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19 Jun 2024

Shabana Seeded To Win Historic Fourth World Open Title In Manchester

9 Sep 2008

Egypt's Amr Shabana has been seeded to defend his World Open title in England and become only the fourth man after Jansher Khan, Jahangir Khan and Geoff Hunt to win the sport's blue riband event for a fourth occasion.

The Giza-based player booked his place in the record books with a third World Open victory in Bermuda last year - but will face a stiff challenge in his quest for a fourth title with 64 of the best players in the world lining up for the nine-day Hi-Tec World Squash Championships - Manchester 2008 which get underway on 11th October.

Australia's two time World Champion David Palmer (2006 and 2002) and France's Thierry Lincou (2004) are the only other former winners in the elite field - and will be joined by England's James Willstrop (the No3 seed) and Egypt's former two-time World Junior Champion Ramy Ashour (seeded four).

After playing a qualifier in the opening round, top seed Shabana is drawn to meet compatriot Wael El Hindi, the ninth seed, in the third round, while a mouth-watering semi-final clash with fellow Egyptian Ramy Ashour, the world No4, is also on the cards. France's Gregory Gaultier, has been seeded two and will be looking to go one better than his runners-up spot for the past two years.

Now a truly global game and pushing for Olympic inclusion having been shortlisted for 2016, Squash is played throughout the world and The Hi-Tec World Squash Championships will see no fewer than 18 countries from the five continents being represented in the main draw. The countries are: England, Scotland, Egypt, Spain, Canada, France, Malaysia, Australia, Mexico, Brazil, Pakistan, Colombia, Finland, Czech Republic, Italy, United States, New Zealand and India.

Britain will have the strongest contingent with no fewer than 12 players in the main draw, with Nick Matthew (8), Peter Barker (12), former world number one Lee Beachill (13) and Adrian Grant (14) joining Willstrop as seeds. Matthew, out of action since January following shoulder surgery, boosted his chance for success following a brilliant come-back victory in the Forexx Dutch Open this weekend.

British number one James Willstrop said: "The World Open is the biggest tournament for any player and there's a huge sense of anticipation around this year's Championships. For me personally it will be extra special as it will be like playing in my own back garden. The National Squash Centre is just an hour from where I live and I'm extremely familiar with the court and the place. As an English player you couldn't ask for any more and this will certainly be a highlight of my career.

"Manchester has an outstanding reputation for putting on top sports events and has had a very busy year so it will be great to round it off with The Hi-Tec World Squash Championships. I don't think there's a city anywhere else in the world that puts so much into squash, so it's fitting they should be hosting the biggest tournament in the calendar. Hopefully the event will provide an inspiration for introducing a new audience to the sport."

Recent Dutch Open winner Nick Matthew added: "It was great to get back into action last week after nine months off. I had a tear in the ligament in my shoulder and it was at least three months before I could even hold a plate, so to win my first event back is a real bonus. I'll be competing in Paris later this month so I'll go into the Worlds with some decent games under my belt.

"Playing the World Championships in Manchester will be a fantastic opportunity. I've enjoyed some decent success there having won the National Championships. It will be great to get the home support behind us and hopefully they will have plenty to cheer about."

Jim Quigley, Head of Major Sports Events and Partnerships, Manchester City Council, said: "Since starting to organise these Championships it has been our aim to make them the best ever staged. The men's draw- which features the top 40 players in the world rankings - is probably the strongest ever assembled for a squash tournament and it's fantastic that there will be interest from all corners of the globe."

Tickets for The Hi-Tec World Squash Championships - Manchester 2008, including a special season ticket which gives admission to all nine sessions, are now available at the official website www.worldsquash2008.com

The complete men's draw for The Hi-Tec World Squash Championships - Manchester 2008 is:

[1] Amr Shabana (EGY) v Qualifier
Borja Golan (ESP) v Shawn Delierre (CAN)
[9] Wael El Hindi (EGY) v Qualifier
Omar Mosaad (EGY) v Qualifier
[6] Thierry Lincou (FRA) v Amr Swelim (EGY)
Renan Lavigne (FRA) v Qualifier
[10] Ong Beng Hee (MAS) v Tom Richards (ENG)
Hisham Mohd Ashour (EGY) v Chris Ryder (ENG)
[4] Ramy Ashour (EGY) v Qualifier
Cameron Pilley (AUS) v Qualifier
[12] Peter Barker (ENG) v Eric Galvez (MEX)
Joey Barrington (ENG) v Aaron Frankcomb (AUS)
[8] Nick Matthew (ENG) v Qualifier
Stewart Boswell (AUS) v Tarek Momen (EGY)
[15] Laurens Jan Anjema (NED) v Rafael F Alarcon (BRA)
Farhan Mehboob (PAK) v Julien Balbo (FRA)
Miguel Angel Rodriguez (COL) v Qualifier
[16] Olli Tuominen (FIN) v Daryl Selby (ENG)
Jonathan Kemp (ENG) v Jan Koukal (CZE)
[5] David Palmer (AUS) v Qualifier
Davide Bianchetti (ITA) v Qualifier
[13] Lee Beachill (ENG) v Qualifier
John White (SCO) v Mansoor Zaman (PAK)
[3] James Willstrop (ENG) v Qualifier
Alister Walker (ENG) v Julian Illingworth (USA)
[11] Mohd Azlan Iskandar (MAS) v Kashif Shuja (NZL)
Aamir Atlas Khan (PAK) v Qualifier
[7] Karim Darwish (EGY) v Qualifier
Mohammed Abbas (EGY) v Qualifier
[14] Adrian Grant (ENG) v Omar Abdel Aziz (EGY)
Shahier Razik (CAN) v Saurav Ghosal (IND)
[2] Gregory Gaultier (FRA) v Qualifier