World Junior Squash Championship: Asal on top of the world ; Rowan defends her crownJuly 24, 2018
Egyptian No. 2 Mostafa Asal could not believe his luck after hitting the winning shot in the boys’ final of World Junior Squash Championship held at Express Avenue on Monday. He let out a scream, threw his racquet in the air and did Cristiano Ronaldo’s GOAT celebration – making it known to the world how special the triumph was. After all, the 11-7, 13-11, 11-4 victory had come after beating compatriot, defending champion and World No. 1 junior Tarek Marwan and Asal had every reason to be happy.
“I am a big Cristiano Ronaldo fan, so I copied his World Cup celebration,” Asal said with a laugh. “I can’t believe that I get to call myself a world champion now. Tarek was a little exhausted after a five-setter yesterday but I don’t think I have won without a fight. I played him in the Nationals a couple of months ago and I defeated him 3-0 even there.”
Tarek’s strategy of keeping the rally going while waiting for Asal to commit an error did not work and the top seed had no plan B. Asal, on the other hand, kept his best game which is about deft movements and immaculate returns for the final. At the fag end of the second game Tarek lost balance and fell on the court and with that, his game, too, fell apart. Though he managed to stretch the second game to 11-11, there wasn’t enough firepower to halt Asal’s run.
Though girls’ defending champion Rowan Reda Araby restored order and defended her crown winning 11-4, 11-9, 10-12, 11-9, it was not without some tense moments. The Egyptian top seed was in cruise control against Hania El Hammamy and won the first game easily. The two were locked 9-9 in the second but Rowan showed composure to clinch that too. The top seed was soon just a point away from the title but the match was far from over. She squandered four championship points to lose the game.
“I actually freaked out. I started thinking about the title at 10-6 and that made me lose my concentration. However, I regrouped and started focusing on my game plan. And I turned it around soon,” Rowan said after the match.
“This was the toughest match in the whole tournament. Hania and I have always played tough matches and I am really happy to have come through this tough game. It’s not easy to play a fellow Egyptian, but when we enter the court, we forget about everything else and just focus,” the top seed said.