It’s Gawad in Cairo yet again…

[3] Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) 3-0 [1] Ali Farag (EGY) 11-6, 11-8, 11-8 (61m)

Like Karim mentioned after the match, we are all amazed at the spirit that Ali showed this week. We know in the wings what is happening to his family, they are really facing some terrible ordeal, and the fact that Ali showed up and managed to reach the final in the manner he did, is nothing short of a miracle in my eyes.

At a few points from the end of the match, one of the VIP’s asked me who was going to win. I didn’t want to reply, and deflected the question with my normal “I could tell you but then I would have to kill you” but he wouldn’t have it. So I said, well, with all what happened, it seems like Ali is not fully focused on squash at the moment…

It doesn’t take anything away from Karim, who played exquisite squash today. The way he puts his opponent under pressure, one shot after another, after another, until the last one just kills you off, is second to none really. And as I was watching those two battle away, I was smiling at the intelligence they both displayed, how clever they both were, and playing truly a chess game out there.

A lot of work was produced, a 13m game followed by a 25m one, and ending with a 20m last one. On a cold court, with no tie-break, that shows how long the rallies were and how they both manoeuvred the other one, again and again.

Very few calls and a few errors uncharacteristic from Ali, pushed by the relentlessness from his opponent really…

Like Ali stated at the end, “Karim was just too good”.

Today, I feel like the winner of the tournament, because Karim has proven over the past 5 years that whenever he plays in Cairo, he is the only one that’s going to win it, so, the best you can do whenever he plays is runner up!

I’m very happy to be standing here for sure, not only be in the final, but as Mansi mentioned, I was coming here years ago to just be in the stands. So now, being on his court and standing in the final thanks to Mansi and CIB Egypt, and everybody involved, it’s a huge honour, a huge huge honour.

Today, Karim was just the better player. I have to be very proud of the whole week and I cannot complain at all.


Playing Ali is always very tough for me, he is the World No.1. He’s always been my competitor since we were seven years old until now. I know how hard it is, we played in the final in front of the Pyramids in 2016 and now we’re playing again in the final here. He is one of the best player ever to come to squash.

He’s dealing with a lot of hard moments and he is just a champion to be on court with and he fights until the end with this amazing spirit, best of luck to him and his family.

I talked a lot with my coaches, Omar Abdel Aziz, Mahmoud Abdel Kader and also with my fitness coach Ali Ismael. We talked a lot and put together different plans, with the World No.1 it’s very difficult, so you have to have different plans and more than a plan to just win. Winning in three today means a lot to me in such an amazing venue for me and for everyone.

I really enjoyed my squash and my performance this week. Playing here is different. Just completely different. I am so happy I’m involved in squash, because no other sport could set itself in such a venue. Thanks to CIB for bringing this amazing tournament, but also for supporting all of us Egyptian players all year long, they are doing a lot for us and by bringing such huge tournaments to Egypt.