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Squash: Egyptian businessman brings British Open back to life

The prestigious British Open Squash Championships, which was won by Egyptians 13 times, returns to life after a two-year absence

Hatem Maher, Tuesday 27 Sep 2011
Ramy Ashour and Nick Matthew
Nick Matthew (R) won the last British Open in 2009

Egyptian businessman Assem Allam has struck a deal with organizers of the prestigious British Open to bring the squash’s oldest tournament back to life.

According to the Telegraph newspaper, Allam, who owns English football second-division side Hull City, has signed a three-year, title-sponsor deal that would end the tournament’s two-year stoppage.

“I am delighted our company is able to back one of the world’s most important and best known championships of its kind,” Allam was quoted as saying by the English newspaper.

The 2012 British Open will take place in London while Hull will host the 2013 and 2014 editions at a new £100 million pound sports complex funded by Allam.  

Englishman Nick Matthew was the last player to win the tournament, which was considered the 'Wimbeldon' of squash, when he beat fellow countryman James Willstrop in Manchester two years ago. The inaugural  British Open took place in 1930.

Because of its traditions, the British Open has been considered by many as the World Championchionship until he  World Open tournament  began in the mid-1970s.

Egyptian players Abdel-Fattah Amr, Mahmoud Karim and Abdel-Fattah Abou-Taleb won the title 13 times between them.

Amr has he lion’s share with six consecutive triumphs from 1933 to 1938. Karim won it four times in a row from 1947 to 1950 while Abou-Taleb was the winner in 1964, 1965 and 1966.

Egyptian player and world number two Ramy Ashour has recently won the Rowe British Grand Prix after beating Matthew in the final. Ashour outclassed Matthew in their last three encounters. The two rivals could be genuine contenders for the British Open when it takes place next year.

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