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World Squash Awards 2009
Sat 28th Nov, RAC, Pall Mall, London
Off the Press.... WISPA Most Improved Player of the Year – Camille Serme…. WISPA Young Player of the Year – Nour El Sherbini…. PSA Young Player of the Year – Mohamed El Shorbagy… WISPA Player of the Year – Nicol David…. PSA Player of the Year – Karim Darwish…. Services to Squash – Andrew Shelley…. Lifetime Achievement Award – F. D. Amr Bey

Darwish & David Are
World Squash Awards'
Players of the Year
Photos from SquashPics.com

Karim Darwish and Nicol David were honoured as Players of the Year at the annual World Squash Awards dinner, which attracted more than 150 leading figures from the squash world at the RAC Club in London at the weekend.

It was the fifth year of the prestigious awards event which is hosted by Eventis Sports Marketing - the company run by former players Peter Nicol, MBE; Tim Garner and Angus Kirkland - and backed by PSA and WISPA.

Darwish, the Egyptian who has topped the PSA world rankings for most of this year, received the PSA Player of the Year award, for the first time, from the PSA Chairman Ziad Al-Turki.

"It is a great honour to win this prestigious award - particularly in a year when a number of my PSA colleagues, like Amr Shabana, Gregory Gaultier and Nick Matthew, could have done so," said the 28-year-old from Cairo who flew into London especially for the occasion.

David, the Malaysian who this month celebrated her 40th straight month at the top of the women's world rankings, collected the WISPA Player of the Year award for the fifth year in a row!

Unable to attend the ceremony, David sent a recorded message from her home in Penang - which included thanks to her fellow WISPA members for voting for her, and assurances to the organisers that she would do her best to attend the dinner in person next year!

In an evening dominated by Egyptians, Mohamed El Shorbagy received the PSA Young Player of the Year award, from PSA Chief Operating Officer Lee Beachill.

After winning his first World Junior Championship title over a year ago, the 18-year-old from Alexandria immediately burst onto the senior circuit - reaching the quarter-finals of the 2008 World Open as a qualifier, and last month celebrating a career-high No14 PSA world ranking.

Nour El Sherbini, also from Alexandria, won the WISPA Young Player of the Year award, receiving her plaque from WISPA Chairwoman Ingrid Lofdahl-Bentzer.

The Egyptian teenager inscribed her name firmly in the sport's record books in August when, aged just 13 and seeded only to reach the last 16, she won the Women's World Junior (U19) Championship crown - becoming the youngest world squash champion of all-time.

The award for the WISPA Most Improved Player of the Year - presented by esteemed international squash journalist Richard Eaton - went to Camille Serme, the 20-year-old from France who won the 'Young Player of the Year' award two years ago.

The latest player to burst onto the international stage from the country which also produced men's world number ones Thierry Lincou and Gregory Gaultier, Serme followed her maiden win of the French national crown early this year by picking up three Tour titles in France, Switzerland and Egypt - and this month celebrated a career-high No14 world ranking.

All five Player winners also received a year’s Gold Level Membership to the Abu Dhabi national airline Ethiad.

A special Services to Squash award was made to WISPA CEO Andrew Shelley. Presented by England Squash & Racketball CEO Nick Rider, the award recognised "someone who has worked tirelessly for the game of squash for nearly 35 years."

After 18 years at the then Squash Rackets Association, where he was heavily involved with the transformation of the British Open into an all-glass court championship, Shelley moved to WISPA where his 15 years in charge have seen the women's organisation "grow phenomenally both in terms of players, countries and events," Rider pointed out.

A legendary figure of the sport in the 1930s was honoured with a Lifetime Achievement Award. Widely considered to be the first truly dominant player in the sport, Egyptian F. D. Amr Bey won the British Open six consecutive times from 1933-38 and became known as the first 'professional amateur' in squash, as his training for the game became the key focus of his life.

The late Amr Bey also won the British Amateur Championship six times, and never lost in the final of either British Championships - a feat only matched by Jonah Barrington.

"He is widely considered to have raised the level of the sport of squash to new heights through both his outstanding racket skills and his exceptional speed & fitness - hence his nickname the 'Human Streak of Lightning',” said event organiser Peter Nicol.

"Combined with his championship squash abilities, he left a legacy of sportsmanship, good will, and friendship with his strongest rivals. He was the first building block that created the foundation for Egyptian squash that has been carried on - and is no better illustrated than by the recipients of this evening’s other awards," added Nicol.

An additional award was made by PSA CEO Alex Gough to Sheila Cooksley, the PSA's Tour Executive who celebrated 25 years with the Association earlier this year.

"Sheila has been with the professional game since day one. I am sure if it wasn't for her knowledge and experience we wouldn't have the successful Tour that we have today," said Gough. "She has seen the good times and the bad times and she has been unwavering about always wanting the best for the Association and its members.

"The PSA is very lucky to have had someone like Sheila and I feel very proud and fortunate to be working with her now."
  

Malcolm's View

It was re-assuring to be at the RAC Club for squash's proper World Awards, expertly organised by the Eventis team, led by Tim Garner and Peter Nicol.

It was good, too, to see the event so well supported, with a host of the sport's big names in attendance. Amidst the most hectic of schedules, Karim Darwish, Nick Matthew and Peter Barker, even though he lives locally, did well to attend and Darwish was fittingly rewarded for his retention of the World no.1 position for most of 2009 when he was named Player of the year, though Matthew's and Amr Shabana's recent achievements have been notable.

Nicol David took the Ladies' equivalent for the fifth year in a row, a remarkable achievement and smiling as she always is, sent a recorded message. The way things are going for Jenny Duncalf just now, she may be a challenge to David's supremacy in the next year.

France's Camille Serme won the improved player and deserves credit not solely for the award but for her elegant speech in receiving it.

Unsurprisingly the Young player awards went to the two outstanding Egyptians, both World Junior champions, The affable Mohamed El Shorbagy and the exceptional Nour El Sherbini It was a proud moment, too for the Shorbagy family, mum, dad and brother and for Nour's father, who were all present.

Andrew Shelley, ever present and ageless, won the prestigious Services to Squash Award and a special award was also made to Sheila Cooksley for her invaluable work for PSA.

Finally the Lifetime Award went to another playing great F.D.Amr Bey.

It was good to see Andy Bunting there, looking fit and well after recent health problems. I still managed to see and back the great Denman at Newbury earlier in the day and nearly pulled off what would have been a sensational double, when I was in the last three of Master Compere Adrian Davies' heads or tails game, last man/woman standing.

However, having promised the cash to the Injured Jockeys fund and with some mouth-watering winner-take-all prizes, Iwas beaten in a photo finish. A win would have rounded a great day.

Life, though, only occasionally reaches such perfection and as I often have I came up short!

Well done Tim, Peter and Eventis.

Lifetime Achievement Award:  F D Amr Bey

The winner of the 2009 Lifetime Achievement Award is widely considered to be the first truly dominant player in the sport of squash. He was not a professional, but he beat all the top professional players of his time and has been called the first "professional amateur" in squash because his training for the game became the key focus of his life.

He won the British Open six consecutive times from 1933-38, In addition to these and numerous other titles, he also won the British Amateur Championship six times and never lost in the final of either British Championships, a feat only matched by Jonah Barrington.

He is widely considered to have raised the level of the sport of squash to new heights through both though his outstanding racket skills, and his exceptional speed & fitness, hence his nickname the “Human Streak of Lightning”. Stories of his retrieval of virtually irretrievable shots have given him legendary status.

Combined with his championship squash abilities, he left a legacy of sportsmanship, good will, and friendship with his strongest rivals. He was the first building block that created the foundation for Egyptian squash that has been carried on and is no better illustrated than by the recipients of this evening’s other awards.

For this reason the winner of the 2009 Lifetime Achievement Award is Amr Bey. Given the fact that he won the RAC’s own Open Championship ten consecutive times I would like to invite RAC squash chairman James Sandwith up to collect the trophy so that it may sit alongside the silver statue of Amr in the display cabinet downstairs.

Amr Bey on Wikipedia
 
Services to Squash:
Andrew Shelley

The winner of the 2009 Services to Squash Award is someone who has worked tirelessly for the game of squash for nearly 35 years.

Despite not always being the quickest to embrace technology (a mobile phone was only a recent addition to his collection), he has always moved with the times seeking to move the game forwards be in new markets or with new partners.

He worked for what was then the Squash Rackets Association for 18 years being heavily involved in the British Open in its hay day years at Wembley Conference Centre, but at the same time overseeing juniors, elite, membership and so on.

He then chose a career path that took him to a role that can’t have been a hard sell but equally a tough job being the only male in an organisation of women. His 15 years in charge of WISPA has seen it grow phenomenally both in terms of players, countries and events.

Always unassuming but a deserving winner of this award the 2009 Services to Squash Award goes to …. Andrew Shelley.
 

Photos from Marwan El Shorbagy

18-Nov:
World Squash Awards To Reveal Official Tour Players Of The Year


The fifth annual World Squash Awards Dinner, to be held on Saturday 28th November at the RAC Club in London, will see the identities of the official Men's & Women's Tour Players of the Year being announced, along with other general international awards.

For the women, the full membership of the Women's International Squash Players' Association has voted for the WISPA Player of the Year, the WISPA Young Player of the Year, and the WISPA Most Improved Player of the Year.

Similarly, the Professional Squash Association board has voted on the PSA Player of the Year and also the PSA Young Player of the Year.

"This year has been the most competitive year on the PSA World Tour for some years," said PSA Chief Operating Officer Lee Beachill. "Since the World Squash Awards last year in Manchester, Amr Shabana, Karim Darwish and Gregory Gaultier have all seen themselves at the summit of the Dunlop PSA World Rankings - which has made this decision harder than ever.

"The players continue to raise the bar year on year, adding to the excitement for squash fans around the world," added the former world number one.

WISPA Chief Executive Andrew Shelley said: "The World Squash Awards Dinner, superbly organised by Eventis, has become a great opportunity for our sport to fete its stars across the spectrum. The awards are cherished and a great international evening will doubtless be had by all."
  

The Nominations - cast your votes:

PSA Player of the Year:

43%: Amr Shabana
35%: Gregory Gaultier
12%: Nick Matthew
10%: Karim Darwish
WISPA Player of the Year:

59%: Nicol David
28%: Nour El Sherbini
13%: Natalie Grainger
The fun voting is over, thanks to everyone
who contributed -
over 11,000 votes cast ...
PSA Young Player of the Year:

56%: Mohamed El Shorbagy
26%: Nicolas Mueller
18%: Aamir Atlas Khan
WISPA Young Player of the Year:

54%: Dipika Pallikal
41%: Nour El Sherbini
  2%: Nour El Tayeb
  1%: Amanda Sobhy
  1%: Kanzy El Dafrawy
  1%: Maria Toor Pakay

WISPA Most Improved Player:

53%: Camille Serme
17%: Donna Urquhart
16%: Annie Au
15%: Joelle King

 

Race Hots Up for
PSA Player of the Year


The icing on the cake for the winner of the Kuwait World Open may well be sealing the award for the Official PSA Male Player of the Year and there are still a host of candidates still in the running.

The World Squash Awards is the annual occasion when the two professional players bodies, PSA and WISPA, present their players of the year.

This year it will take place in the stunning Mounbatten Room at the RAC, Pall Mall, London, on Saturday 28th November. Those in line to lift the coveted trophy are new World no.1 Greg Gaultier, recent Hong Kong champion Amr Shabana, British Open Champion Nick Matthew and not to mention defending World Champion Ramy Ashour! Karim Darwish’s Last 16 exit to last year’s PSA Player of the Year James Willstrop may harm his chances when the winner is announced.

Ziad Al Turki, PSA Chairman, pointed out: "‘as can be seen by the array of talent that can still win the PSA Player of the Year, this has been an incredibly exciting year for squash. Not only will the players want to lift the World title but victory would undoubtedly put them in prime position to win our official player of the year title that will be presented at the end of the month at the World Squash Awards."

Information about the dinner, is available from Tim Garner at Tgarner@eventis-sports.com
 
5th ANNUAL WORLD SQUASH
AWARDS RETURNS TO RAC


The world’s leading players will be honoured at the fifth annual World Squash Awards which will take place in the stunning Mounbatten Room at the RAC, Pall Mall, London, on Saturday 28th November.

Last year’s PSA Player of the Year James Willstrop and WISPA Player of the Year Nicol David will be joined by the world’s top men and women who will be hoping to win one of the sport’s most coveted awards.

Amongst the favourites for this year’s PSA Male Player of the Year will be World no.1 Karim Darwish & British Open Champion Nick Matthew, while Malaysia’s World Champion Nicol David looks set to fact stiff competition to retain her award from British Open Rachael Grinham from Australia.

The glittering gala evening will be hosted by former top player Adrian ‘Wizard’ Davies and a fun night is anticipated for the 150 attending the awards ceremony which has rapidly established itself as one of the off court highlights of the squash calendar.

Peter Nicol MBE, Director of Eventis, the event organisers said:

"We’re delighted to be returning to the RAC for the World Squash Awards. It is magnificent venue and one loved by everyone who attends be it for the first time or someone who has experienced its history & splendour before."

Individual tickets or tables can be booked by anyone wishing to attend and Nicol went on to explain “we really see the event as the chance for people from all walks of squash to get together from club players through to sponsors and the worlds elite. Our aim is to make it a fun evening for all concerned."

Categories and past winners :

PSA Male Player of Year –
2005 Thierry Lincou, 2006 and 2007 Amr Shabana,
2008 James Willstrop

PSA Young Male Player of Year –
2005 James Willstrop, 2006 and 2007 Ramy Ashour,
2008 Omar Moasaad

WISPA Female Player of Year –
2005 Vanessa Atkinson, 2006, 2007 and 2008 Nicol David

WISPA Female Young Player of the Year –
2005 Raneem El Weleily, 2006 Tenille Swartz,
2007 Camille Serme, 2008 Annie Au

WISPA Female Most Improved Player of the Year –
2005 Alison Waters 2006 Nicolette Fernandes
2007 Shelley Kitchen, 2008 Laura Lengthorn-Massaro

Services to Squash Award –
2007 Dicky Rutnagur, Jim Quigley

Lifetime Achievement Award –
2005 Jahangir, 2006 Jonah Barrington, 2007 Heather McKay,
2008 Geoff Hunt, Azam Khan and Hashim Khan

Information about the dinner, is available from
Tim Garner
at Tgarner@eventis-sports.com

Previous Awards

 

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