Just ten months after becoming the youngest world champion in the history of the sport, Egyptian teenager Nour El Sherbini is seeded to retain her title in the Women’s World Junior Squash Championship this week in Germany.
Remarkably, the 14-year-old favourite from Cairo is the second youngest player in the Under-19 championship draw – and her anticipated opponent in the final, India’s second seed Dipika Pallikal, will only be three months short of her 19th birthday.The 2010 Women’s World Junior Championship, with entries from 11 countries, will take place at theACR Sportcenter in Cologne from 25-29 June.Nour El Sherbini, from Alexandria, was only expected to make the last 16 in last year’s world junior championship in India – but despatched the second, sixth and eighth seeds before overcoming the fourth seed in the final to record her historic triumph.
Pallikal is the only player to be celebrating a fourth appearance in the event after making her debut in the 2003 championship in Egypt – and will be looking to make up for the disappointment of failing to win the title last year as favourite.
The 18-year-old from Chennai has already made her mark on the WISPA World Tour. Pallikal picked up her maiden title at the Indian Challenger No5 on home soil in Calcutta in April, and now boasts a world No40 ranking.
But both top seeds will be wary of the two other players expected to make the semi-finals: third seed Amanda Sobhy is a left-hander from the USA who has already claimed her place in squash history by becoming the first 16-year-old to win three WISPA Tour titles – success which has taken the New Yorker to 36 in the world rankings.
Nour El Tayeb is the second highest-seeded Egyptian in the field. The 17-year-old from Cairo, seeded four, reached last year’s final against expectation – and has since secured her first Tour trophy and a career-high world ranking of 36.
The Women’s World Junior Championship, now in its 16th edition after first being staged in 1981, has produced a number of champions who have gone on to become world number ones and World Open champions – including Australia’s Sarah Fitz-Gerald and Rachael Grinham, England’s Cassie Jackman, and Malaysia’s two-time winner Nicol David.
1st round draw: Nour El Sherbini (EGY) v Amalie Bornaes (DEN)
[9/16] Julia Lecoq (FRA) v Aparajitha Balamurukan (IND)
[9/16] Tamika Saxby (AUS) v Franziska Hennes (GER)
 Nouran El Torky (EGY) v Elvira Bedjai (FRA)  Anaka Alankamony (IND) v Ashley Tidman (FRA)
[9/16] Catalina Pelaez (COL) v Maria Elena Ubina (USA)
[9/16] Yathreb Adel (EGY) v Nikki van der Heijden (NED)
 Amanda Sobhy (USA) v Nana Frederiksen (DEN)  Nour El Tayeb (EGY) v Oxane Ah Hu (FRA)
[9/16] Farah Abdel Meguid (EGY) v Anwesha Reddy (IND)
[9/16] Melissa Alves (FRA) v Haley Mendez (USA)
 Olivia Blatchford (USA) v Caroline Sayegh (GER)  Kanzy Emad El-Defrawy (EGY) v Tessa ter Sluis (NED)
[9/16] Cyrielle Peltier (FRA) v Sharya Guruge (SRI)
[9/16] Salma Hany (EGY) v Sandra Polak (AUT)
 Dipika Pallikal (IND) v Katie Tutrone (USA)