8:54 am
23 Feb 2019

Wheadon Waltzes Into Maiden Tour Final In Iran

2 Mar 2007

Gary Wheadon joins a distinguished club of professional squash players who reached the final in their maiden appearance in a Tour event when he despatched sixth seed Robbie Temple in the semi-finals of the FAJR International, the PSA Tour championship in its second year at Kish Island in Iran.

The unseeded South African will face top seed Sherif Kamel, who beat fellow Egyptian Omar Tarek Mahm Aly in the other semi-final.

Wheadon has enjoyed a remarkable run in the event which he entered within weeks of joining the PSA. The 26-year-old from Cape Town made his Kish Island breakthrough in the second round when he defeated Kuwait's second seed Bader Al Hussaini in straight games.

Victory over 15th seed Jonas Laursen, of Denmark, in the quarter-finals took Wheadon into the last four - where he beat the out-of-sorts Englishman Robbie Temple 11-9, 11-8, 11-8 in 33 minutes.

"It's quite a good first PSA Tour - I didn't quite expect to reach the final of my first PSA Tour," said the modest South African afterwards. "I'm quite excited about that! I definitely will give it 100% effort tomorrow. It should be quite a good game!"

Kamel, 22, dropped the first game against Omar Tarek Mahm Aly, but fought back to beat the 18-year-old 16th seed 9-11, 11-5, 11-5, 11-9 in 38 minutes.

"Omar is my team-mate in Alexandria," explained Kamel afterwards. "We play together every day. It was a hard match today, because we know each other's game so well. He covered all the court and played some good winners.

"I tried to put the ball away from his hand and to keep him at the back of the court. Then he got tired, so I paced the game up and could win the match."

[1] Sherif Kamel (EGY) bt [16] Omar Tarek Mahm Aly (EGY) 9-11, 11-5, 11-5, 11-9 (38m)
Gary Wheadon (RSA) bt [6] Robbie Temple (ENG) 11-9, 11-8, 11-8 (33m)