Mohamed El Shorbagy and Nour El Sherbini won the men’s and women’s finals, respectively, of the British Open squash championship, marking the first time for Egyptians to win both titles.
Both El Shorbagy and El Sherbini were competing against fellow Egyptians in a historic final round that saw four Egyptian players vying for the top spot, guaranteeing that the winning titles would land in Egyptian hands.
El Sherbini narrowly defeated 18-year-old Nouran Gohar, who would have been the youngest woman to secure the title had she won, after winning three out of five sets. El Sherbini nonetheless made history as the first Egyptian woman to win the championship since its creation in 1922.
“I’m very proud be the first Egyptian (woman) to win. It’s a huge thing and hopefully other Egyptians will make us proud,” El Sherbini told AFP following her historic win.
“I would like to dedicate this title to my mother land and beloved Country Egypt and the beautiful people of Egypt,” she said in a statement on her Facebook page.
On Saturday, El Sherbiny rose to the final round after defeating Malaysia’s Nicol David, ranked second worldwide, while Gohar defeated defending champion Camille Sermie in another hard-fought match.
Meanwhile, El Shorbagy won against Ramy Ashour, 28, who had previously defeated France’s Gregory Gaultier in the semi-final round.
In contrast to the women’s final, whose fate took five sets to determine, the men’s final ended after El Shorbagy won three consecutive games 11-3, 11-5 and 11-9.
Prior to the championship, world number five Ashour suffered from a hamstring injury that had prevented him from competing in several tournaments. Nonetheless, he refused to blame his loss on the injury, saying instead that he was not mentally prepared.
Despite failing to secure the top title, Ashour took to Twitter to congratulate his Egyptian compatriot on his win, saying he was “the better player.”
Mohamed was the better player today, congratulations to him … Glad my body is healthy… #allambritishopen2016
— Ramy Ashour (@RamyAshour) March 27, 2016
El Shorbagy also took to social media to express his happiness at winning, saying, “So proud to win my 2nd British Open and defend my title…thanks to my team for making this possible without them I would have never imagined winning a 5th successive World Series!! Thanks all for your support and congrats to Egypt for securing both titles today.”