World No.4 Raneem El Welily says that the motivation of playing in her home country has helped propel her to the final of the Orascom Development PSA Women’s World Championship in El Gouna – where she will take on fellow Egyptian and reigning champion Nour El Sherbini for the biggest prize in women’s squash.
The 28-year-old shot-making sensation has been in masterful form in her home country this season, winning titles at both the Wadi Degla Open and the iconic Al Ahram Open – with the latter of those wins coming in front of the stunning Great Pyramid of Giza.
And El Welily admits that having her team around her in El Gouna has been a huge boost and has helped her to claim big wins over World No.2 Laura Massaro and World No.3 Camille Serme en route to a second World Championship final appearance.
“I’m home, I have my coaches, my family and my friends are all here, so it’s not easy to give up when you have these people in my corner,” said Alexandria-born El Welily.
“One look outside the court and you wouldn’t give up, you don’t want to give up. Just having them there is good enough because we usually travel alone and we don’t have anyone with us in most of the tournaments. To be in one tournament with the whole team and the family as well is definitely different.
“Laura and Camille are very tough players and playing them is never an easy match. I lost to Laura last month, I hadn’t played Camille in a long time, but she played really well yesterday and the way she has improved was absolutely amazing. I told her after the match that I hate being on her side of the draw.
“I’m just happy to be through with the two tough wins, they were very close and could have gone either way really. To be here today is absolutely fantastic.”
El Welily contested the World Championship final the last time it was held in Egypt and held four match balls against the legendary Malaysian Nicol David in Cairo.
However she squandered the opportunity to claim the iconic title, with David completing a monumental comeback – and the Egyptian No.2 has marked out that moment as one of the most important learning experiences of her career.
“I’ve somehow managed to bury those memories in the ground a long time ago,” she revealed.
“Looking back, it made me a much better player, a much stronger one and I learnt so much that day. If it were to happen again, for any reason, then I don’t mind, I would be welcoming it with open arms.
“I don’t wish that it happens today, but I’ve learnt so much from that and all of my losses actually, so it’s fine.”
Standing between El Welily and the World Championship title is 21-year-old World No.1 Nour El Sherbini, the defending champion, and the older Egyptian says that she has no nerves ahead of what is set to be a titanic encounter.
“It’s definitely a huge match tonight against Nour in the final. At the moment, I’m not nervous, but it’s a long day. My nerves tend to go up and down throughout the whole day.
“It’s definitely a huge event, but I’m not dealing with it that way, I’m just taking it the same as I would the final of any tournament. I’m hoping I can play my best and give it everything I have, I have nothing to lose at this point and I’m just trying to be in the final again.
“It’s been a great tournament so far, it’s a great venue and I have played alright in the previous matches. I don’t think I’ve played my best, but I’ve handled the situations well, so I’m really happy to be here today.
“I’m definitely a very emotional emotion, so I’ll let it sink in if it happens [winning the title].”
It will also be shown on the following broadcasters:
Astro (Malaysia / Brunei)
Bein Sports (Middle East / North Africa)
BT Sport (United Kingdom)
Eleven Sports Network (Singapore / Taiwan)
Fox Sports Australia (Australia)
MNC Indonesia (Indonesia)
Now TV (Hong Kong)
Sky Sport NZ (New Zealand)
Super Sport (Sub-Saharan Africa)
Ten Sports (Indian Subcontinent)
Draw – Final: Orascom Development PSA Women’s World Championship
(Time is local EET)
20:30  Nour El Sherbini (EGY) v  Raneem El Welily (EGY)