6:11 pm
19 May 2024

Egypt Named As Top Seeds For World Junior Team Championship

4 Jul 2006

Egypt have been nominated as top seeds in the interim seedings for the Prince Men's World Junior Team Championship which have been announced by the World Squash Federation (WSF).

Egypt and defending champions Pakistan, the No2 seeds, head a list of 19 nations competing in the 14th world team championship which takes place in Palmerston North, New Zealand, from 23-28 July - following the world individual championship, which gets underway in Palmerston North on 16th July.

Egypt, led by the current World Junior Champion Ramy Ashour, have finished as runners-up in all but one of the events since 1994 when they won the title for the first and only time - also in New Zealand! Pakistan are looking for their third title in a row since 2002 - while third seeds England, champions four times since 1990, will be hoping to better their third-place finish in the last championship in 2004 in Pakistan.

India are seeded to finish in fourth place - which would be their best result in eight successive appearances since 1992. Netherlands and Hong Kong, seeded 8th and 10th, respectively, are also expected to secure their best ever finish in the championship. 18th seeds Japan are making their debut in the event.

Hosts New Zealand, the 12th seeds, have a young side this time, led by Wellington's Evan Williams. Evan will be supported by Chris Lloyd (Waikato), Josh Thom and Lui Syder (both from Auckland).

New Zealand national coach Dave Clarke believes that, while the seeding are a fair reflection, it's still possible for an upset to change everything. "The interim seedings have thrown up some mouth-watering prospects with the two world junior heavyweights, Egypt and Pakistan, being installed as No 1 and 2 seeds, respectively.

"Pakistan may be the 'partypoopers' with Amir Atlas Khan leading their charge, and with strong support in the wings from the likes of 2004 finalist Yasir Butt. If they both make the final, look out for a see-saw match with a 2-1 outcome likely either way.

"Other teams who may have something to say about that are England, India and Germany, all of whom could spring an upset. England have a proud history around the event having won on a number of occasions - but will need to play above themselves to surprise the top seeds. Germany could be the team to watch out for with Simon Rosner at No 1 backed up by a solid young squad.

"India will have a side that will be full of running but it may not be enough to take home a medal," added Clarke.

"Australia, Hong Kong and Switzerland are relatively unknown quantities, as will be South Africa, Kuwait and Finland. These countries have all turned out some great sides in the past, so we can safely assume that they will all be very competitive when the team event gets underway.

"Ireland, Japan and Zimbabwe make up the remaining teams for the championship. I'm sure that they will give those mid-table teams a fright along the way but will not be strong enough to challenge the top teams.

"The team event has thrown up some titanic struggles in the past and I expect the 2006 event at the new complex in Palmerston North to be no different. Prepare to be entertained and enthralled," concluded Clarke.

Projected pools line-up (with team seeding in brackets):
Pool A: [1] EGYPT, [8] NETHERLANDS, [9] AUSTRALIA, [16] FINLAND, [17] IRELAND
Pool B: [2] PAKISTAN, [7] MALAYSIA, [10] HONG KONG, [15] SOUTH AFRICA, [18] JAPAN
Pool C: [3] ENGLAND, [6] CANADA, [11] SWITZERLAND, [14] USA, [19] ZIMBABWE
Pool D: [4] INDIA, [5] GERMANY, [12] NEW ZEALAND, [13] KUWAIT