Sunday, July 19, 2009

A New Concept in Chennai

Cyrus Poncha looks at the Championships

A New Concept for the World Juniors ...

This is a special world junior championship. For the first time in its history we are having an additional individual event. Since its inception the world juniors have been held biennially. Junior men (Individual and team) one year, and junior women (Individual and team) the following year.

A 17 year old junior playing in the championship may peak only the following year, however as no championship is scheduled for that the youngster misses out on an opportunity to do well and perhaps become a world champion.

So the SRFI began a campaign to have an annual individual event included in the WSF calendar. After some deliberation at the highest level in the WSF, the proposal was finally accepted. India was given the honour of organising the inaugural stand-alone junior championship.

This year it will be the world junior women’s individual and teams event whilst the boys will be an individual event only. Next year it will be the world junior men’s individual and team event and the girls an individual event only. The team event remains a biennial event.

Individual Championship

The 13th World Junior Women’s Squash Championships will be held from 29 July - 2 August 2009.

This year in the junior women’s individual event Indian squash is proud of the fact that their No.1 junior player Dipika Pallikal (also ranked 48 in WISPA) has been given top billing, and is favourite to take over from Raneem El Weleily, winner of the last two championships.

Three years ago the SRFI had the foresight to bid for this event knowing that they will be developing a crop of young girls who could excel in the championships. Dipika who started her career at the Indian Squash Academy will expect strong opposition from second seed Heba El Torky from Egypt and 3/4 seeds Laura Gemmell from Canada and Egyptian Nour El Tayeb.

The 16th World Junior Men’s Individual Championship will be held concurrently with the women’s individual from 28 July - 2 August 2009.

In the individual junior men’s event defending champion Mohamed El Shorbagy from Egypt has taken his rightful place as the No.1 seed. At 17 in the PSA rankings, Shorbagy becomes the highest ranked player to participate in a world junior championship and could become only the second player to win this title twice after Ramy Ashour, winner in 2004 and 2006 (not taking into consideration the fact that Jahangir Khan was a world amateur senior champion as a 15 year old). Seeded two is Ivan Yuen from Malaysia for whom Chennai is a favourite hunting ground having won the Asian Junior title earlier this year. Seeded 3/4 are Karim Abdel Gawad & Andrew Wagih Shoukry, both from Egypt.

Team Championship

The 16th World Junior Women’s Team Squash Championships will be held from 3 - 8 August 2009. The junior women’s team event follows on immediately after.

With all their girls featured in the top 16 seedings, the Egyptian team have secured top billing. India who attained the 9th position in 2007 with Dipika, Surbhi, Anwesha and Harita being the team members are all eligible this year. The SRFI will announce its final women’s squad during the individual event. This year the Indian girls have been given an interim seeding of four behind Egypt, Malaysia and Canada.

And also ...

Dr. M.S.Gill, Minister of Youth Affairs and Sport will inaugurate the championships at the Hotel Taj Mount Road on 28 July 2009 at 1930hrs. Shri. Suresh Kalmadi, President Indian Olympic Association and Member of Parliament will release the championship souvenir which will be received by Shri. K.S. Sripathi, Chief Secretary, Govt. of Tamil Nadu. Shri. Sripathi will also give away the prizes on 2 August 2009 to the individual world champions at the Indian Squash Academy. The trophies for the team championship on 8 August will be given away by Shri. K. P. Jain, Director General of Police and Shri. N. Ramachandran, President World Squash Federation at the Indian Squash Academy.

On 6th & 7th August 2009, the Management Committee and Executive Committee of the World Squash Federation will meet in Chennai for the first time to discuss the Olympic bid and other administrative matters.

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