Gohar and Tayeb stake their claims for Cairo

The CIB PSA Women’s World Championship will feature three former champions in the 64-player draw – Egypt’s Nour El Sherbini and Raneem El Welily were the champions in the last two editions, in Chicago and Manchester, and are the top seeds, while Australian veteran Rachael Grinham was champion in 2007 in Madrid.

Egypt has enormous strength in depth in women’s squash, and it was Nouran Gohar and Nour El Tayeb, fourth and fifth seeds for the tournament, who laid down markers at the recently-concluded U.S. Open in Philadelphia.

El Tayeb, put in a blistering performance to beat Welily in the semi-finals, while Gohar powered France’s Camille Serme, seeded three in Cairo, off the court to reach the final.

And what a final it was – Tayeb took a two-nil lead and had a match ball at the end of a close third game, but Gohar saved that and went on to take the following two games to claim her third major title – in the process denying Tayeb a second U.S. Open double with husband Ali Farag.

Between them Sherbini, Welily, Tayeb and Gohar won 8 World Junior titles – Egyptians have claimed that particular title 12 of the last 13 times – and all are now fully integrated into the senior game, with recent junior winners Rowan Elaraby and Hania El Hammamy surely set to follow in their footsteps.

It’s likely, however, that it will be Egypt’s ‘big four’ who will be battling it out in the later stages in front of the Pyramids, and Sherbini and Welily will be well aware that Gohar and Tayeb are hot on their heels …