Egypt’s World No.1 Raneem El Welily is relishing the opportunity to defend her World Championship title when the 2018-2019 PSA World Championships presented by the Walter Family takes place between February 23 – March 2 in Chicago’s Union Station.
128 of the world’s greatest male and female squash players will descend on Chicago for the most prestigious title in squash as they battle for a record prize purse of $1 million, which is the highest in the sport’s history.
El Welily claimed her maiden title last season at the third attempt after beating compatriot and two-time World Champion Nour El Sherbini in the final in Manchester in December 2017 and El Welily is looking forward to having the chance to defend the sport’s biggest title.
“The World Champs is the biggest event of the year,” said the Cairo-based 30-year-old.
“Everyone wants to go there and do their very best every year. We all prepare for the whole season for this one big tournament and it’s everyone’s dream to win the title at least once.
“I was lucky enough last time to grab the title, but it’s the World Champs and you can never have enough of it.”
The 2018-2019 PSA World Championships is the first squash tournament to award a $1 million prize as part of a multi-year sponsorship deal with the Chicago-based Walter family, with the prize money split equally between the male and female athletes.
El Welily believes that the women’s draw is stronger than ever, saying: “Everyone has a chance to win and this year is going to be very exciting. All the players are in top form so far this season and are fighting to win every match.
“It’s always a tournament where you do your best to win. Everyone wants to win it and everyone has a chance.”
Despite going into the tournament as the defending champion, El Welily believes it holds no advantages as she opens her campaign against South Africa’s Alexandra Fuller in round one.
“There is no such thing, in my head, as a defending World Champion. There is, obviously, but everyone is there to win and everyone is there to do their best.”
The 2018-2019 PSA World Championship will take place at Chicago’s Union Station, while matches from rounds one and two will also be held at MetroSquash and the University Club of Chicago.
Matches from Union Station will be shown live on SQUASHTV (rest of world) and Eurosport Player (Europe only), while the semi-finals and finals will also be shown live on mainstream broadcast channels around the world, including BT Sport, Fox Sports Australia and Astro.
Tickets are priced from $30 and are available for purchase on Ticketmaster.