• Men's World Junior Squash Championships • 13-17 July 2011 • Belgium •  





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TODAY in Herentals              Fram on the keyboard, Steve behind the shutter

A new World Junior Champion is guaranteed after today's semi-finals in Herentals, which were the first to be contested by a single country since England did so in 1990.

Today we had two all-Egyptian affairs in which Marwan El Shorbagy and Mohamed Abouelgar progressed to Sunday's final.

Read all about it ...

[2] Marwan El Shorbagy
bt [9/16] Mazen Hesham Ga Sabry
                 11/6, 11/9, 11/9 (34m)

[5/8] Mohamed Abouelgar bt [1] Amr Khaled Khalifa
              9/11, 11/8, 3/11, 11/7, 11/9 (70m)


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[2] Marwan El Shorbagy bt [9/16] Mazen Hesham Ga Sabry
                 11/6, 11/9, 11/9 (34m)


A calm, composed and professional player stepped on court today, and we had a completely different match from yesterday…

If young Mazen was really nervous and never really let go of his arm, he still gave a good run to Marwan, who had to play pretty well, although in my eyes, the winner was always to be Marwan, who was always ahead apart from a little spell in the third when he had to come from 6-4 down.

A few too many cross courts made the game a bit monotonous at times, but enough attacks, nicks, retrieval and four corners visit to keep us entertained for this first semi…

I spoke with everybody, Mum, Jonah, my brother, Ian, and I knew I had to be relaxed today, play squash, not talk to the ref, that’s all I had to do.

I think I played the right game, I didn’t go for silly shots, I was patient, and was waiting for him to make errors, as he goes for a lot of shots.

He is extremely talented, definitely one of the most talented juniors in Egypt, and I’m pretty sure he’ll put his name on the trophy one day.

I’m so happy I’m in the final for the first time.

Everybody wants the title, I’ll have to be at my 100%, but above everything, I’ll try and play my best squash, and enjoy the moment…

I was so nervous, so scared… I hadn’t played Marwan for about two years, and he’s improved a lot.

I made far too many errors, I have to be more patient, especially at the crucial times.

Still, I’m happy I reached the semis for my first World Juniors…

[5/8] Mohamed Abouelgar bt [1] Amr Khaled Khalifa
              9/11, 11/8, 3/11, 11/7, 11/9 (70m)


This second match was actually more structured than the first one, with tight drives, lovely lobs, stunning long drop shots and volley drop shots, again, sorry to repeat myself, but so much retrieving, and an Aboelghar so fast to move to the front, which of course allowed him to take the ball very early, and keep Khalifa waaaay at the back, forcing him to cover an awful lot of ground.

Key of the match was that Amr was basically defending more or less the whole the match, except in the third and beginning of the fifth, where he was more positive and attacking himself.

The rest of the time, he was too passive, expecting Mohamed to make the error – as he probably often does – and ended up running the four corners time and time again, emptying his reserves, and when the fifth came, he basically had not much left…

In my opinion, this match should be shown in Squash Junior school, as we had two players who asked for very few lets, a bit more at the very end, as there were both very tired – the match having lasted 70mn, they called every single double bounce, they never argued with the ref, only a bit of a look here and there.

And the best moment was in the fifth, when Amr was desperate to clean his glasses. Nothing on him was dry enough, and he was unable to dry them.

“Can I go out please?” “No, you must remain on court,” said the ref…

What did young Mohamed do? He used his own shorts to clean his opponent’s glasses. People, is that class, sportsmanship, or what????

I love my players…

I’m very happy, but I really cannot really let my emotions out, as there is still tomorrow to play.

In the beginning, I was over excited, I really went for my shots too early, and made too much errors. Then I started playing serious squash, and I was accurate at the back.

In the third, I started again to go for shots, and of course, I made too many errors, and I lost that one quickly.

My dad told me right before the 4th to keep the ball going, that I had nothing to lose, and that’s what I did. I told myself not to make any errors until I reach 5. But at 5/2, my mind was too much set on wining, wining, and that led to play too early again.

I was able to cut down on errors, and I did my best to keep my emotions down. And even at match ball, I didn’t want to get excited, because I know that Amr is so good in the come back, and he can eat you alive!

This was a match where fitness was really important, so I want to thank my fitness coach, Fery, and my Dad….

I’m so happy, but, one more.

It’s so hard, that pressure, you have to be number one, if you are number two, you are nothing…

He played better than me today. I worked so hard in the first game, running after his shots, in the fifth, I didn’t have much left…. Well played to him really…

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