Egypt have been named as top seeds for next month’s inaugural WSF Under-21 World Cup in India.
The new biennial event, launched by the World Squash Federation, will be staged at the Express Avenue Mall inChennai from 1-5 February.
The championship will feature mixed teams of two men and one woman, following the highly successful format of the biennialWSF World Cup.
Egypt’s formidable squad includes the two reigning world junior champions Marwan El Shorbagy and Nour El Tayeb – ranked 41 and 20, respectively, in the world and both still aged 18 – in addition to 20-year-old world No42 Karim Abdel Gawad; 18-year-old Mohamed Abouelghar, ranked 78; and 16-year-old former world junior champion Nour El Sherbini, currently the world No28.
England are seeded to line up against Egypt in the final. The second seeds are pinning their hopes on a squad led by 19-year-old Charles Sharpes, ranked 96 in the world, and 17-year-old European Junior Champion Emily Whitlock, the world No33.
Home hopes are led by an Indian squad featuring Dipika Pallikal, the women’s world No15 from Chennai and the highest-ranked player in the event. Making up the squad are 17-year-old Asian Junior U19 champion Anaka Alankamony, andRavi Dixit, Ramit Tandon and Karan Malik.
Early action will take place in two pools of four teams each, followed by semi-finals on Saturday 4 February, and the final on the Sunday.
“After the very successful biennial WSF World Cup last year, it is now great to welcome the debuting WSF Under 21 World Cup in intervening years,” said WSF CEO Andrew Shelley.
“It will provide a superb world level mixed team opportunity for top juniors and players who have recently left the under 19 age band. It is sure to grow as nations see how well it will be hosted in Chennai and start to allocate budgets to take their places too.”
Pool line-ups (with seedings in brackets):
Pool A: (1) Egypt, (4) India, (5) Australia, (8) Germany
Pool B: (2) England, (3) France, (6) Hong Kong, (7) Malaysia