A little catch up with what the CIBSSquashTeam has been up to in the first six weeks of the year. And some of them have been pretty busy! Let’s start with the men..
Tarek Momen had a great start of the year in India 77K CCI International in Mumbai.
He fended dangerous off Youssef Ibrahim – nicknamed Golden Boy as he is extremely talented – then SpanishIker Pajares, a very fresh Ramit Tandon in the semis – as his quarters opponent Saurav Ghosal had to retire injured – and finally the ComeBack Fearless Fares Dessouki in the final, a long and gruelling 80m battle against the Alexandria Boy just back from 14 months away from the Tour.
On to the ToC, Tarek had a very tough draw, starting with a tough win against Abouelghar in his first round 11/6 in the 5th, 70m. After the ‘Skills’, the ‘Legs’, as he faced French Acrobat Grégoire Marche, Tarek’s nightmare, that he contained in 4 games and again 70m. Quarters, he ousted Mosaad in 3 and less than 40m, but couldn’t pass by Ali Farag in the semis, 3/0, who went on winning the event.
So, for Tarek, a 77K win and a Platinium semi out of two events, not to mention a runner-up in the Egyptian Nationals.
Mohamed Abouelghar also had a good start, although of course he didn’t had a great TOC, courtesy of above mentioned Tarek Momen, losing in his first round! But he made up for it in the 70K Motor City Open, an event he was seeded 3 for.
He had a pretty difficult first match against home favourite Todd Harrity with two tie-breaks and four games. Then another tough encounter against Englishman Adrian Waller, 11/9 in the 5th, passed through compatriot and serious solid all around player Zahed Salem 11/9 in the 4th, and vanquished Diego Elias 11/8 in the 5th.
That victory shows that Abou has finally found some consistency, and should be get higher in the ranking pretty soon.
Karim Abdel Gawaddidn’t start the year as superbly as he finished it – not exactly surprising, he needed a bit of a rest! – but still reached the semis of the TOC. He had a close call in his first round, down 2/0 against Welsh Joel Makin, who injured himself. We will never know if Karim would have done his normal ‘I give you the first two games but still win the match’ routine…
He then continue by stopping Fares Dessoukiin the round 3, another tough one, 11/4 in the 5th. But what a match he produced against Simon Rosner in the quarters, a superb 3/0, and finally bowed to Shorbagy for the revenge of BlackBall….
We finish withAli Farag, who is definitely the Man of the Hour….
He started the year with a superb ToC that he won in his first ever TOC final, and what a journey he had. Round one, former world number one and Chess Master James Willstrop, 3/1. Then another Englishman Daryl Selby with probably the three hardest games he will ever play, 15-13; 12-10, 13-11!
He went on mastering one of the most dangerous players around – especially on a warm court that is the Central Station – Superman Paul Coll, 3/0 in less than 50m and as we mentioned, containedTarek in the semis in 42m…
And what to say about that final against Mohamed Shorbagy!!!?? If Ali was to win, he would be World number one in March. Repeat story than in BlackBall, but in BB, Gawad didn’t have anything to lose, while Ali had the pressure.
This time round the stakes were huge for both players. And it started well for Shorbagy, leading 2/0 and 6/2 up. A turn of events led Ali to take the next 9 points and finally the next two games, taking not only the title, but the world number 1 ranking from Mohamed…
As prestigious as the ToC in his mind – although less lucrative, was the fact that Ali clinched the National Title yet again – for the second successive year, along with his wife Nour….
Talking of Nour El Tayeb, let’s have a look at her start of the year.
TOC, she defeated Scot Lisa Aitken in 20m, then faced home favourite Amanda Sobhy, 11/7 in the 5th. Another quick one in the quarters, 27m against Alison Waters, but in the semis fell against Nour El Sherbini3/1 who went on to win the event.
Onto to 51K Clevelandevent, that Nour dominated throughout. 19m against Rachel Arnold in her first round, then 3/1 against Emily Whitlock – 2019 National UK runner-up, then confirming her dominance of Alison Waters, 3/0 in 33m. Her hardest match was against Tesni Evans in the final, 55m in 4 games…
Like I already mentioned, she thenwon the Egyptian Nationals along with Hubby Ali Farag…
Raneem El Welily did only two events during this period. She had a great TOC,beating successivelyMariam Metwally in 20m, then Joshna Chinappa in 39m, “chopped” Nouran Gohar – Nouran dixit – in 28m, contained Joelle King in four hard game in 50m, but couldn’t find her A game against a Nour El Sherbinion fire, 3/0.
As forNouran Gohar, like Raneem, she played only two events, quarterfinalist in the TOC and runner up in the Egyptian Nationals.
The CIB Princess Crown is awarded to Hania El Hammamy.
The newest CIBSquashTeam member had a superb British Junior Open, reclaiming her U19 crown she initially won in Jan 2017, but couldn’t defend last year because of the Saudi event. She beat Jana Shiha in the final, quick 3/0, not having dropped a game during the Championship.
She went on to the TOC, beating Emilia Soini 3/0 in 19m, and next round managed to take a game from Sherbini (one of the only 2 games Sherbini lost the whole event).
Off to Edinburgh, she didn’t lose a game the whole event again, beating Olivia Blatchford Clyne in 32m in the final. Four days later, she was playing in the Cincinnati Cup, and zoomed through all her opponents (Danielle Letourneau, Mariam Metwally and Hollie Naughton) 3/0, and upset the seedings when she took out Vicky Lust in the final 3/0….
She then flew back to Cairo to participate to the Nationals, falling finally to Nouran Gohar in the quarters, having landed from the States the night before.
Just think that this amazing athlete is still a junior, and is still at school.. She is in her last year before the French Baccalauréat and soon will be able to focus entirely on her PSA career. Here is a frightening thought for the rest of the world….