On Sunday, officials of the Black Ball Sporting Club (BBSC) announced to the media their readiness to host the maiden International Platinum Squash Tournament to be held at the club in the Fifth Settlement of New Cairo.
The one-week event, which runs from 3 to 9 December, will see the participation of 48 players representing England, Germany, France, Switzerland, Scotland, Spain, Colombia, New Zealand, India, Pakistan, Peru, Australia, Hong Kong, Mexico, the US, Malaysia, Wales and Egypt. Three international referees from the World Squash Federation will also arrive in Egypt to officiate the matches.
“The world’s top players will gather their racquets, passions and skills to participate in 19 squash courts for the lucrative $180,000 CIB Black Ball Squash Open of 2018,” Ashraf Hanafi, BBSC squash director and the tournament’s promoter, said.
Hanafi, also technical director of the Egyptian National Team and international squash instructor, said the tournament was now considered one of the biggest seven squash championships in the world affiliated to the Professional Squash Association (PSA).
PSA tournaments differ in categories according to their prize money, Hanafi said. “Platinum is the most with $180,000, $100,000 for the gold, silver $75,000 and bronze $50,000. This is really great for Egyptian squash because it is the first time Egypt hosts such a high calibre competition in terms of prize money,” Hanafi added.
Hanafi confirmed that the world’s top 20 players with the exception of two will take part in the event, including Egypt’s world’s top-ranked players. He added that the tournament has a waiting list of 33 players from 13 countries “in case any of the registered players withdraw due to injury”.
President of the Egyptian Squash Association Assem Khalifa said that BBSC is currently one of the best sports club in Egypt specialised in squash as the club has 19 courts in addition to the main glass court. “In my capacity as president of the Egyptian federation, I feel happy and proud that we have such a club with such luxurious facilities,” Khalifa said.
Chairman of Black Ball for Investment and Sports Development Company Ahmed Al-Abd said that BBSC is committed to focus on building a healthy atmosphere that aims at providing a full enhancement of the participants’ performance and maximising their career potential. “We are building a safe hub for our tournament’s members to benefit from the exchange of cultural experience and realise a global professional squash circuit while being a part of it. This is our vision while we pave the road for our anticipated upcoming tournaments and events where we leave our mark of change in the history of squash,” Al-Abd said.
The name of the club, Black Ball, was inspired by squash’s black ball. The club’s founders believed in the current success and increasing potential of Egyptian squash players competing at international levels.
CEO of Black Ball Investment and Sports Development and tournament director Mohamed Raef announced that by hosting the first platinum squash tournament in Egypt, BBSC hopes to turn Egypt into the capital of squash.
“Our club, the BBSC, is centred on providing the highest quality sporting facilities, exclusive training programmes and world-class sports events,” Raef said.
“It caters to children, youth and adults of all fitness levels, providing them with the perfect environment where they can achieve their goals,” Raef said. “BBSC offers sports courts and facilities based on international standards, such as squash, badminton, football, gymnastics, futsal, tennis, swimming and more. It is fully equipped with a team of top professional experts whose goal is to help members reach their potential and live the healthy lifestyle they want. BBSC also provides its members with other facilities such as spas, indoor heated pool, outdoor pools, kids’ play areas and international restaurants.”
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