Ashour Hoping Injuries are Behind Him as he Targets Hometown World Championship Triumph
Three-time World Champion Ramy Ashour will aim to win the sport’s most illustrious title in his hometown of Cairo this evening when he goes head-to-head with compatriot and World No.3 Karim Abdel Gawad in the final of the 2016 Wadi Degla PSA Men’s World Championship.
The maverick Egyptian, who win the coveted crown in 2008, 2012 and 2014 has suffered a litany of injuries over the past two years, with hamstring, knee meniscus and, most recently, calf problems keeping him out of action for varying amounts of time.
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His last World Championship triumph – in Doha, Qatar over long-term rival Mohamed ElShorbagy – came after spending six months on the sidelines, and after being out of action for two months since picking up a calf injury at the Al Ahram Open the last time he was in Cairo, Ashour will be hoping that he can keep the injury demons at bay if history is to repeat itself.
“I want to win with all my heart,” said Ashour.
“I’m trying not to have a lot of high expectations, because I know that I’ve been through a lot and my body’s not 100 per cent recovered yet. I’m feeling better, I’m moving a lot better, but I haven’t played with such intensity for about a month. I’ve played exactly two matches before I played this tournament and it was just enough for my body.
“Squash-wise, I’ll be okay because I’ve played for 23 years so I won’t forget the squash, but the intensity on my body and my muscles will be big. I’m not 100 per cent yet, I’m not stable, but at the same time I’m feeling good and I just want to go as far as my body takes me. We’re all playing with little niggles here and there, if you ask any player on the Tour, they won’t be 100 per cent.
“After I won the last tournament I felt a lot of responsibility, a lot of relief. There was a lot of thinking back to how things were before it happened, the struggles and the fearful nights. You think about the tough moments, the people who stood by you, the people who gave up on you.
“It’s like a volcano of emotions, I remember every time there was so much happening in my mind.”
Ashour opened his tournament with wins over United States No.1 Todd Harrity and South Africa’s Stephen Coppinger, before moving on to dismantle England’s Daryl Selby and fellow Egyptian Fares Dessouky.
An injury to his semi-final opponent, reigning World Champion Gregory Gaultier, meant the enigmatic 29-year-old moved through to the final on home turf without having to play – and he is aiming to win the title for the people who have stuck by him during his darkest moments.
“It doesn’t get any better than being here in Egypt. We have three huge tournaments here this season, we have here, we have Al Ahram and El Gouna. There is a lot of pressure on you, but at the same time you dream about being at the top.
“For me personally, I haven’t been at the top for a while and I just want to make my parents proud. I want to make all the people around me happy because I really get such a kick out of seeing their happiness after I win, it’s huge for me to see that. It will bring me so much joy to see my parents sitting and watching.
“I asked them to come and watch because my mum always gets too emotional and my dad can’t watch the match because he is trying to stop her from being too emotional. I really want them to be here today and I would really love them to see my play out there. Whatever I say or whatever I do, it’s never going to pay them back for what they’ve always been doing for me.
“People have been with me every step of the journey, I want to make them proud, I want to make myself proud. May the better player win.”
Draw – Final: 2016 PSA Men’s World Championship
(Time is local GMT+2)
20:00  Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY) v  Ramy Ashour (EGY)
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