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INTERVIEW: Egypt’s squash champion, Raneem El Welily
On behalf of KingFut.com, Marwan Ibrahim exclusively interviewed Raneem El Welily, after winning the inaugural AISO tournament, discussing her latest achievements, and what’s next for the Egyptian star.
Raneem El Welily, currently ranked 2nd in the world has significantly narrowed the gap between herself and current world champion, Nicol David, after winning the tournament.
First of all, congratulations on winning the first AISO title, how does it feel?
Of course it’s one of the happiest moments of my life; I’m really, really happy. This was the first tournament here in Alexandria, my hometown, and I was under a lot of pressure. Therefore, I’m very happy I won the title.
How hard is it to play in your hometown, in front of all of these fans?
I think it was obvious in the first couple of matches. I was struggling a bit to win, there were no easy matches but the support of the people around me made a huge difference.
I’d like to thank the people that stood by me day after day to help me be in control of my feelings and emotions and I’m really thankful I reached this stage.
How hard was it to play against your friend and teammate, Omneya Abdel Kawy?
Omneya as an opponent, is one of the best players on tour. Only a few number of players have Omneya’s talent.
I used to watch Omneya when I was younger and I always looked up to her, and managed to learn a lot from her. I’m very proud of her and what she achieved under difficult circumstances.
Beating Nicol is never an easy thing, especially since she [Omneya] was struggling in her first matches. However, she performed on the highest level possible and beat her [Nicol].
Nicol has all the components to be the number one. The difference between her and I is that she achieved what I just achieved eight years ago. Mark my words, you won’t have a player that’ll achieve what she already has. She’s a legend.
Who is the toughest opponent on the tour?
I have to say Nicol David. She’s world number one, and the player I lost the most against.
What more does Squash need to do in order to feature in the Olympics?
If what we only need is worldwide attention, we would’ve already been playing in the Olympics, but it’s pure politics.
There are some rules in the Olympics that state that the number of players has to stay the same but we are trying to change those rules. Hopefully squash will be part of the Olympics soon.
It’s well worth mentioning that Raneem El Welily will become the new World number one in September, thus ending Nicol David’s reign on top of the world, which lasted for 107 consecutive months.
KingFut.com would like to thank Raneem El Welily for her time and wishes her all the best in her future endeavours.