With Egypt’s tallest building the Cairo Tower as the backdrop, the draw for the Wadi Degla Women’s World Squash Championship 2014 has been made in the Egyptian capital – signalling that Malaysia’s world number one Nicol David is seeded to reclaim the most prestigious title on theWomen’s Squash Association World Tour and extend her remarkable record to eight titles.
Backed by Wadi Degla Holding and boasting a USD $150,000 prize-fund, the 2014 championship will take place at the Wadi Degla club in Cairo, from 15-20 December, following three days’ of qualifying. The 30th edition of the tournament will be staged in Egypt for only the second time since the inaugural event in 1979.
The draw was conducted by promoter Karim Darwish, WSA CEO Tommy Berden and leading Egyptian player Raneem El Welily, the world No3, and witnessed by Maged Helmy, the CEO of Wadi Degla; Assem Khalifa, President of the Egyptian Squash Federation; and Ashraf Sobhy, Egypt’s Vice Minister of Sport. The press conference attracted an excellent turnout of media including all the country’s leading TV stations and newspapers.
Both top seed David and defending champion Laura Massaro, the second seed and world No2 from England, will begin their campaigns against qualifiers.
Egyptians take up seven places in the initial main draw – more than any other country – but the draw did little to favour the hosts.
Third seed El Welily, who is based at Wadi Degla Cairo, faces compatriot Habiba Mohamed Ahmed, the 15-year-old ‘child prodigy’ from Alexandria who has already achieved a world No24 ranking – while fourth seed Nour El Sherbini, the 19-year-old who denied Nicol David a sixth successive appearance in the final in a shock upset in the 2013 event, also faces a fellow Egyptian in the opening round, Cairo-based 17-year-old Nouran Gohar who this month celebrated a best-ever world No22 ranking.
Australian veteran Rachael Grinham will also be bidding to win a further world title after claiming the trophy in Madrid in 2007. More than 20 years after making her world championship debut in Guernsey in 1994, the 37-year-old 11th seed takes on a qualifier in the first round.
Boasting 48 courts, Wadi Degla is the biggest chain of squash clubs in Egypt – and one of the biggest groups of sporting clubs in the world, with a combined membership worldwide in excess of 500,000.
1st round draw:
 Nicol David (MAS) v Qualifier
 Jenny Duncalf (ENG) v Qualifier
 Emma Beddoes (ENG) v Qualifier
 Camille Serme (FRA) v Qualifier
 Low Wee Wern (MAS) v Nicolette Fernandes (GUY)
 Madeline Perry (IRL) v Joshana Chinappa (IND)
 Omneya Abdel Kawy (EGY) v Sarah Kippax (ENG)
 Nour El Sherbini (EGY) v Nouran Gohar (EGY)
 Raneem El Welily (EGY) v Habiba Mohamed Ahmed (EGY)
 Dipika Pallikal (IND) v Qualifier
 Rachael Grinham (AUS) v Qualifier
 Nour El Tayeb (EGY) v Mayar Hany Mohamed (EGY)
 Alison Waters (ENG) v Qualifier
 Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG) v Joey Chan (HKG)
 Annie Au (HKG) v Line Hansen (DEN)
 Laura Massaro (ENG) v Qualifier
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