CAIRO: World junior champion Ramy Ashour has won the world’s richest squash tournament, the 2007 Sheikha Al Saad Kuwait Open, in a dramatic all-Egyptian men’s final against world number one Amr Shabana.
In a brilliant display of attacking squash, Ashour seized control of the match to win in straight games, coming back from 10-6 down in the third. “I m really happy with how I played, and my new rackets worked well, Ashour said. “I m going to go up in the rankings, which is the most important thing – oh, and the size of the cheque too, of course!
In the women’s finals, Malaysia’s world champion Nicol David defeated triple Commonwealth Games gold medallist Natalie Grinham in four games to keep her Sheikha Al Saad Open women’s crown. It s great to win here a second time and retain my title, David said. “It s been a fantastic week .
The final night of the tournament began with a surprise appearance from squash legend Jahangir Khan and concluded with a spectacular indoor fireworks and laser show. Tournament President, Sheikha Fadyah Al-Sabah congratulated players, spectators and tournament officials on making the event such a success.
“We have seen a feast of exciting squash played at the very highest level here at the Al Qadsia Sports Club, Sheikha Fadyah said. “I would like to pay tribute to the players for giving us a wonderful spectacle and for the superb spirit in which they have competed.
“The Sheikha Al Saad Open has become the biggest tournament in world squash and has placed Kuwait at the forefront of the sport internationally. I would like to invite all players and squash fans to return to Kuwait for next year’s Super Series Platinum event and I hope you can all be here when Kuwait hosts the 2009 World Open Championship.
Competition during the tournament was fierce, with matches running long into the night, as players vied for the richest prize fund ever offered in the history of squash: $200,000 for the men’s PSA (the Professional Squash Association) event and $58,000 for the Wispa (the Women’s International Squash Players Association) draw.
The 2007 Sheikha Al Saad Open is the first leg of a record-breaking three year agreement between Kuwait and the PSA.
Tournament Director Robert Edwards said, “The Sheikha Al Saad Open has taken our sport to a totally new level. We are witnessing the dawn of a new era in squash that has begun here in Kuwait, and my deepest thanks go to Sheikha Fadyah for her vision in making it possible
“I would also like to pay my respects to the tournament’s Technical Director, Major General Mahmoud Razouki, who has performed with great aplomb and become a close friend of mine during this event.
The finals of the 2007 Sheikha Al Saad Open were filmed for international television audiences and broadcast live on Kuwait TV and around the world on the Internet.