More than 100 teenagers from a record 24 nations competed in the World Junior Women's Team Squash Championship, which came to a magnificent climax on an all-glass court at the Boundary Street Sports centre in Hong Kong when favourites Egypt - led by individual world champion Raneem El Weleily - beat outsiders Malaysia to reclaim the title they first won in 1999.
The 11-day 2007 event, sponsored by Hoe Hin White Flower Ointment, represented the 12th staging of the biennial World Squash Federation world championships, which were launched in 1985.
Such is the universality of the championships today that nations from all five continents were represented in the quarter-finals - and countries like South Korea, China and Zimbabwe were making their debuts, while seasoned campaigners like Australia (winners in 1985 and on two further occasions) and five-times champions England were unable to finish amongst the elite!
The championships attracted a number of distinguished guests, including The Honourable Donald Tsang, Chief Executive of the Special Administrative Region of Hong Kong China; Dr York Chow, Secretary for Food & Health; and The Honourable Timothy Fok, President of the Sports Federation & Olympic Committee of Hong China, and an IOC Member.
When Raneem El Weleily beat France's 17-year-old European Junior Champion Camille Serme in the individual final, the 18-year-old from Alexandria became only the second girl ever to win the prestigious junior title twice - equalling the record established in 2001 by Nicol David, the Malaysian who has just celebrated a full year at the top of the senior world rankings.
Fifth seeds Malaysia upset both second seeds England and third seeds New Zealand to reach the team final, where they faced Egypt, who had avenged their defeat in the 2005 final by beating hosts Hong Kong in the other semi-final.
But Egypt - with a squad featuring three of the individual event quarter-finalists - were too strong for Malaysia, winning 2/0 to claim the title for a third time.
Issued on behalf of: WSF
For further information: Howard Harding
Tel: (44) 1737-243333 or (mobile) (44) 7773-325130
WSQ 4012 Email: HowHard@aol.com 16 August 2007
Fourth is no good enough