The Professional Squash Association (PSA) have today announced that the Great Pyramid of Giza - one of the seven wonders of the world - will once again provide the backdrop for a professional squash tournament when the 2016 Al Ahram International takes the sport back to its most iconic location ever for the first time in a decade.
The breathtaking pyramids were the setting for the 2006 World Championship, providing imagery of one of the most iconic sporting locations ever, and after an agreement was reached between the PSA, Egyptian Squash Federation and promoter Amr Mansi [Managing Director of I Events], the sport's top stars will once again compete in front of the trio of structures this September, when the tournament gets underway on September 19-23.
The 16-man draw will see the world's elite compete for a share of a $100,000 prize fund as part of what promises to be an electric 2016/17 PSA World Tour season.
"We are delighted to have reached an agreement with the Egyptian Squash Federation and promoter Amr Mansi that will see squash return to one of the most spectacular settings in world sport in front of the the Great Pyramid of Giza later this year," said PSA COO Lee Beachill.
"The images captured during the 2006 World Championship, the last time the sport was played there, continue to set the standard for all other squash tournaments, and many other sports around the world, to aspire to and showed the world that squash has an unmatched ability to showcase the most stunning locations in the world.
"We're very excited to be returning to Giza and look forward to working with all our partners to ensure that this year's event goes down as one of the best in history and will be supported with a live television broadcast that will ensure the most iconic location in the sport is transmitted into the homes of millions of fans around the world.”
I Events managing director and tournament promoter Amr Mansi said: “Bringing squash back to the Great Pyramids of Giza has been an ambition for me over the past few years and the Al Ahram International Squash Open was the first inspiration to me to start this career of promoting squash events in Egypt . I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Egyptian Squash Federation and the PSA for working together to make the Al Ahram International Squash Open return once again.
“The Al Ahram International tournaments of the 1990s and early 2000s inspired an entire generation of Egyptians to take up squash and, with the country currently dominating at the top of the world rankings, we believe that this year’s tournament could serve to inspire another generation of Egyptian superstars.
"Eng Khaled Abdel Aziz, the Minister of Youth and Sports, has given us his full support. He is happy to bring one of the biggest and most prestigious squash events in the world back to the Pyramids, and is looking forward to creating such pronounced success in line with the reputation of Egypt in the international global championships."
Egyptian Squash Federation President Mr Assem Khalifa added: "We are glad to announce that we will once again be hosting one of the most distinguished squash events in the world here in Egypt.
"This event is the reason the Egyptians excelled in the sport as the Al Ahram tournament in the past has shown them that dreams can come true. We are truly looking forward to bringing this event back and guarantee to make it an unforgettable one."
Courtois Straight Through to the Semis
– Pauline Courtois leads after first day