The recently concluded PSA Women’s World Championships made waves not only for the quality of squash displayed but also for the magical location of the event. The tournament was held with the Great Pyramid of Giza, the only remaining ancient wonder of the world, providing a stunning background to the matches, as 64 female squash players fought it out for the $325,000 prize money.
It was the first time since the Al Ahram Open in 2016 that the Pyramids were used as a backdrop for a squash event, and the first time since 2006 that the World Championships were held at the venue, when Australia’s David Palmer got the better of Gregory Gaultier to win one of the greatest ever men’s singles squash finals.
However, this is not the first time the sport has been played in a magical setting. In the past, a glass court has been built at the Grand Central Terminal in New York, on top of the Shanghai Peninsula that overlooks the famous Bund, at the Theatre Graslin in the French city of Nates, near the waterfront of the Tsim Sha Tsui waterfront at Hong Kong and atop the tallest building in the world, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai.
Tournament Director Amr Mansi was quoted as saying, “To bring the most important title in squash to one of the most recognizable landmarks in the world was both exciting and challenging. I hope that these championships play a significant role in reviving and restoring tourism in Egypt.”
How India fared in the event
The Squash World Championships had two Indians in the fray – unseeded Sunayna Kuruvilla from Kochi and stalwart Joshna Chinappa, who was seeded 12th in the event.
Kuruvilla was unable to move to the second round of the competition as she went down 1-3 (8-11, 11-7, 11-4, 11-5) to Belgium’s Nele Gilis, the 17th seed.
India’s hopes, then, rested on Chinappa, and little did she disappoint as she got off to a great start in the tournament, defeating USA’s Haley Mendez in the first round. She entered the third round after her second-round rival Ho Tze-Lok of Hong Kong retired hurt and conceded the tie. The Indian was leading 11-5, 11-4.
However, in the pre-quarters Chinappa was unable to beat local favourite Nour El Sherbini, the second seed, as she went down 5-11, 3-11, 6-11 to crash out. El Sherbini was the eventual champion, winning the final by beating compatriot Raneem El Welily 11-4, 9-11, 11-5,11-6.