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El Sherbini would trade every World Championship title for Olympic gold

The great Nicol David once famously revealed that she would happily trade all eight of her World Championship titles for just one Olympic gold.

Current World No.1 Nour El Sherbini is hot on her heels with seven World Championship titles already attached to her name, and now faces the real possibility of fulfilling David’s Olympic dream.

But whether she would swap all seven of her World Championship titles to bring back gold to Egypt is another matter entirely.

After a long pause to reflect, El Sherbini answered this very question: “That’s a tough one, but I think so yes.

“Winning an Olympic medal, it’s everything. What I have done for my whole career just to win one Olympic medal, yes, I agree with her [Nicol].

“It’s a dream actually. I am super excited, super happy and I have already started counting the years so I can see how long I have and if I will still be there or not, but I will definitely try to make sure that I am still playing.

“I wasn’t expecting to stay that long [El Sherbini will be 32 years old when LA28 begins] but now I will definitely try and make sure that I am still playing and still fit.”

El Sherbini celebrates a point against Olivia Fiechter in the final of the 2022 WSF Women’s World Team Championship

El Sherbini, who was World No.1 for 31 months between 2016 and 2018 and 17 months between 2020-2022, is once again currently at the top of the rankings after winning two of the opening three Platinum titles of the season, as well as the Gold-level Grasshopper Cup yesterday.

And at the age of 27, it is hard to imagine an Egyptian team without the renowned ‘Warrior Princess’ at the heart of it.

El Sherbini has been an ever-present figure in Egyptian success over the last decade, having been a member of Egypt’s WSF Women’s World Team Championship-winning squad on four occasions, and the successful World Junior Championship team a further three times.

And although El Sherbini admitted that she would be extremely proud to add an Olympic gold to this list, she accepted that a lot can still change between now and the LA28 Games.

“It would mean the world to me,” the Alexandrian said. “It’s the biggest stage for any athlete and it was always a dream to play in the Olympics.

“We tried a lot of times [to get into the Olympics] and failed but now we have finally made it and it will mean everything for me. It would definitely be the last Olympics that I would ever play, so it would be the best ending for my career I think.”

Nour El Sherbini (left) and Nouran Gohar (right) at the J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions
World No.1 Nour El Sherbini (left) and compatriot and World No.2 Nouran Gohar (right) at the J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions.

“Everyone has been saying that if squash was in the Olympics, Egypt would get more medals.

“But you never think of it like this because the Olympics is every four years and you never know how this year is going to be, how you’re playing, your performance and how other players are changing.

“I think every one of us will do their best, give their everything to get a medal for their country and if we manage to get one we will be very proud.”

In their decision, the IOC noted that squash had enjoyed “spectacular growth over the last few years, especially among young people” – a point which is further highlighted by the fact that each of the top four in the men’s rankings hail from different continents, while three continents are represented in the top five of the women’s rankings.

El Sherbini is hopeful that the decision to grant squash a position in the Olympics could help the sport to grow even further and gain yet more attention from all corners of the world.

On why squash suits the Olympics so well, she added: “I think our sport has everything. I think it is very entertaining, it’s just one court, it can be put in a lot of places and amazing venues all over the world, outdoors and indoors.

“You see a lot of perspective when you are on court, there is a lot happening behind the scenes and the game has changed a lot recently. There is a lot more physicality and it is more enjoyable for people to watch.

“It is very easy to set a tournament with a lot of players in, a lot of people coming. It has everything to be in the Olympics.”

“I think it will definitely get more people interested in watching squash. Getting into the Olympics will get more people learning about the rules of squash, interested in the players and the tournaments and I think squash is growing all over the world and it is time to get it in the Olympics to get it even bigger.”

El Sherbini and her Egypt teammates

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