The PSA Women's World Championship kicks off in Egypt on Thursday, with the Great Pyramids of Giza providing a beautiful backdrop as athletes compete for the lucrative $430,000 prize.
"Egypt made a successful proposal to the International Squash Association to host the championship. It is a good chance to revive the Al-Ahram Squash Open tournament," Sayed El-Kamash, executive director of the Egyptian Squash Federation, told Ahram Online.
"Authorities immediately gave us the thumbs-up for the perfect location."
For men, it will mark the Egyptian Squash Open for this year, which is a PSA platinum event. Platinum is the top level of the PSA World tour.
"It is also an international squash open tournament for men. Platinum is the highest category in individual competitions. It is held in the same regard as the women's tournament. The winners will acquire a big number of points that will be added to PSA World ranking," El-Kamash added.
The championship will feature 64 male and 64 female athletes, representing 31 countries.
The countries include Australia, Belgium, Canada, England, France, Finland, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Latvia, Malaysia, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Philippines, Peru, Switzerland, Scotland, Spain, South Africa, United States and Wales.
"The organizational aspect is on par with international standards … tickets will be available for sale online," the tournament's technical director Omar El-Sherbini said.
"Around 60 international channels will broadcast the tournament around the world. It will be broadcast live on squash TV as well as Eurosport channels."
The women's tournament features a number of prominent Egyptian athletes, including world No.1 Raneem El-Welily, world No.2 Nour El-Sherbini, world No.3 Nour El-Tayeb and world No.5 Nourhan Gohar.
In the men's tournament, world No.1 Ali Farag, world No.2 Tarek Moemen, world No.4 Karim Abdel-Gawad, world No. 8, Mohamed Abou El-Ghar, world No.10 Marwan El-Shorbagy and world No.13 Omar Mosaad will represent Egypt.
There are alsosome well-known international stars such as French world No.4 Camille Serme, Hong Kong's Annie Au, American Amanda Sobhi, British Alison Walter, Australian Sarah Cardwell and Malaysian Low Wee Wern.
On the men's side, British Daryl Selby, French Gregoire Marche, German New Zealand's world No.5 Paul Coll and world No.6 Simon Rosner will also take part.
The tournament's opening ceremony will be on Friday at 5:30 pm. It will start with a match between Egypt's Ali Farag and Amr Mosaad. The 48 top players will compete in the main draw of the tournament. All the matches will start from 5:30 pm until 10:00 pm.
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