For the fourth time in six WWTCs, Egypt and England will meet in the final, at 4pm. Here is a look into the previous ones with Raneem El Welily.
Photo credit: sitesquash
For a long time the Women’s World Team Championships was all about the England versus Australia rivalry: the two countries have met in 13 of the 19 finals. But the Aussies have been recently replaced by Egypt, who made the top 4 three times in a row before reaching their first finals in 2006. Here is a look back at the England vs. Egypt WWTC finals, with Raneem El Welily.
2006 – Edmonton, Canada – England beat Egypt 2-0
Omnenya Abdel Kawy had to retire against Tania Bailey therefore the key match was Vicky Botwright’s win over Engy Kheirallah. The English player came back from 1-2 down to win in 5 games after a marathon match (77 minutes).
Raneem El Welily
“The first time I actually participated in the Women’s World Team Championship was in 2004. I was number 4 in the squad and therefore didn’t play many matches, but I learned a lot. So moving to number 3 in 2006 was a big step. Omneya and Engy were such great examples for the sport in Egypt, and to be in the team with them was very exciting for me. It was also the very first time Egypt made the finals, so that was a big achievement for us.”
2008 – Cairo, Egypt – Egypt beat England 2-1
This final was considered at the time as one of the most dramatic climaxes of the Women’s World Team Championship, and was played in front of a packed crowd of very noisy Egyptian fans. English players were all higher ranked than their opponents but Omneya Abdel Kawy opened proceedings beating Jenny Duncalf in straight games. Then Laura Lengthorn-Massaro silenced the crowd beating Raneem El Welily (who was only 19 years old) in 5 games. The decider was a real drama, England’s second string Alison Waters twice taking the lead, only for Engy Kheirallah to draw level. The Egyptian faced a match-ball at 9-10 in the fifth but won the point on a stroke, before moving onto her own match-ball at 11-10 – which she won when a ball off the back wall from Waters failed to reach the front wall. There was immediate pandemonium around the glistening court as Egyptians jumped up and down, screaming with joy.
Raneem El Welily
“It was different that time, we were playing in Egypt and everybody was there to support us: our families, the squash family and even people who had nothing to do with the sport. The crowd was very excited and may not have been very fair at crucial moments. But nobody expected Egypt to beat England for the first time. It was very big and people went insane. Omneya had won the first match, then I remember losing in five games to Laura and feeling really bad not to have managed to win. It was then Engy’s turn to go on court to play the deciding match. She lost the first game so comprehensively that I thought we had lost. But I remember she made the biggest comeback of her career and played her best squash ever. It’s probably one of my best sporting memories.”
2012 – Nîmes, France – Egypt beat England 2-1
Like four years ago, this final went to the wire. Second seeds Egypt recovered from a match down to upset favourites England and win the first WWTC held in France. England got off to a good start when Alison Waters beat Nour El Sherbini in 5 games in the first ever meeting between the two world top ten players. In the top string duel, Laura Massaro took the early lead but Raneem El Welily was able to take her revenge from 2008 and closed the match in 4 games including two tie-breaks. The pattern of the first two matches was repeated in the decider when Jenny Duncalf again put England ahead by winning the first game against Omneya Abdel Kawy. But her long-time rival moved ahead by taking the next two games. Duncalf fought hard to draw level – and in the decider won five points in a row to move 7-4 up. But Abdel Kawy produced a remarkable effort to win 11-8 victory and bring a second world title to her country.
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Raneem El Welily
“2012 is another one of my best sporting memories. I remember we were 1-0 down in matches when I got on court and I was losing at the beginning. So I told myself to give everything I had. I decided I would do absolutely everything I could before getting off court. So that at least I wouldn’t let anyone down. My matches with Laura are usually close in scores so this was no surprise, but my win meant that we were now were tied at 1-1. The last deciding match was epic, so close all the way to the end, but we were very happy that Omneya managed to win. She was our hero that day 🙂”
FROM THE OTHER SIDE OF THE MIRROR: ALISON WATERS
“In three out of the four World Teams I have been a part of, we have played Egypt in the final… My first ever World Team Championship was in Edmonton in 2006 and we beat them. It was a special moment to win my first title with the team. We lost to them in Cairo two years later in an exciting and nerve wrecking final. I lost the deciding rubber 12-10 in the fifth, so it was an emotional moment personally and a tough loss for everyone. Then in 2012 we lost 2-1. All three matches had been exciting and full of drama. This sums up the event for me: matches are normally full of excitement, with lots of tense moments and great atmospheres. It certainly makes for an entertaining week.”
Photo credit: squashpics.com