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Egyptians Dominate Quarter-Final Line-Up In Alexandria

Sunday, 07 June 2015 11:27 PM PST
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\n \n \nThere will be Egyptian interest in all four quarter-finals of the Women’s Alexandria International after Alexandrians Nour El Sherbini and Raneem El Welily thrilled the home crowd on the second day of last sixteen action with  victories in the WSA International 100 squash event at Bibliotheca Alexandrina.\nEighth seed El Sherbini, a three-time world junior champion, delighted the partisan crowd – and the governor of Alexandria – with a powerful performance against England’s Jenny Duncalf.\nThe 19-year-old was in impressive form, despatching 32-year-old former world No.2 Duncalf 11-3, 11-6, 11-5 in 25 minutes.\n“I’m so happy to be in the quarters here in Egypt, in front of my family, my friends,” El Sherbini told the event website www.alexandriainternationalsquash.com later. “Thanks to my coach and my sponsors and to all the sponsors that made this event possible!”\nWorld No.2 El Welily, born and raised in Alexandria but now based in Cairo, lined up against the Indian number one Dipika Pallikal.\nThe second seed was made to work to overcome Pallikal, ranked 17 places lower. El Welily took the opening game and squandered a lead in the second to allow the world No.19 from Chennai to draw level.\nThe local heroine had to fight back to take the third in a tie-break – but soon took control of the fourth to win 11-9, 9-11, 12-10, 11-3 after 41 minutes.\n“I am struggling with my game, with my momentum,” admitted El Welily later. “Dipika played very well, but then again, nobody plays badly anymore. What made the difference in the fourth? The support!”\nEl Sherbini will face a second successive English opponent in the event after former world champion Laura Massaro overcame USA’s ninth seed Amanda Sobhy in four games.\nIt was Sobhy’s first Tour event since graduating from Harvard University last month – and the 21-year-old from New York stemmed Massaro’s two-game lead by taking the third before the England number one regained the upper hand to close out the match 11-7, 11-8, 9-11, 11-7 in 45 minutes.\n“It was a good match, I thought that all the games were quite competitive,” said the world No.4 from Preston. “Amanda has been playing very well, she has just graduated from college, I’m not sure how much training she’s done, so I’m happy to manage to get one more win before she goes full time!”\nEl Welily will face France’s Camille Serme for a place in the semi-finals. In the last match of the evening, the recently-crowned British Open champion pulled away from seven-all in the opening game to beat Guyana’s Nicolette Fernandes 11-7, 11-6, 11-3.\n“It was tough,” said Serme. “It was hot and we don’t normally play this late so I’m pleased to get through to the quarters, and because I’m playing Raneem the crowd and the atmosphere will be great.”\nEgyptians also claimed two of the four quarter-final slots on offer on the first day of play in the second round when Nour El Tayeb and Omneya Abdel Kawy secured four-game wins over qualifiers.\nFifth seed El Tayeb took 62 minutes to overcome compatriot Kanzy El Defrawy 11-6, 10-12, 11-7, 11-7.\n“We’re good friends and practice a lot together, so it was a little strange to play her in a match like this,” world No.5 El Tayeb told the event website later. “It was a tough match, I’m just delighted to be in the quarters!”\nSeventh seed Abdel Kawy, the former world No4 who had to come from behind to beat Australian Donna Urquhart in a dramatic five-game first round match, also had to overcome a deficit in her second round clash with Mariam Metwally.\nBut the 29-year-old ultimately got the better of Metwally, beating the 18-year-old 11-13, 13-11, 11-7, 11-9 in 45 minutes.\n“I was so up and down, the whole match, I felt like I was the one that won or lost,” said the relieved world No.9. “Thank God I managed to take the second game, it was really crucial.”\nEl Tayeb will now face favourite Nicol David, the world number one from Malaysia who is seeded to win her first title in Egypt since claiming a record eighth world crown in December in Cairo.\nDavid survived two tie-break games as she overpowered Nouran Gohar, the 17-year-old 11th seed from Cairo, 13-11, 11-3, 12-10.\nEngland’s No.3 seed Alison Waters awaits Abdel Kawy. The world No.6 from London defeated 16-year-old Egyptian Habiba Mohamed 11-8, 11-7, 11-13, 11-8.\nAlexandria International, Egypt, Second Round\n[1] Nicol David (MAS) bt [11] Nouran Gohar (EGY) 13-11, 11-3, 12-10 (40m)\n[5] Nour El Tayeb (EGY) bt [Q] Kanzy Emad El Defrawy (EGY) 11-6, 10-12, 11-7, 11-7 (52m)\n[7] Omneya Abdel Kawy (EGY) bt [Q] Mariam Metwally (EGY) 11-13, 13-11, 11-7, 11-9 (45m)\n[3] Alison Waters (ENG) bt [16] Habiba Mohamed (EGY) 11-8, 11-7, 11-13, 11-8 (53m)\n[4] Laura Massaro (ENG) bt [9] Amanda Sobhy (USA) 11-7, 11-8, 9-11, 11-7 (45m)\n[8] Nour El Sherbini (EGY) bt [12] Jenny Duncalf (ENG) 11-3, 11-6, 11-5 (25m)\n[6] Camille Serme (FRA) bt [15] Nicolette Fernandes (GUY) 11-7, 11-6, 11-3 (33m)\n[2] Raneem El Welily (EGY) bt [13] Dipika Pallikal (IND) 11-9, 9-11, 12-10, 11-3 (41m)\nFull coverage: www.alexandriainternationalsquash.com \n\n

Story Cited From: http://worldsquash.org/ws/?feed=rss2

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Croatia Crowns WSF Ambassadors’ Balkans Tour

Thursday, 28 May 2015 7:32 AM PST
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\n \n The Croatian Squash Federation brought the 2015 WSF Ambassador Programme tour to the Balkans to a mighty climax with an action-packed two-day visit to the Croatia capital Zagreb.\nMalaysia’s world No.1 Nicol David and Spain’s highest-ranked squash player of all-time Borja Golan led the latest World Squash Federation initiative in the third leg of a week-long trip which began in Serbia and then took in Romania.\nLaunched four years ago, the ongoing WSF international promotional project takes two leading squash players, together with an international coach and referee, into younger squash nations to help raise the sport’s profile – through clinics, exhibition matches, refereeing and coaching seminars, and media presentations.\nA 7.00am start on the opening day saw David & Golan discussing the appeal of squash live on the HRT1′s “Good Morning Croatia” – and less than an hour later, the WSF Ambassadors were welcomed in the Zagreb Town Hall by the city’s dynamic Mayor Milan Bandic.\n\n\n\n“It’s a great honour to host you here in Zagreb,” said the sport-loving Mayor (pictured above with David & Golan) who is in his fifth four-year term. “We are more than ready to host more events in squash here.”\nBandic, who later posted pictures of the visit on his Facebook page, was so taken by the squash ambassadors that he invited them to join him for lunch later in the day at the city’s annual flower show at Bundek Park.\nBut the group’s next appointment was with the Croatian Olympic Committee and Vice President Morana Palikovic Gruden. “Squash is a great sport,” said Ms Gruden, who is also Chairwoman of the Women in Sport Commission.\nCroatian Squash Federation President Vedran Režić thanked Ms Gruden for the NOC’s backing. “Our association has always had the full support of the Croatian Olympic Committee and we are very grateful for that.\n“The squash family in Croatia is small, but the world family is a big one.”\nGruden added: “The city’s mayor is a big friend of sport. We hope that Zagreb will be the European centre for squash.”\n\n\n\nThe WSF party also met Croatian Olympic Committee President Zlatko Matesa, a keen squash player (pictured above, centre, with [L to R] Režić, Golan, David & Andrew Shelley). “The success of squash in Croatia is all down to Vedran Režić,”said Matesa.\nMedia interest in the sport’s Zagreb visit continued unabated back at the city’s biggest club SquashTower where a press conference attracted a variety of media including HRT1, Nacional, HRT Radio, Zdrava Krava, 24H, Radio Kaj, Radio Martin, Radio Z1 and Jabuka TV.\n\n\n\nAfter lunch with Mayor Bandic, the party returned to SquashTower to meet Croatian players (pictured above).\nThe climax of a six-month wait for Franka Vidovic came when the 10-year-old stepped onto the court with Nicol David.\n“I want to be like Nicol,” gushed the local prodigy who only took up the game two years ago and won the Croatian U13 title when she was nine years old – and is already No8 in the European U13 rankings!\n\n\n\nRoko Voncina (pictured above with David & Vidovic) is another promising Croatian junior, also coached by Vedran Svonja. After playing Golan, the 14-year-old from Zagreb said: “Before the match, I just was thinking about playing squash full-time – but now I have decided that I will!”\nThe four-court SquashTower Club was packed with enthusiasts from far and wide who revelled in the spectacle of watching David and Golan playing against locals, and against each other. Amongst the crowd was NOC President Matesa and Croatia’s Malaysian Ambassador Mohd Noh Md Yunus.\nIn addition to further TV interviews with Zagreb TV, Croatian National TV 1 and 2, RTL TV, and Sports TV, the WSF Ambassadors also undertook a variety of press interviews – one of which resulted in a 3-page colour feature on David in the weekly news magazine NACIONAL (see below, David reading the article in Zagreb’s main square).\n\n\n\nIn summing up the success of the Croatia visit, federation President Režić said: “The WSF Ambassador Programme is a great opportunity for squash countries which are developing squash. It helps and gives hope for young players to train more and achieve better results, maybe one day as Nicol and Borja.\n\n\n\n\n“Also it offers a great opportunity for national team and local and club members (seen above in the ultimate Croatian squash ‘selfie’) to meet and play with such outstanding athletes.\n“I had never before met Nicol and Borja in person before and I have to say that both of them are outstanding athletes and are great promotors of squash. There are not many outstanding athletes with such nice personalities!\n“The Croatian Squash Federation has been working for the last seven years, mainly with juniors, and I strongly believe that in a few years we will have more juniors in the European top 10 lists and that we will bring a medal from the Olympic Games. We are a lucky country in that we already part of the Olympic family in Croatia and have their support.\n“Once again, many thanks to the WSF for this opportunity,” Režić concluded.\nNicol David, a ‘veteran’ of all but one of the WSF Ambassador visits, said: “This is my first time in the Balkan region and the moment I landed at our first stop in Belgrade, I knew I was going to experience something pretty special.\n“Each country we visited had a lot of similarities but are completely different in their own way as we explore their capital cities further while the locals share their stories about their countries’ history. The squash people that have hosted us throughout our tour have been really hospitable in every sense of the word.\n“The thing that stands out the most is their passion for squash just from their enthusiasm and commitment to the sport. Serbia’s first squash club, SquashLand, is only 10 years old – and yet they already have a group of young players competing within the Balkans and Europe. All the kids we met in each country have had a lot of squash knowledge and were excited to show their skills against Borja and myself.\n“It’s also my first time traveling with Borja and he was really engaging with the kids and players everywhere we went. He’s such an unassuming person and it was nice to get to know him better outside the squash tour as well. It was a real pleasure working together with him throughout this tour.\n“I came to the Balkans not knowing what to expect but after the whole week, I’ve just been truly inspired by the lovely people that have shared their joys and struggles to make things happen for squash in their country. I hope that our WSF Ambassador Programme will help them get more awareness within their country to grow the sport further.\n“The federations and everyone involved from each country have put a lot of effort into making our trip a successful one and they certainly made it all worthwhile for us. Thanks for making us feel part of the Balkan squash family!”\nAmbassador debutant Borja Golan, added: “Firstly, I want to thank the World Squash Federation for giving me the opportunity to participate in this great event. I had never visited Serbia, Romania and Croatia before and I was surprised how nice these three places were.\n“Squash still has a short life and tradition in these countries but the hard work they are spending to put the sport in another level is simply admirable and I’m sure they will have great players in the near future,” explained the former world No.5.\n“Also I felt really honoured to share these last few days with the world number one Nicol David. I knew how good she was on court but didn’t know how humble, charismatic and accessible she was outside – always with a smile in her face.\n“And the last and probably most important is how well the Serbians, Romanians and Croatians treated us. They gave 200% to make this trip perfect for us. I can’t believe how well they looked after us!\n“When someone asks me what I most like from squash, normally I say I like to compete, know different countries, be your own boss, etc. But the best thing without any doubt is the people you meet in the squash world. More than any win or trophies, they will always be in my memories.”\nWSF CEO Andrew Shelley concluded: “The countries we visit tend to say that having the WSF Ambassadors group there inspires them – but we are hugely inspired too. The enthusiasm and passion of the players and the Federations is infectious. They love squash, they want it to grow, they will not rest until it does.\n“More courts will be built, young champions nurtured and we will certainly see the initials of the Balkan countries after more names in Tour event draws. Our help in enabling media and player interaction is only a small thing compared with the efforts made on an ongoing basis by the local sports leaders.\n“We are blessed by having players such as Nicol and Borja, along with referee Roy (Gingell) and coach Ronny (Vlassaks) freely giving their time, and the relationships made will only grow in the coming years. We are blessed having the catalysts in the countries.”\nThe WSF Ambassador Programme first visited the Baltic country of Latvia in 2011, followed by a trip to the African countries of Malawi and Namibia, then Panama and Venezuela in 2013, before last year journeying to Papua New Guinea.\n

Story Cited From: http://worldsquash.org/ws/?feed=rss2

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WSF Ambassador Visit Heralds ‘Massive Boost’ For Squash In Romania

Monday, 25 May 2015 11:43 PM PST
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\n \n Squash is on the verge of a ‘massive boost’ in Romania according to TV news anchor man Valentin Butnaru following the 2015 WSF Ambassador Programme visit to the country’s capital Bucharest.\nMalaysia’s world No.1 Nicol David and Spain’s highest-ranked squash player of all-time Borja Golan led the latest World Squash Federation initiative in the second leg of a week-long trip which kicked off in Serbia and will also take inCroatia.\nLaunched four years ago, the ongoing WSF international promotional project takes two leading squash players, together with an international coach and referee, into younger squash nations to help raise the sport’s profile – through clinics, exhibition matches, refereeing and coaching seminars, and media presentations.\n“Squash saved my life,” said Butnaru, who co-hosts the breakfast news programme on Antena 1 TV in Romania – and took up the sport after extensive surgery on his left arm following a major road accident.\n“If I had known about squash earlier, I would have taken it up ages ago,” added the Romanian TV star who now plays squash for around two hours a day, seven days a week, and also coaches the sport.\n“I feel that squash is going to have a massive boom here in Romania. I have trained lots of women over recent years – and not one has given up the sport!”\nRomanian sports icon Bogdan Stelea, the goalkeeper who played almost 100 times for Romania and represented the nation in three World Cups and two European Championships, is also a fan of squash.\n\n\n\n\n“Squash complements football well – whenever I had free time, I used to play squash,” Stelea (pictured above with David & Golan) told media attending a press conference hosted by the Stejarii Country Club. “You use your hands and your legs – it’s a very reactive sport.”\nStelea, who spent much of his career in Spain, mainly with Salamanca, played an exhibition match with Nicol David on one of the courts at the recently-opened country club owned by former international tennis star Ion Țiriac.\n\n\n\n\nAeroSquash, boasting five courts and owned by inspirational Costas Bogdan (pictured above, left, with David, Golan, club manager Emil Anghel & WSF CEO Andrew Shelley), is currently the biggest club in Bucharest – but a new facility in the city is due to open in June. The Infinity Sports Arena, owned by Romanian businessman Abbas Tawil, will also feature five glass-back courts and be the new base for the Romanian Squash Federation.\n“Infinity will host the European Division 3 Team Championship in 2016,” said Federation President George Constantinescu. “This will be our first international championship – and we are very excited by this.\n\n\n\n\n“Abbas Tawil (pictured above, right, with Constantinescu) is a great supporter of squash in Romania – he is the Honorary President of the Federation – and without his help it would be impossible for us to grow the sport in our country.”\nWhile David and Golan played a series of matches at Stejarii, refereeing and coaching seminars attracted candidates from all over the country, as well as from neighbouring Bulgaria.\n“To run refereeing and coaching programmes together like this in this part of the world is great,” said WSF Refereeing Committee Director Roy Gingell. “There was a refereeing course staged in this region just before the recent Balkan championships – and this was a natural follow on from that.\n“The course here attracted a great deal of interest – the federation here has a good plan for referees and will need at least 10 for the European Championships here next year.\n“We will bring in assessors and I will offer them all possible support and guidance.”\n\n\n\n\nRonny Vlassaks (pictured above, left, with Gingell) directed the coaching workshop in Bucharest. “I had a good group of very keen coaches – the message I was trying to convey is that squash is not just about hitting the ball, but playing the game,” explained the Belgian and Dutch National coach.\n“It’s not only about technique, but other aspects of the game like movement, tactics, the physical and mental approach.\n“I am sure the people we had will go away with a new vision of the game and bring a more professional approach to their coaching – they were so keen to learn more.”\n\n\n\n\nThe climax to the trip was a visit to AeroSquash, where the party were warmly greeted by a large group of enthusiastic fans who had come from far and wide to see the international squash stars (pictured above in the club’s helicopter!).\nA group of juniors, led by coach Bara Hunor, made the five-hour journey from Sfântu Gheorghe - and were thrilled to have the opportunity to share the court with David and Golan.\n\n\n\n\n“My kids (pictured above) were so excited to be here,” said Bara. “We are organising a summer camp for these youngsters up in the mountains in the summer and they will be so motivated by this.”\nRomanian prospect Vasile Hapun played a match with Golan and was overwhelmed by the opportunity. “It was really an honour for me to play with Borja,” said the 19-year-old who hails from Chișinău in the Republic of Moldova and will join theProfessional Squash Association in September.\n“I am very proud that I played so well tonight against such a great player – I now know that I can play well,” added Hapun. “I will train hard through the summer and then hope to be the first Romanian to earn ranking points on the PSA Tour.”\nFederation Honorary President Abbas Tawil was delighted with the event at AeroSquash: “It’s been so good for our juniors. They will remember this days for many years and will want to be like Nicol and Borja – it will inspire them.”\nIn summing up the value of the WSF visit to Romania, President Constantinescu said: “It was a great honour to host you – we were all so surprised at how generous Nicol and Borja were to our players.\n“I had a call from one of my students, 13-year-old Bogdan Vasile, after the AreoSquash visit and he said to me ‘coach, yesterday was the happiest day of my life – I never thought I would have the chance to play with a world number one’!\n“I hope this visit will be the push for junior squash in Romania,” continued Constantinescu. “In five years’ time, I hope we will have more than 200 juniors around the country – a new generation of players competing in European and World championships.\n“It’s good to have formed a closer relationship with the World Federation in this way – we don’t want to ‘reinvent the wheel’ in what we do to promote squash here and we look forward to the help the WSF can give us in developing juniors, finding good coaches, etc.\n\n\n\n\n“We are optimistic that Vasile Hapun (pictured above with Golan) will make a successful move from junior to senior squash – but it will be hard for him and we grateful to the support that Abbas Tawil is providing. Vasile is the ‘engine’ for us – to show people in Romania how to play squash!”\nThe WSF Ambassador Programme first visited the Baltic country of Latvia in 2011, followed by a trip to the African countries of Malawi and Namibia, then Panama and Venezuela in 2013, before last year journeying to Papua New Guinea.\n

Story Cited From: http://worldsquash.org/ws/?feed=rss2

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Dubai Chess and Culture Club marks 34th year

Wednesday, 20 May 2015 1:43 AM PST
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Chairman Ibrahim Al Bannai highlights club’s groundbreaking contributions to chess world

Story Cited From: http://gulfnews.com/cmlink/1.446096

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