Egypt have won their third consecutive WSF Men’s World Team Championship after a thrilling contest with England in the final in Tauranga, New Zealand.
That win for Egypt, a high-quality affair clinched by World No.4 Mostafa Asal and World No.1 Ali Farag, was also their third consecutive victory over England in a final, and the fifth final in a row to feature two of the modern game’s great rivals.
Going into his match with World No.8 Marwan ElShorbagy, questions had been raised about the fitness of 22-year-old Mostafa Asal, with the former World No.1 a surprise omission from yesterday’s semi-final victory over Switzerland.
Today, though, those questions were firmly answered by a brilliantly controlled performance from Asal.
In a competitive and thoroughly entertaining contest, ‘The Raging Bull’ proved too strong for ElShorbagy, who despite putting in an excellent performance could not match the pace, power and accuracy of an inspired Asal, with the Egyptian clinching a trio of 11-9 wins to take the match 3-0 in 49 minutes.
This left Marwan’s brother, Mohamed, needing a win over old rival and World No.1 Ali Farag to keep England in the tie.
In a pulsating battle, the 30th between the two since the 2010 British Junior Open, the Beast’ took the lead with a hard-fought 11-8win.
Farag responded with a dominant 11-2 victory in game two, only for the resurgent ElShorbagy to regain the lead when he took a fiercely contested third game 11-7.
Farag, winner of six of the last seven contests between the two, came back once again in a stop-start fourth game to force ElShorbagy into a fifth game.
In a tense battle, which neither man deserved to lose, it was Farag who was able to maintain his concentration, with the 31-year-old controlling the court masterfully as he got his side over the line with an 11-7 win to close out a classic 70-minute encounter.
After his team were presented with their medals by WSF Vice President and four-time World Champion Dame Susan Devoy and 1986 World Champion Ross Norman, Egypt coach Hesham El Attar said: “It’s absolutely amazing! There was a lot of tension; I know it was slightly expected that we had to deliver, but we wanted it badly.
“That expectation creates extra pressure. We had to distract ourselves with daily routine and not think too far ahead. One hour at a time.”
“As everyone knows, anything can happen and as we saw in the matches it was very tense and rallies were very close.
“Ali felt that responsibility and at one point wasn’t very happy with his game. He had to make some changes and then went back, and his retrieving was amazing.
“It’s a wonderful feeling and it hasn’t quite sunk in yet.”
Earlier in the day, the final placings ties took place to decide the final order, with Nigeria’s victory over South Africa one of the upsets of the day.
Result: 2023 WSF Men’s World Team Championship final
EGYPT 2-0 ENGLAND
Mostafa Asal 3-0 Marwan ElShorbagy: 11-9, 11-9, 11-9 (49m)
Ali Farag 3-2 Mohamed ElShorbagy: 8-11, 11-2, 7-11, 11-8, 11-7 (70m)
Mazen Hesham MW Patrick Rooney
Final standings: 2023 WSF Men’s World Team Championship
3 France / Switzerland
9 Czech Republic
10 Hong Kong, China
13 New Zealand
16 South Africa
21 Republic of Korea
22 Cook Islands
By Dr Muhammad Hussain