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Sunday, 08 December 2019

INTERVIEW: World No.4 Abdel Gawad proud of Egypt's squash domination

Ghada Abdel-Kader , Saturday 2 Nov 2019
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Karim Abdel-Gawad lifts the Egyptian Squash Open trophy
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Karim Abdel Gawad could not have been more proud as Egypt maintains its domination of prestigious squash tournaments.

The world number four emerged the winner in an all-Egyptian final at the Egyptian Squash Open, beating world number one Ali Farag 3-0 (11-8, 11-8, 11-6) on Friday in front of the Great Pyramids of Giza.

In the women's World Championship, which was played in the same glass court, Nour El Sherbini prevailed in another all-Egyptian final, defeating world number one Raneem El Welily 3-1 for her second straight title and fourth overall.

"The final matches were pure Egyptian; It is great feeling. I feel proud," Abdel Gawad told Ahram Online in an interview.

In a match that lasted for 61 minutes, Abdel Gawad overcame Farag in straight sets after producing another impressive display.

"Farag is on the pinnacle of the squash throne. He is the current world champion and is one of the best players in the history of squash," Abdel Gawad said of his opponent.

"The final match was a fierce battle. We have played each other since we were nine-years-old so we know each other very well."

This is the second time for Abdel Gawad to win the title after 2016, when it was named Al-Ahram International Championship. At the time, it was the first Egyptian triumph in that tournament since Ahmed Barada won it in 1998.

"My big motivation was to win my second title in front of an iconic place like the Pyramids," he added.

"I remember when I was a young squash player, I used to come to the pyramids to watch Egypt's iconic squash players. It is a great feeling to play in the same court."

Abdel Gawad has been in the top 10 of the world rankings for four years now. He was the world number one in May 2017 and broke into the top five again last May.

"Several injures hampered me but I'm gradually working on improving my world ranking. I hope I will move back to the top in the coming period," he commented.

Abdel Gawad has a busy schedule in the coming period. He will participate in the PSA Men's World Championship in Doha from 8-15 November and WSF Men's World Team Championship in Washington, which will take place from 15-21 December.

(For more sports news and updates, follow Ahram Online Sports on Twitter at @AO_Sports and on Facebook at AhramOnlineSports.)

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