderful husband – traveling the world with you and getting to share this journey with you has been a huge blessing, but the fact that you’ve been very patient, letting me do things at my own pace and never pressuring me to take this step is THE BIGGEST blessing of all. I hope you’ll keep shining in squash for a very long time.
I don’t know what the future holds for me career-wise, but I do know, that starting a family with Tarek is a priority for us. And whatever challenges life may throw our way, I hope that I will be ready to face them.
I may be saying goodbye to the competition, BUT I’m not saying goodbye to all the memories (good and bad), all the bonds and friendships I have built, all the good times I’ve had with my peers, and many other wonderful things that will forever live with me.
This is not a sad goodbye, for today I say goodbye with two smiling hearts 🙂