By Rod Gilmour
MANCHESTER, England (Reuters) – Mohamed Elshorbagy of Egypt predicted a new era for squash after beating his younger brother Marwan on Sunday in the first final between siblings in the men’s world championship.
British-based Mohamed, 26, twice had to fend off brilliant comebacks from 24-year-old Marwan in their ‘home’ final to win 11-5 9-11 11-7 9-11 11-6 and land his first world title after narrowly finishing runner-up twice in the last six years.
“We are giving something unique and different to the sport,” Mohamed said after his 71-minute victory. “Hopefully this is the start of all the great battles between us.”
Mohamed’s success is likely to propel him back to world number one after a season in which he has now won five titles, playing 31 matches with one defeat.
The roller coaster final was watched by the brothers’ parents sitting in the front row.
Their Alexandria-based mother Basma, who could barely watch at times, has been ever-present throughout their careers with roles such as part-time coach on tour, manager and travel agent.
After waving his parents onto the court and presenting them with the trophy, Mohamed added: “This victory is for them.”
Despite a plethora of talent emerging from Cairo, Mohamed decided to travel to Millfield School in the west of England aged 15 to be trained by former squash great Jonah Barrington.
His brother followed two years later and the pair still live in the region.
“England has given us so much,” said Mohamed, who had to beat three former champions – compatriot Ramy Ashour, England’s Nick Matthew and Gregory Gaultier of France – in succession to reach the final.
“To play the final in the country where we live is a dream come true,” he added.
The pair had been training together under Hadrian Stiff in Bristol but Mohamed’s switch to David Palmer, the former Australian great, paid off after a torrid season in which he lost the world number one ranking to Gaultier.
During the week he has taken coaching advice from his U.S.-based coach Palmer on the phone in between games.
Marwan was upbeat despite this first fraternal final defeat. “I’m not going to stop playing squash until I get that title,” he said.
Siblings had met before in the women’s world final when Australia’s Rachael Grinham beat her sister Natalie in 2007.
In the first of Sunday’s all-Egyptian finals, Raneem El Welily denied Nour El Sherbini a hat-trick of women’s world titles by winning 3-11 12-10 11-7 11-5 in 43 minutes.
“This is incredible for Egypt,” said twice runner-up El Welily. “I hope we stay on top of the world for as long as possible.”
(Editing by Ken Ferris)