Orfi & Khan Capture World Junior Titles
23 Jul 2023
In a thrilling finals day at the 2023 WSF World Junior Squash Championships in Melbourne, Hamza Khan fought back to become Pakistan's first champion since Jansher Khan in 1986 and 16-year-old Egyptian Amina Orfi defended her 2022 title at Melbourne Sports Centres.
In an incredible men's final, 15-year-old Mohamed Zakaria - who would have become the youngest ever winner of the men's event with a victory - made the better start, with his precise play helping him clinch the opening game 12-10.
The Egyptian made a flying start to the second game, racing into a 5-0 lead as Khan struggled.
The 17-year-old Pakistani, however, then mounted a brilliant fightback, with his devastating attacking weaponry at its deadly best as he thrilled the crowd with winner after winner, coming back from game ball down to level the match with a 14-12 victory in game two before storming into the lead with an 11-3 win in game three.
Khan kept up this momentum in game four, finding his attacks with increasing confidence as he ended Pakistan's 37-year wait for a WSF World Junior title with an 11-6 win before collapsing to the floor with emotion.
"First of all, I would like to thank Allah, and my thanks to my coaches, my managers, thanks to everybody," a still emotional Khan said afterwards. "And thanks to my parents, who support me every single time. Thank you."
Top seed Orfi, who stunned last year in France to win the title aged just 15, looked in top form throughout, with her tight hitting causing the 3/4 seed no end of problems.
The opening stages of the match were initially even, with Azman edging into an 8-7 lead in game one, only for Orfi to come firing back with four straight points.
After taking the first game 11-8, Orfi began to dominate and rapidly wrapped up the title in just 31 minutes with comprehensive 11-5, 11-1 wins in games two and three.
Afterwards, Orfi said: "I feel so happy to have won this title for the second time. This one's more important because it's more difficult to retain your title and I'm so happy I managed to do that."
On the potential to win two more titles before the end of her junior career, she said: "This is something I think about because no one has ever won four times in a row. But for now, I'm not going to think about it. I'm going to keep training and focus on the professional tour and school!
Both Orfi's and Azman's attention now turns to the WSF Women's World Junior Team Championship, which begins tomorrow at Melbourne Sports Centres and will be streamed live and free at www.worldsquash.tv.