Two successive titles on the junior international squash circuit this month have raised Qatari teenager Abdulla Al Tamimi‘s hopes of becoming the first Middle East winner of the WSF World Junior Squash Championship in the 33-year history of the event.
In the event’s first ever staging in Poland, the 2013 Men’s & Women’s World Junior Individual Championships will get underway on 16th July at the new 19-court Hasta La Vista Club in Wroclaw – boasting more than 150 players from a record 37 nations. There will also be a 20th court in one of the largest clubs in Europe – an all-glass showcourt being erected in the sports hall for the championship.
After winning the long-established Pioneer Junior U19 Open in Germany last week as a 3/4 seed, Al Tamimi yesterday successfully retained the Dutch Junior U19 Open trophy in Amsterdam. The 18-year-old from Doha is a 5/8 seed in Wroclaw where his first opponent will be the winner of the match between Frenchman Adrien Grondin and Argentina’s Francisco Obregon.
Pakistani hopes of success in the men’s event for the first time since the legendary Jansher Khan won the title in 1986 were boosted by Syed Ali Mujtaba Shah Bokhari in last month’s Asian Junior Championships. The 17-year-old from Lahore upset Jordan’s top seed Ahmad Al-Saraj in the final to win the title for the first time. Bokhari and Al-Saraj are the two 3/4 seeds in Poland.
But the men’s seedings in Wroclaw predict an all-Egypt final between British Junior U19 Open champion Fares Dessouki, from Alexandria, and second seed Karim Elhammamy, the US Junior U19 Open champion from Cairo – thus predicting the title to remain in Egyptian hands for the eighth successive time since an English victory by James Willstrop in 2002.
A historical climax is anticipated in the women’s championship where Egypt’s world No11 Nour El Sherbini is the top seed – the 17-year-old from Alexandria – who became the sport’s youngest ever world champion in 2009 by winning the title aged just 13 – is now set to outdo greats like world number ones Nicol David and Ramy Ashour by claiming the title for an unprecedented third time!
But El Sherbini will face tough opposition in pursuit of her record title – led by second-seeded compatriot Nouran Gohar, the 15-year-old All Africa Junior Champion.
Further opposition will be provided by 3/4 seeds Yathreb Adel, the two-time British Junior U17 Open champion from Egypt, and New York’s Sabrina Sobhy, the US Junior U19 Open champion.
Nele Gilis‘ bid to become the first champion from Belgium was given a boost when the 17-year-old won the Pioneer Junior U19 Open trophy. While Gilis is a 5/8 seed, Hong Kong’s Ho Ka Po is seeded in the 9/16 group – yet the 18-year-old upset the form book last month in Jordan by taking the Asian Junior U19 Championship title.
It was a feat repeated by fellow 9/16 seed Hollie Naughton when the 18-year-old Canadian upset three higher seeds to win the Pan American Junior U19 Championship title last month in Brazil.