Pak­istan squash leg­end ex­pects Bri­tish Open break­through

The Pak Banker - - MARKETS/SPORTS -

A new era could emerge at this year's Bri­tish Open, pre­dicts leg­endary Pak­istan squash player Ja­hangir Khan, who won the world's old­est tour­na­ment a record ten times.

Ja­hangir be­lieves the new wave of play­ers could break through at the tour­na­ment in the Airco Arena start­ing Mon­day.

"There were a lot of up­sets in the World Open last year (in Novem­ber) and we weren't ex­pect­ing them," said 52-yearold Ja­hangir.

"I think a new era is quite near. There could be a lot of up­sets at the Bri­tish Open too."

Ja­hangir iden­ti­fied three Egyp­tians as pos­si­ble chal­lengers - Ali Farag, a 23-yearold Har­vard grad­u­ate, Karim Gawad, 24, and Omar Mosaad, a steadily im­prov­ing 28-yearold.

Farag beat three top ten play­ers on the way to the Detroit ti­tle in Jan­uary, Gawad rose to a ca­reer-high world num­ber seven af­ter cap­tur­ing the Swedish Open the fol­low­ing month, and Mosaad is at world num­ber four af­ter reach­ing the World Open fi­nal.

"They are good tal­ents com­ing up," Ja­hangir said.

"They all know what the guys at the top of the rank­ings have to strug­gle with. And they are younger than the oth­ers and hun­grier."

A spec­tac­u­lar ex­cep­tion to this is Gre­gory Gaultier, the French­man who has be­come world cham­pion for the first time at the age of 32, be­lat­edly achiev­ing what many thought was past him.

Gaultier ex­pects to re­turn to com­pe­ti­tion next week af­ter nine weeks out with a rup­tured an­kle, as he bids for a third Bri­tish Open ti­tle.

Whether Gaultier achieves this may de­pend on how well he un­der­stands his body and mind af­ter such an ab­sence, and per­haps also on how well Mo­hamed El Shorbagy, his con­queror in five games in last year's fi­nal, han­dles the pres­sure of a ti­tle de­fence.

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