OMNEYA ABDEL KAWY RETIRES

Contributions from:
Raneem El Welily, Ahmed Mohsen, Omar Abdel Aziz, Karim Darwish, Bassem Makram, Linda Elriani, Salma Shabana, Salma Hany, Nicol David, Allam, Ahmed Faragallah, Omar Mosaad, Tarek Momen, Amir Wagih, Ahmed Said, Mona Makhlouf, Mark Hayden, Alison Waters, Nour El Tayeb, Amna Eltarabolsy, Engy Kheirallah, Mohamed Abou El Ghar, Mohamed Abbas, Ali Farag, Howard Harding (SquashInfo), Alex Gough, Nick Matthew, Daryl Selby, Laurent Cossa, Nour El Sherbini, Tamem El Welily, President Assem Khalifa, Hesham Attar, Mohamed Medhat, Rachael Grinham, Jenny Duncalf, Ziad Al-Turki, Saurav Ghosal, Vanessa Atkinson...

Marriot Gardens, 29th November 2018

As Omneya Abdel Kawy told me she wanted to retire, the sentence that she kept repeating again and again was “it was a difficult decision.”

The Legend of Egyptian Squash, the first Egyptian woman to win a world junior title in 2003 in Cairo, t
he first Egyptian woman to break into the World’s top 4, the 1st Egyptian woman to reach the World Open final and the only player to represent her country at the World Teams a record 10 consecutive times (source Tarek Momen) is a busy woman these days.

She is a mother of Selim, born in September 2017, she is coaching three times a day at Wadi Degla for team training, and she is also a private coach.

“Every time I go and train, I am so tired, I just don’t have the energy, and I am so pressed for time. I keep telling my fitness coach Mohamed Ali from Gym ProPlus ‘you have me for an hour, just do what you can to keep me standing up!’ And that’s not enough to play squash the way I want to play squash.”
She pauses.

“you know the game has changed so much. Before, some players were fit, and some players were skilful. But nowadays the depth of the game is such that they are extremely fit, extremely fast and extremely fast! At the moment, I am training at about 30% of the way I used to train. And it’s just not enough.”

She is very keen to become a coach full time.

“I started a long time ago when I was still on the Tour, I was coaching the other girls, I was really enjoying it and their feedback was encouraging, apparently I was helping them.

“Well, I just want to keep helping others and get them to benefit from my experience. And if I had only one kid, I would give him or her all the help I can give. I don’t want to pick and choose who I am going to work with, I would rather they choose me… I want to train them and follow them on the events, and at the end of the day, I just love squash so much, I want to stay involved, I want to give back…”

Like all the great players, Omneya HATES losing. To the question “what is your worst memory in squash” she replied “losing any match”.

And when asked what are her best memories of squash, she paused again, and smiled.

“The first one is winning the World Juniors in 2003 here in Cairo, on my dad’s birthday.

And second, I was one game away from reaching the World Open final in 2014 in Wadi Degla.

I lost against Nicol in the semis, but the support I got from the crowd was incredible, and it was also the last game my dad saw me play….”

 

A big thank you to...

First, my coaches: the one who discovered me, Samir Eid, then the coach I am so grateful to, Ahmed Mansour (3alam Mr Flag), Mohamed Saeid, Karim Elmestakawy, Hesham El Attar, Mohamed Medhat, Mohamed Abbas, Ahmed Mohsen, Ahmed Hosny, Islam Hany, Bassem Makram/Bisso.

My fitness coaches: Tarek Dessouky, Dr Talha Hussein, Ahmed Faragallah, Mohamed Ali.

My physios : Dr Khaled El Sayes , Mohamed Amin, Mohamed Moustafa, Doaa Zahran

My psychologist : Dr Mohamed El Araby Shamoun

My club team mates and my National Team mates, Karim Darwish

And at last but not least, my mum and dad, my brother, his family, my husband and love of my life Ahmed Said, and of course, Dr Samiha, who taught me so much, who I miss every day of my life like all the players/people she enlightened with her grace.

Alex Gough, PSA CEO (on PSA website)

“Omneya is without doubt one of the kindest players to have appeared on the PSA World Tour and a player who’s achievements throughout her career really helped pave the way for a generation of Egyptian girls to follow their dreams and succeed in squash.

“As a presence both on and off court at PSA events she will be missed, however I am sure we will continue to feel her impact in the sport as she continues to expand her coaching commitments in Cairo and help inspire more young players to follow their squash dreams.”

 

Howard Harding (SquashInfo):
Onny's career in a NutShell

Omneya boasted an unprecedented junior career, appearing in eight successive British Junior Open finals - finishing as runner-up in her maiden appearance in the U14 climax in 1997 before going on to enjoy title success in the next seven championships, including four at U19.

Just three months into her teenage years, Abdel Kawy made an impressive start to her international senior career at the 1998 championship in Stuttgart, Germany - winning all her four matches and helping Egypt to a first ever top eight finish.

 
The Cairo youngster was crowned World Junior Champion in August 2003.

As a senior, Omneya competed on the World Tour for 20 years – reaching a career-high world No.4 ranking in 2010 before rounding off her illustrious career with appearances in 194 events, winning 286 of the 474 matches she played.

She reached 32 finals – including the World Open in 2010 – and won eight Tour titles.

Away from the Tour in 2016, Omneya made history by recording a 10th successive appearance in the (biennial) World Team Championships after making her championship debut as a 13-year-old in 1998.

Fittingly, she played her 50th match in the 2016 event, helping Egypt win the title for a 3rd time.

Mohamed Medhat:
On this day I don’t know what to say, I just want to thank you for what you achieve in your career for yourself,the club you played for,and for Egypt.

I used to see you growing when you are 6 y and see that every one likes you (parents, players.... etc) everyone wishes that his or her kid becomes as you person and a player and as a coach and as a mum

Good luck Onny in your coming career.
Your brother

Mohamed Abou El Ghar

Happy retirement Onny!!

I still remember playing my very first British Junior Open, she was playing her last and already a world junior champion.

She is one of the reasons why women squash is booming in Egypt now, she’s always been the one girls looked up to. She made it look easy with the way she played..

I wish her all the best in her next chapter!

Ali Farag:

It's hard to see one of the players you grew up looking up to officially hanging up their racket.
 
In my first ever BJO back in 2004, I watched Omneya winning the u19 event for the 4th time in a row, being a two time World Junior Champion already, and I remember thinking that anyone could only dream of achieving her career already.

She went on to pave the way for women's squash in Egypt, being the first woman to break into the top 10, then into the top 4, then to reach the World Championship final.

She's had a great impact on Squash in Egypt, and I'm sure she'll keep adding a lot more through her coaching career.

Raneem El Welily

"From the day I first stepped on a squash court, you were already "THE OMNEYA ABDEL KAWY". I looked up to you, I learned so much from you, I watched you accomplish so so so many firsts and today I am proud to say that we are practically sisters.

Even though I knew this day was coming, the news about you retiring broke my heart. I guess I just still can't accept the fact, that we could play a tournament, where you are not there.

No words will ever be enough!!

Thank you for all the lessons you taught me, for all the memories and for always being there as my sister and friend.

It will never be the same without you. Egyptian Women's Squash will not have been what it is today if it weren't for you.

Here's to an unbelievable career.

Congratulations OUR LEGEND!!"

Dear Onny

I was trying all the time to put this idea away from me, I thought you gonna retire when I retire from the Federation because you a kind of players that nobody wants to lose during the match...

Your presence was giving me the feeling of security, you are my lovely daughter God bless you with your family.

And we need a Selim to be a fighting spirit player like Mamy but please not like uncle!

Nour El Sherbini:

Onny is my first idol in squash. She achieved a lot and did a lot for the sport most of the girls who play now are because of her and I was one of them.

I travelled with her since I was 13 and I was veryyy lucky to share with her too many memories.

l will never forget all the tips and tricks you taught me along the way. You are an inspiration to us all. I knew this day was coming but it’s hard to believe it. I always call her second Mama not only for me but the other players as well she cared about everyone.

Thank you for being an amazing example for me and our team. You are truly a one in million person that can never be replaced!

What I achieved in my squash career Omenya is one of the main reason behind it.  You will be deeply missed my sister!

Nour El Tayeb:

I remember being extremely happy and excited when a person came up to me in Hurghda in 2007 and thought I was Omneya (he thought I really looked like her). It made me extremely happy someone thought I could look like our egyptian role model specially that Omneya was/is in an icon in Hurghada.

Omneya has always been this figure we all look up to. Growing up somehow I always clashed with Omneya on little things. However, she never stopped being my big sister.

She always always took the time to give me advice on the court whether its about squash or my behavior.

So for me she was and always will be THE Egyptian figure I look up to. I hope you enjoy your retirement.

Engy Kheirallah:

I’ve spent nearly half of my life with her between training and traveling. We stuck together through thick and thin.

Not only is she one of the most talented players out there, but she is also very kind-hearted and has a great sense of humor.

She was quite an inspiration to all of us and a huge reason why the Egyptian Women’s Squash got to where it is right now. Squash is gona miss one of its all time legends.

Good luck in ur next chapter in life..And keep inspiring xx

Lâ??image contient peut-être : 4 personnes, dont Amna El Tarabolsy, personnes souriantes, personnes debout, mariage, costume et intérieurAmna Eltarabolsy:

2ouzy to me its not only a champion will retire to me, its something else... You were the one that was still representing part of me on courts, my second half, my squash lifetime bestfriend.

When I heard about ur retirment in a second, I had like a million flash backs about our laughs, cries, achievments, fails, the time we stood for each other, the time we stood against each, other all the memories and beautiful time we spent together.

Good luck 2ouzy may u always be special in what you do like you were at squash.

God bless you and your beautiful family

Lâ??image contient peut-être : 6 personnes, dont Omneya Kawy et Amna El Tarabolsy, personnes souriantes

Mona Makhlouf (Dr Samiha's daughter)

Onny, it was always Onny, that’s how I grew up knowing her name, from the tournament trips and squash boot camps that I accompanied my mother, as she managed the women’s team.

Onny and I are almost the same age, but seeing her being a professional squash player and developing a very unique style on court at a young age, was something I always found astonishing and inspiring at the same time, not to mention she was the youngest on the team.

Ahmed Said (Onny's Husband)

You will be missed in squash field specially for me and i will always be proud of what you have achieved in your career

Mark Hayden (Harrow CEO):

I can still remember watching Omneya for the first time in January of 2005 in Greenwich, CT

She was still a teenager, but had already accomplished so much.

I think some players may have underestimated her because of her beautiful smile and quiet demeanor, but when she played, she was so dangerous and had incredible shots that could end a point at any time.


I called our Egyptian representative right away and said, "We have to get Omneya on the team"

That was our first elite sponsorship, and the beginning of the Egyptian miracle for Harrow.

I will always be grateful to Omneya for having confidence in Harrow and introducing us to the unique game being played in Egypt.

Tameem El Welily:

Just got the sad news of Onny’s retirement!Felt immediately that I had to write something down regarding that.

I Believe Onny is one of the main pillars why Egyptian women squash players are where they are at the moment.

I still remember the hype she had at the British junior opens and how people gathered to watch her & made us all proud to be representing our country and Egyptians! Also how she always turned up at big occasions specially at the team events.

She was like a bigger sister to most of us during our junior days.
She’s the first ever Egyptian to break into the top 4 & to reach world number two. First Egyptian junior to win the girls u19 world title & we can go on all the first things she has achieved.

I truly believe how a generation can affect another and I hope she gets the recognition as an Ahmed Barada figure to Egyptian squash or even more!

• Karim Darwish:

I grew up with Onny at the same club, and we used to train together for more than 15 years, and are still working together at Wadi Degla...

I consider Onny as my little sister... she was a squash legend and one of the most talented players of all time...

I wish her the best of luck in her future...

• Linda Elriani:

Dear Omneya, huge congratulations on your amazing squash career.

Not only are you a fantastic and talented squash player but you’re also such a kind and sweet person.

I have great memories of hard fought matches with you, where I knew I had to stick the ball on the wall if I had any chance to stop your nicks!!!

Lots of luck and all the best for the next chapter in your life. We wish you tons of happiness, love, great health and successful for the years to come. Hope to see you again sometime in the near future.

Love and hugs,

• Salma Shabana:

I wish nothing but the best to one of the nicest and most talented squash players.

Always loved watching Onny’s magic, anticipation, intelligence, & imagination but not so much when I was the other player on the court!

There will never be another player like her. You will be missed!!

Congratulations on a fantastic career & good luck in the next chapter.

Omar Mosaad

Watching you compete over the years has truly been a privilege.

You have been an inspiration to young women everywhere, and I wish you all the best in this new chapter of your life.

• Allam:

"أوني" دي حدوتة مصرية
نتمني التوفيق ليها في المرحلة القادمة
علم

• Ahmed Faragallah

أمنيه عبد القوي ... اسم يعني الكثير في عالم الاسكواش ... بالنسبه لي هي اهم مرحله في حياتي في مجال التدريب
منذ بدايتنا في التدريب من ٢٠٠٥ وتشجيعي علي الاستمرار والتجديد ودعمي لدخول المنتخب ... الانتظام . الالتزام القوه الإصرار العزيمة . معاني لاسم أمنيه عبد القوي

Mohamed Abbas:
i had the privilege of knowing Omneya as a friend, a colleague on the squash tour and as a coach.

I admire everything she has done for the sport that I think helped a lot of players understand how to be a professional.  An energetic and strong person that is always ready to work hard and willing to help others.

I'm sure she would be really missed. I hope all the best of luck to her in her next career.

• Ahmed Mohsen:

"Onny is and will always be the golden girl of the Egyptian Squash, she was the first to put the Girls squash on the Winners podium with her outstanding junior & senior career.

I had the pleasure to be her friend, training partner, & coach something that I feel so lucky to have lived and witnessed.

Thank you Onny for being such a role model and inspiration for many girls and boys."

• Bassem Makram:

Omneya is my best sister

I opened my eyes to squash in Egypt with legends like Barada in Men and Omneya Abdel Kawy in Women. At only 14 she was already our Egyptian legend.

Now working with her in Wadi Degla Club, I couldn't have asked for a better partner and sister in my career. I'm still learning from her until now about improving myself as a Coach.

Congratulations on your unbelievable career as a player. And I'm sure that you will also be a legend in your coaching career.


 

• Omar Aziz:

A True champion that led a generation and started the flow of our Egyptian female international achievements.

Salma Hany

I remember last time I played Onny, I said I never wish that day  to come.. Because I knew how much the tour will be missing and how much I will be missing her around and the fun atmosphere Onny has always made wherever she goes.

I think it is very rare to find a person who is respected
tremendously from everyone in all age groups.

Onny is someone with a very unique personality and a very
unique style of squash and I always call myself lucky for getting to know her closely and getting to travel with her and witness her greatness on and off court.

She taught me a lot and I am very grateful for all the time we shared together.

I wish her her all the success in her next chapter and all the happiness with her lovely family.

Onny has been and will always be a great model, mentor and Leader.

Your baby sister,

Hesham El Attar:

Omneya Abdel Kawy has always been and will remain a most important player in the history of Egyptian squash and Egyptian women's squash in particular.

 Her achievements as a junior player and later as a professional were groundbreaking. With her immense talent and determination she showed the world and the younger generations what Egyptian young ladies are capable of. She brought great joy to her so many fans and general Egyptian public.

Jenny Duncalf:

I remember the 1st time I played Omneya when she was about 9 years old at the British Junior Open and I was a couple of years older and seeded to beat her. This little thing with short hair flicked me all over the place and I wasn’t quite sure what had hit me.

Not much changed over the next 20+ years! We’ve had some big matches over the years and I generally struggled against her. Her skill level and natural talent, a combination of deception and hard hitting was always difficult to play against. Not only was she extremely skilful but she read the game easily and was also a real fighter when she wanted to be.

She was the player the likes of Raneem and the younger Egyptians looked up to and for good reason. She achieved a lot as a junior and senior and really paved the way for the success of Egyptian women’s squash today.

A big player in my career and many memories! Congratulations Omneya and have a wonderful post squash life!

Rachel Grinham:

I still remember how incredible it was when Omneya was first bursting into the top ranks of the world at such a young age... it became a running joke, for years - every year - we were like, “What, you're still a junior, are you kidding me?!!”

Of course these days it has become the norm from Egyptian juniors, but before Omneya it was inconceivable to be so good at such a young age..

Having based myself in Egypt for a major part of my career I've not only had many great battles with Omneya (most memorably probably trading Hurghada International titles for a good period of years in a row!) but having travelled and stayed together over the years we have had some great times - even times when she was the one to look after me despite my being the much older and supposedly more mature!

She has one of the biggest hearts and with an addictive fun-loving nature is one of my favourite people in the world, certainly one of the few people I will look back over my career and say were my best and closest friends on tour.

A ridiculously skilled squash player, she has achieved so much in her career and truly paved the way for the Egyptian players that are now taking over the world. Not only a great inspiration and role model for upcoming squash players, but also just a great human being.

While I'll certainly miss seeing her cheeky grin on tour I'm very happy for her to be moving on with the next chapter of her life with her family and wish her all the best. Xx

Vanessa Atkinson

What a player!!

I had the honour of competing against Omneya for a big chunk of my career and I can’t say I ever enjoyed the experience all that much!

Few players at that time had the ability to make you feel so uncomfortable on the court but Omneya’s flair, deception and understanding of the game was unparalleled and made her an extremely difficult opponent.

I wish you well Omneya in the next phase of your life and huge congratulations on your magnificent squash career. Lots of love and best wishes ..

• Tarek Momen:

Not sure from where to start really !!!

I first knew Omneya as the wonder kid in juniors who chops everyone in her age group and may be 2 or 3 age groups above her. I was a couple of years younger so I remember how most of us idolized her as kids.

But it wasn’t until she moved to my home club (Gezira) that I got to know the real Onny, not just the great squash player but the best friend & teammate anyone could ask for.

I had the privilege of training with Omneya at the same club for more than 10 years. We represented Gezira Club at the Leagues, we travelled all over the World for PSA events and I got to witness all of her great achievements.

The first Egyptian woman to break into the World’s top 4, the 1st Egyptian woman to reach the World Open final and the only player to represent her country at the World Teams a record 10 consecutive times !!!!

She’s been a great support to me when I was making my way on the PSA World Tour, so naturally I tried to do the same for her anyway I could. For a significant amount of time I even supported her against my own wife hahaha.....I guess the fact we weren’t dating at the time helped a little

Onny you’ve had an incredible career, achieved so much and broke so many records but in doing so you stayed humble, true to yourself and to everyone around you. A true Champion and a great friend. It was such a privilege to share a big part of my career with you & I can only wish for you the best in your future endeavors.

• Amr Shabana:
I saw Omneya for the first time at our home club in Maadi when she was not older than six or seven, and still to this day I haven't seen someone hit the ball as sweet as she did at such a young age.

She was hitting amazing shots, far exceeding someone of her age. She hit it hard, cross court and deep - and continued that throughout her career.

So mature was her game and her flair, she grew up to be a dominant force in squash. She learnt from the older generations, held the torch and inspired generations of girls after!

She was an amazing player - players like her don't come around that often! Mabrouk Omneya on a wonderful career.

Amr Shabana

• Amir Wagih:

Legendary Omneya!

Thank you for being such an inspiration to the current and future professional players. Your achievements have contributed to the development of Women Squash in Egypt and around the world.

 I have great memories from your leadership in the 2012 World Women Teams Championship in France when you pushed the team against England and you won the final battle.

I am sure this is not the end of your contributions as I was happy to hear you will keep yourself involved with Egypt squash. I hope your story continues inspiring players around the world.

Best wishes,

• Nicol David:

Knowing Omneya since she was 11 years old, playing for the Egyptian junior team for the World Juniors (under 19), and beating girls already at that age was a testament to the sheer talent she had, and she truly made that impact for women’s squash in Egypt since then.

She has always been very gracious and kind to everyone on tour and has been the ultimate mentor to the generations of young squash girls and current female squash players in Egypt till this day.
 
Competing with her was always a challenge every time we played, and sometimes I have to stop myself from watching her play these amazing shots during our match coz her skills were second to none. Unreal really!

She really took it on herself in helping the Egyptian team winning titles and giving them the belief to do great things because she broke those barriers for them to strive the same way she did.

All the best to you and have a lovely time being a mum and wife with everything you do in life.

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