For over 1000 years man has
invented and enjoyed a variety of games played by hitting a ball
with either a closed fist – as in “fives” or “bunch of fingers”
– or with some form of bat or racket.
Around the year 1148, the French played “la Paume”, meaning “the
palm of the hand”, which developed into 'Jeu de Paume', 'Real
Tennis', 'Royal Tennis' or simply Tennis.
At sometime in the early 19th century this obsession with
rackets and balls spawned another variety of the sport in the
unlikely birthplace of the Fleet Prison in London.
in “The Fleet”, mainly debtors, took their exercise by hitting a
ball against walls, of which there were many, with rackets and
so started the game of “Rackets”. Rackets progressed, by some
strange route, to Harrow and other select English schools about
1820 and it was from this source that our own sport of Squash,
or Squash Rackets, developed.
Squash was invented in Harrow school around 1830, when the
pupils discovered that a punctured Rackets ball, which
“squashed” on impact with the wall, produced a game with a
greater variety of shots and required much more effort on the
part of the players, who could not simply wait for the ball to
bounce back to them as with Rackets. The variant proved popular
and in 1864 the first four Squash courts were constructed at the
school and Squash was officially founded as a sport in its own
EARLY DAYS IN ENGLAND
The first recorded reference to “Squash”, other than in Harrow
school, appeared in 1890 in the English book “The Badminton
Library of Sports and Pastimes” written by the Duke of Beaufort.
Eustace Miles, a world championship at both Tennis and Rackets,
wrote the first book on Squash in 1901; stating that the sport
was enjoyed by thousands of players in various parts of the
By that time there were courts in schools and
universities in England and some also in private houses. The
first professional Squash Championship was held in 1920 in
England, when C.R. Read (Queens Club) beat A.W.B. Johnson (RAC
As Squash play developed so did its administrative structure: the
United States Squash Racquets Association in 1907, the
Canadian Squash Racquets Association in 1911, in England the
game was regulated by a Squash sub-committee of the Tennis and
Rackets Association from 1908 until it gained full status as the
Squash Rackets Association in 1928.
And in Egypt, the
Association was formed in 1931.
In 1933 the great Egyptian player F.D. Amr Bey, won the
first of his five British Open Championships, then seen as the
Amr Bey is widely considered as the first truly dominant squash
player in the history of sports and also the best squash
creation of Egypt.
His first win in the British Open men’s title came as he defeated Don
Butcher in 1933 who won the title previous two years. He won the
British Open men’s title for six consecutive times from 1933 to
1938. Amr also has a place in the Guinness Book of World Records
for winning the British Amateur Championship 6 times from 1931
He was honored as the pioneer leader in the “golden age of
sports in Egypt” and nicknamed “Human Streak of Lightning.” King
Farouk awarded him a Pasha Title. He received the World Squash Awards’ Lifetime Achievement Award in
2009. He died in 1972.
He was followed in his achievement by Mahmoud Abdel
Karim owho won the title four times from 1947 to 1950. He started his squash journey as a ball boy
at Gezira Sporting Club in Egypt.
[Maged Abaza, Tawfik Shafik, Ibrahim Amin, Kamal Zaghloul,
After the 50's, we have eminent
players like Ibrahim Amin, Maged Abaza, Tawfik Shafik, Kamal
Zaghloul, followed in the late sixties and seventies by
Abdelfatah Aboutaleb, Ahmed Safwat, Mohamed Asran, Moussa Helal,
Abbas Kaoud, Gamal Awad, Mohamed Awad, Magdi Saad who were
pretty successful, all top 20 players.
In any discussion about squash in Egypt, the name of Ahmed
Barada will surely pop up in conversation. Barada, born in 1977
and retired in August 2001, is considered the motivation and
inspiration for the majority of current Egyptian squash
champions, who together have made Egypt one of the most advanced
countries in squash.
Egyptian and international squash champion and ranked fourth
internationally, Omar Mosaad declared in 2016 to the Online
Newspaper Daily News Egypt:
“When I started playing squash, the
Al-Ahram International Squash Championship was on and famous
Egyptian squash players were competing, including Ahmed Barada
and Amr Shabana. I think it did not only inspire me, but also
the majority of Egyptian squash players from my generation,
including Ramy Ashour, who is ranked fifth internationally,
Mohamed El-Shorbagy who is ranked first as well as Raneem
El-Welily and Omneya Abdel Kawy.”
Barada’s prestigious victories include four consecutive wins at
the British Junior Open Squash championship. He won in 1991 in
the under-14s division; in 1992 and 1993 in the under-16s
division; and in 1994 in the under-19s division.Still in 1994,
he won the World Junior Open title, and also the World Junior
Team with Egypt.
In 1996, Barada was runner-up of the Al-Ahram
International Squash Championship, which used to be held in
Cairo. He lost the final to Pakistan’s Jansher Khan 15-4, 15-11, 15-8. Khan was ranked
first internationally in 1988 and seven years older than
Barada won gold at the 1997 World Games, men’s singles squash,
held in Lahti, Finland. 1998 was a fruitful year for Barada as
he won the Al-Ahram International Squash Championship and, that
December, he was ranked second internationally.
He also was runner un in the 1999 Men’s World Open, losing out
in the final in front of the Pyramids against then Scottish
player Peter Nicol, who would become Barada’s long-time
professional rival, a match still fresh in the memory of all
that saw it, 15-9, 15-13, 15-11.
Same town, same year, Barada was of course one of the team
players that took gold during the 1999 Men’s World Team Champs,
against the Welsh team.
The following year, at the 2000 Al-Ahram International Squash
Championship; Barada once again lost the championship’s final to
Nicol, who has proved to be a strong competitor, with scores of
15-14, 9-15, 15-3, 15-12, and a final score of 3-1.
That same year, Barada was stabbed twice near the spine by an
unknown assailant. Though he did recover from the injury, he
only resumed playing squash for a short period and the Egyptian
squash star retired in 2001. He then launched his singing career
and went on to star in the Egyptian film Hob El-Banat, alongside
some of Egypt’s most famous actors.
The Amr Shabana Era
"I make it look hard, Shabana makes it look easy... " Nick
Mar 2016 Mohamed Elshorbagy 3-0 Nick Matthew (ENG)
11-6, 11-3, 1-0 ret. (22m) Jan 2007 Amr Shabana 3-0 Anthony Ricketts (AUS)
11-8, 11-8, 15-13 (53m)
Mar 2017  Raneem El Welily (EGY) 3-1  Nour El Sherbini
10-12, 11-7, 11-7, 11-7 (42m) Mar 2016 Raneem El Welily 3-1 Nour El Sherbini
9-11, 11-6, 11-3, 11-6 (35m) Mar 2015 Raneem El Welily 3-1 Nicol David (Mas)
14-16, 12-10, 11-7, 11-7 (57m)