TWENTY-seven teams will contest this year’s Men’s World Team Squash Championships, the most since 2013, after the team list was confirmed last week. The biennial tournament, which sees four-man squads from each country battle it out in best-of-three-match clashes, will be played at the National Squash Centre in Kuala Lumpur from 7-12 December, hosted by the Squash Rackets Association of Malaysia (SRAM).
Egyptians, five-time winners, are favourites to defend their crown for the third successive tournament, with the country boasting seven of the world’s top 10 ranked players, including world No 1 Ali Farag.
The most likely rivals for the crown are five-time winners England, who will be eager to recapture the title they last won in 2013, and France, who are seeking a first ever championship.
Also hunting their maiden title are hosts Malaysia. They will go into the tournament hoping to build on two round-of-16 and a quarter-final exit in their last three tournaments.
World Squash Federation (WSF) President Zena Wooldridge announced on the official website, “After almost two years of Covid disruption we feel a combination of huge relief and excitement that the Men’s World Team Championships is able to proceed, and with so many nations competing. It reflects the resilience and vitality of the sport and is hopefully an important springboard to the resumption of a full international calendar of squash in 2022.
“We thank President of Squash and Racket Association Malaysia (SRAM), Gerard Monteiro, for taking on the hosting of the championship in very challenging circumstances. We look forward to the world’s best players meeting once again for a spectacular week of highly competitive squash for one of the most coveted titles in the sport.”
“We are delighted to welcome some of the world’s finest players to Malaysia,” Monteiro said. “We at SRAM look forward to delivering an exciting, safe and competitive tournament and I wish the best of luck to Malaysia’s Eain Yow Ng and his teammates, and to all teams competing. I am sure that all in attendance will leave with fond memories of incredible squash, and of our famous Malaysian hospitality.”
The only other two nations to have won the tournament, Australia and Pakistan, are also in attendance. Australia, the most successful team in the history of the tournament with eight titles, will be hoping for a major upset after a 10th-place finish in 2019, as will six-time winners Pakistan, who are without a title since 1993.
*A version of this article appears in print in the 18 November, 2021 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly