10:13 am
23 Jun 2024

El Shorbagy Wins World Junior Title

1 Aug 2008

After despatching local hero Nicolas Mueller in a 67-marathon semi-final, second seed Mohamed El Shorbagy went on to upset Pakistan favourite Aamir Atlas Khan in the final of the Men's World Junior Championship in Zurich to keep the prestigious title in Egyptian hands for the third successive time.

It was a dramatic climax to the 15th staging of the biennial World Squash Federation championship, being held for the first time in Switzerland.

Aamir Atlas Khan, a semi-finalist both in 2004 and 2006 - and, at No24, the highest-world-ranked player in the field - was firm favourite to win the title. The 18-year-old had reached the final without dropping a game - and victory would have made him the first Pakistani to lift the title since his uncle, the legendary Jansher khan, in 1986.

But El Shorbagy was also hungry for success - and survived both his opponent and the naturally partisan crowd to topple Swiss star Nicolas Mueller in five games less than 24 hours earlier.

The 17-year-old from Alexandria, who celebrated a career-high world ranking of 60 today, dropped the first game for just two points - but powered back into the match before ultimately celebrating victory after 75 minutes in a 2-9, 9-3, 10-8, 9-4 scoreline.

"This is a very special moment," said the ecstatic teenager afterwards. "I'm very happy to be here and share it with my mother and father. I was 8-5 up in the third and had to make a big push.

"This was a once in a lifetime chance and I told myself to make a big push.

"The last two titles have been won by Egypt and there was a lot of pressure on me to win it," added El Shorbagy, who is based in the UK where he trains with British squash supreme Jonah Barrington.

"Aamir and I will probably have to play again in the team match - it will be another hard match and I need to go away and prepare mentally for it."

El Shorbagy follows the now 20-year-old world No4 Ramy Ashour as winner of the title - and is the latest in a distinguished line of former Egyptian champions including Ashour, Karim Darwish, Ahmed Faizy and the country's first winner, in 1994, Ahmed Barada.

Egypt are seeded to win the World Junior Team Championship which gets underway tomorrow (Saturday).

The complete final seedings, confirmed today, are: 1 EGYPT, 2 PAKISTAN, 3 ENGLAND, 4 FRANCE, 5 INDIA, 6 MALAYSIA, 7 GERMANY, 8 HONG KONG, 9 NEW ZEALAND, 10 CANADA, 11 AUSTRALIA, 12 USA, 13 SOUTH AFRICA, 14 SWITZERLAND, 15 KUWAIT, 16 WALES, - and, 17/24: FINLAND, CZECH REPUBLIC, DENMARK, BELGIUM, NETHERLANDS, GUATEMALA, SPAIN and SWEDEN; and 25/31: IRELAND, BERMUDA, CAYMAN ISLANDS, CHINA , ECUADOR, ITALY and VENEZUELA.

Final:
[2] Mohamed El Shorbagy (EGY) bt [1] Aamir Atlas Khan (PAK) 2-9, 9-3, 10-8, 9-4 (75m)