FROM WAY BACK WHEN...
a little skinny boy approached me in Cairo Stadium, during the
qualifying of the Worlds in 2006, asking to have his photo taken
with him, I would have never ever dreamed that I was standing next
to a double World Junior Champion.
But here he is. Young El Shorbagy, talented on both court and
classroom. And as Alex Gough, Thierry Lincou or Tarek Momen before
him, amoung so many others, he is both working hard to perfect his
brain and his game.
How, why? That's what he is trying to explain to us...
Studying is very
important, people have different opinions on this.. but I think it's
important to get a degree.
In Egypt, we must finish high school, then go to university and
finish our degree, it's kind of, the better degree you get, the more
respect you get from people, that's how it works here!
Well it's totally different in the UK, so when I moved to England, I
realised that some - if not all the squash players - don't actually
go to university and they go full time on tour after school.. well I
am totally against that!
OF THE INTEREST OF STUDYING...
Some of these players don't make it in squash and they end up
regretting it not to go to university afterwards. I am not saying
that squash shouldn't be your priority but at least you should have
something to back up your squash, just something as a second option,
what happens if you get injured badly one day? Or you don't have
enough money to travel for tournaments? Also you should think about
your future what will you do after you finish squash? What kind of
job can you get without a degree?
THE AMERICAN MODEL...
Some of the players use squash to get them into a good university in
the States which is okay because they put education as their
have seen in the last few years some of the good junior players like
Amr Khaled Khalifa, Ali Farag and Amanda Sobhy have
moved to the states to get a good degree and then they will have the
choice of after they finish either to go back and play squash again
but obviously they would have wasted 4 or 5 years studying and they
could have achieved a lot in such a young age or they can find a
good job where they can make more money than playing squash.
Well, as for me I used my squash to get me into a good school in
England and at the same time, I get coached by one of the greatest
of the sport Jonah Barrington in Millfield School, the
best sport school in the UK.
At some point, I was thinking about moving to the States and study
at one of the best universities in the world, but after winning my
first World Juniors, I thought that if I stay in England, I
could get a good degree and at the same time, I could go full time
and get good training.
So then I got an offer from the University of the West of England,
where we get coached by Hadrian Stiff. The good thing about
my university is that they support sports really well and we always
get support from them. Also, the good thing about it that there's no
attendance so I don't have to go to every single lecture, I can go
and train instead sometimes and catch up with the work later on the
internet! at least now all I have to concentrate on is my squash..
RUSHING FROM ONE TO THE OTHER...
Education can put you in stressing situations, especially when exams
rhyme with tournaments. I remember last year, May 2012, my brother
and I were having exams in Bristol during the British Open in London
at the O2, thank God we didn't pull out!
But the day I lost to Saurav, I remember having a 9am exam the next
day, so I had to get a 7pm train from London, I ended up in Bristol
around 9ish, somehow I did pass the exam. As for my brother, he had
to get a taxi from Bristol to London after his exam to play his
first round in the British Open.
Obviously, having a good squash career can give you a lot of
opportunities after you are done with squash. Doing coaching for
example, most of the great players have moved to the states like
Palmer and Lincou. Also travelling around the tour allows you to
meet a lot of people, which can help you later on in life.
I believe in the future that I will do something to do with squash,
but also I would like to do something with my degree at the same
time and maybe do coaching as a part time. But yet I'm still too
young to plan something like that from now...
Do you remember when...