Two years after his older brother won the title for the second time, 17-year-old Marwan El Shorbagy clinched the 2011 WSF Men’s World Junior Individual Squash Championship crown at the Flemish Squash Centre in the Belgian town of Herentals.
Marwan and Mohamed El Shorbagy, currently ranked nine in the world, are the first brothers in the sport’s history to win world individual titles.
In the second successive all-Egyptian climax of the World Squash Federation championship in Belgium, El Shorbagy beat close friend Mohamed Abouelghar, a 5/8 seed, 11-6, 11-6, 11-8 in 45 minutes.
“I’m so happy right now—I’ve been dreaming of this since I was 10, and when I saw my brother getting his first title in Switzerland, I wanted so much to win too,” explained the new champion to at the presentation ceremony. “This was a very difficult match mentally, as Mohamed and myself are best friends, and we know each other’s game so well, we’ve been playing each other since we were 10,” added the No. 2 seed.
“There are so many Egyptian world juniors champions, we keep it going, and teach each other the game of squash!
“I have one more year to go, and next year will be in Egypt, so I so want to win it, because it will be in my own country. But it will be hard.
Abouelghar, who made his breakthrough in the semifinals where he defeated defending champion Amr Khaled Khalifa, had mixed feelings afterwards: “I’m disappointed with the result of the match, but not with this tournament.
“I didn’t perform at my best today, I was really tired from yesterday and didn’t have much left in the tank when I started. And he played well. He made the rallies last, and that was not good for me. But that’s all part of the learning process, and I’ll be back next year!”
Youthful Americans Gain Valuable Experience
After the 2010/2011 season selection process, Dylan Murray and Edward Columbia were the top two points finishers, but for the World Junior Men’s Individual Championships in Herentals, Belgium, the World Squash Federation allowed three additional US players to enter the draw. Rounding out the US contingent were Faraz Khan, Liam McClintock and TJ Dembinski—and all five are all eligible to play in next year’s championships.
Dembinkski, one of our youngest players, faced the Indian No. 1 in the first round and quickly discovered what international competition is all about. After dropping that opener in three games, Dembinski quickly recovered for his next match against Dutch team member Guido Ploem, showing determination to overcame his more experienced player in four games.
McClintock, showed how gutsy he is considering he arrived in Belgium with a un-diagnosed ear infection. Playing Nicholas Hopcroft of England in the first round (recent Harvard recruit) he was unable to play at the level he is used to. McClintock was clearly struggling all week with his illness, however he refused to withdraw and continued to slog his way through the rest of the tournament.
Khan played the longest match of tournament in the first round against Martin Svec of the Czech Republic, eventually falling in five games. Playing on the glass court for the first time in his next match, Khan was unable to find his game against home player Jan Van Den Herrewegan, losing 3-1. Undetered, Khan turned around his tournament and managed to win his next three matches to win the plate draw and receive a medal on finals day.
Columbia, playing in his first World Championships, arrived in Belgium ready for action. His first round draw was against Tyler Osborne, Canadian No. 1 and a 9/16 seed for the event. Columbia played solid squash and gave his Canadian counterpart a scare in a very closely fought four games. In his next match, Columbia found himself 2-0 down to Belgium’s No. 2 playing in front of a home crow. Columbia showed sheer grit to claw his way back and win 12-10 in the fifth, a truly heroic effort. Losing in his final match to a strong English player, Adam Auckland, it was clear that Edward is capable of more and will surely feature for the US Team in the future.
Murray, the No. 1 US player, was the highest finisher for team USA. Winning his first match in straight games, Murray was looking sharp. In the round of 32 Murray came up against French No. 1 Jerome Dadot, a 9/16 seed for the event. Playing solid, tactically smart squash, Murray overcame the Frenchman in a closely fought three games. Gaining access to the top-16 junior players in the World is a tremendous achievement for the 16-year old US player. Murray lost his match in the round of 16 to English No. 1 Declan James, although coming close in two games and showing how dangerous he can be.
This years Junior World Championships was a successful event for the young US Team. With all players eligible for next years event in Cairo, the outlook looks very promising.