Dipika Pallikal & Mohamed El Shorbagy Are Top World Junior Seeds
26 Jun 09
India's Dipika Pallikal and Egyptian Mohamed El Shorbagy have been named as top seeds for next month's World Junior Championships, the World Squash Federation event which has attracted players from 28 nations to the ICL Squash Academy in Chennai, India, from 29 July to 2 August.
Born and raised in Chennai, Dipika Pallikal is seeded to become India's first ever world squash champion. Already ranked inside the women's world's top 50, 17-year-old Pallikal has established a significant junior career, winning the British Junior U17 Open title in 2008 and reaching the final in both the British Junior U19 Open and Asian Junior U19 Championship earlier this year.
Pallikal is expected to meet Egypt's No2 seed Heba El Torky in the women's final. Winner of British Junior Open titles at U13, U15 and U17, the 18-year-old from Alexandria has also already notched up two WISPA World Tour titles, at last year's China Open and Pakistan Open.
Heba's younger sister Nouran El Torky is also amongst the event's top seeds: The 16-year-old, seeded five, is one of six Egyptians named in the top 16 seeds - including the youngest, 13-year-old Nour El Sherbini, also from Alexandria.
Whilst the women's individual event will precede the Women's World Junior Team Championships - the biennial event which is held in alternate years to the men's junior team championships - this year sees the staging of the first annual men's individual world championship. Responding to feedback from Member National Federations, the WSF plans to run men's and women's individual world junior championships annually from this year, staged alongside the biennial team championship.
Title-holder Mohamed El Shorbagy has the chance to become only the second player in history to win the men's crown twice. The 18-year-old favourite from Alexandria has already enjoyed a meteoric run in the sport - and boasts a senior world top 20 ranking following notable success on the PSA World Tour which has included final berths in the recent Spanish Open and Irish Open and a quarter-final finish in last year's World Open in his maiden appearance in the sport's premier championship.
El Shorbagy's predicted final opponent is Malaysian Ivan Yuen. Winner of the recent Asian Junior Championship title, also in Chennai, the second seed from Selangor made his debut in the world's top 100 in May.