International sport will return to Egypt for the first time since the country’s revolution when the El Gouna International Squash Open takes place at the Red Sea resort of El Gouna from 8-13 April.
The PSA World Series championship, the third of the year, is offering $115,000 in prize money – making it one of the top ten squash events of 2012.
“This event was launched in 2010 and immediately established itself as one of the leading events on our calendar,” said PSA CEO Alex Gough. “So we are delighted not only that it is back after being lost last year as a result of the troubles, but that it is heralding the return of international sport to Egypt.”
Tournament Director Amr Mansi, a former PSA player and head of i-Events, said: “Special thanks to Orascom development and El Gouna for their support, and we are looking forward to hosting this event. I’m delighted that we attracted all the world best players, we look forward to support all the players in the tournament as well as the opportunity to let the fans and spectators know more about Egypt as a great travel destination.”
Assistant Tournament Director Omar El Sherbini added: “Amr and I have been working hard hand-in-hand for the past seven months. We faced ups and downs but we managed to stay strong at the end. I am glad to be part of this prestigious squash event at El Gouna Red Sea Egypt. The event has a very interesting draw featuring the top 32 players in the world, so we hope you will enjoy it this year as much as we will do.
“It is my pleasure to be working with Amr. He is a great guy, friend and deserves the best.”
The main draw will be played in El Gouna on a new all-glass ASB court owned by the Egyptian Squash Federation, following qualifying at Sporting Club in Alexandria from 5-6 April.
The 2012 El Gouna International boasts a star-studded draw featuring seven players who have held the world number one ranking and led by England’s James Willstrop, the current number one.
Local interest will be led by defending champion Karim Darwish, the world No4 from Cairo who will be bidding to win his third PSA World Series title on home soil.
Fellow Egyptians in the draw include world No5 Ramy Ashour, the 2010 runner-up from Cairo who is returning to competitive action in his home country after overcoming injury at the beginning of the year; Amr Shabana, the four-time world champion from Cairo; rising star Mohamed El Shorbagy, the 21-year-old world No8 from Alexandria who is the youngest player in the PSA top 30; and Omar Mosaad, the world No12 from Cairo who will arrive in El Gouna fresh from two successive title triumphs on the PSA World Tour.
Also of note are Gregory Gaultier, the world No2 from France who is expected to meet Willstrop in the final; and third seed Nick Matthew, the Englishman who topped the world rankings throughout 2011 and successfully defended the World Open title in Rotterdam late last year.
Official Website: www.elgounasquashopen.com
1st round draw:
 James Willstrop (ENG) v Nicolas Mueller (SUI)
Saurav Ghosal (IND) v Qualifier
Tarek Momen (EGY) v Mohammed Abbas (EGY)
 Laurens Jan Anjema (NED) v Omar Abdel Aziz (EGY)
 Mohamed El Shorbagy (EGY) v Qualifier
Thierry Lincou (FRA) v Cameron Pilley (AUS)
Jonathan Kemp (ENG) v Qualifier
 Karim Darwish (EGY) v Qualifier
 Nick Matthew (ENG) v Qualifier
Ali Anwar Reda (EGY) v Qualifier
Hisham Ashour (EGY) v Qualifier
 Amr Shabana (EGY) v Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY)
 Ramy Ashour (EGY) v Qualifier
Adrian Grant (ENG) v Omar Mosaad (EGY)
Simon Rosner (GER) v Gregoire Marche (FRA)
 Gregory Gaultier (FRA) v Marwan El Shorbagy (EGY)