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Wednesday, 26 February 2020

Two make a difference

Fencer Mohamed Hamza and squash champion Mohamed Al-Shorbagi won medals and accolades in their international contenders

Abeer Anwar , Tuesday 21 Jan 2020
Hamza and Al-Shorbagi

Fencer Mohamed Hamza and squash champion Mohamed Al-Shorbagi won medals and accolades in their international contenders,

Egypt’s Mohamed Hamza, ranked fourth in the world at the juniors category, won the gold medal at the Challenge International de Paris Men’s Foil World Cup, reports Abeer Anwar.

 It was not easy as Hamza, 19, was competing against 196 players from around the world.

In the preliminaries, Hamza overcame Denmark’s Christoffer Rykind-Blarke 15-7, to face Russia’s Ivan Troshin and beat him 15-9. His other match was against Russia’s Aleksander Drozlov whom he overcame 15-12. He then faced Krill Borodachev in the semis and won 15-10 to meet France’s champion Armand Spichiger in the final. It was a tough match as Hamza was playing in front of Spichiger’s supporters but he crushed him nonetheless 15-6 to win first place and the gold medal.

“I can’t believe it,” Hamza said. “I have worked hard and it is time to celebrate. I have waited for long to achieve such a place. I thank everyone who has helped me to reach this.”

Hamza’s win came as Egypt was voted to host the Senior Fencing World Championship in 2021 according to the results of voting during a conference that took place in Lausanne, Switzerland. Egypt received votes from 126 countries.

President of Egypt’s Fencing Federation Abdel-Moneim Al-Husseini applauded the International Federation’s decision, saying that Egypt is the first country to be chosen as the host of both senior and junior championships in the same year.

Egypt was elected in December 2018 to host the Junior World Fencing Championships in 2021.

At the time, 101 countries voted for Egypt while 29 voted for Bulgaria, during a conference in France at the International Fencing Federation.

Hamza is a student at Princeton University. He competed in the men’s team foil event at the 2016 Rio Summer Olympics.

His major achievements include multiple silver and bronze medals at Cadet (U-17) and Junior (U-20) World Cups; Cadet African champion; three-time junior African champion; gold and silver in the 2019 Senior African Championships, bronze medal at the 2019 Junior World Championship, and finishing as the world No 1 fencer in the Junior Men’s Foil for the 2018/19 season.

Likewise, Egyptian fencer Alaaeddin Abu Al-Qassem claimed the gold medal at the men’s foil in the African Championships which took place in Bamako, Mali, last June.

Hamza will now get ready for the Mediterranean Games to take place on the 25th in Tunisia.

Meanwhile, Egypt’s Mohamed Al-Shorbagi lifted the 2020 J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions title as he overcame world champion teammate Tarek Mo’men in New York’s iconic Grand Central Terminal to win the first PSA World Tour Platinum event of the New Year.
Al-Shorbagi will overtake compatriot Ali Farag as the men’s world No 1 in the PSA world rankings for February after he came back from a game down to overcome world No 3 Mo’men, winning 9-11, 11-7, 11-7, 11-5 to capture his third Tournament of Champions trophy after wins in 2015 and 2016.

The 29-year-old was runner-up in Grand Central 12 months ago as he lost the final – and his world No 1 spot – to Farag.  

 “To win the trophy for the third time is an honour,” Al-Shorbagi said.

“To have your name beside all the great champions that have won the event, it’s the kind of moment that I live for. I said before the season started that my main goal was to get back to world No 1 and to achieve this on the same court that I lost the world No 1 last year is a great feeling.

“There is no better venue than here that I would have wanted it to happen and I’m really proud.”

Al-Shorbagi takes home over $25,000 in prize money and also qualifies for the season-ending PSA World Tour Finals. The PSA World Tour Finals take place in June and features all seven PSA World Tour Platinum title winners and reigning world champions, with the other spots being made up of the highest-ranked players on the Road to Egypt standings.

*A version of this article appears in print in the 23 January, 2020 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly.

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