British Junior Open – the road to success

With the British Junior Open (BJO) due to begin in Birmingham, it is timely to remind ourselves of what a springboard to greatness the event may turn out to be for those young players who win the prestigious titles.

The BJO is widely considered as the second most prestigious junior open squash competition after the World Junior Squash Championships, which are held for U19s only, leaving the BJO as the de facto World Championship for the U11, U13, U15 and U17 grades.

A glance through the event’s list of previous champions reveals a number of familiar names that feature in the highest reaches of today’s world rankings, and a strong pattern of progression by teenage BJO title-winners to international success in the men’s and women’s games.

In the current men’s rankings, seven of the top ten have won BJO titles, six of them winning the U19 crown – and two of those who didn’t win a BJO title lost out in the U19 final!

There are some multiple winners among them – headed by Mohamed Elshorbagy, who claimed five BJO titles. Current world #1 Ali Farag ‘only’ won one title – the U19 in 2011 – while world #2 Mostafa Asal claimed two in a row in Birmingham in 2018 and 2019.

Of the women currently on the world stage, four of the top six have won the BJO U19 title, including the world’s top three players, Nouran Gohar, Nour El Sherbini and Hania El Hammamy.

Sherbini never lost a BJO match, collecting five titles at three different levels, while three more Gohar, El Hammamy and World #6 Nour El Tayeb are all winners at multiple age groups.

Mostafa and Hania have enjoyed joint success several times after their 2019 BJO triumphs, including this year’s El Gouna International and Hong Kong Open.

So, be sure to look out during early January for the winners in Birmingham. The odds are that the world of squash will be hearing a lot more of them in years to come!

Ali Farag U19 2011 ; Mostafa Asal U17 2018, U19 2019 ; Mohamed ElShorbagy U19 2008, 9 & 10, U17 2007, U15 2005 ; Diego Elias U19  Fares Dessouky 2015, U17 2013 ; Marwan ElShorbagy U19 2012, U17 2010 ; Tarek Momen U15 2003 ; Fares Dessouky U19 2013 ; Mazen Hesham & Victor Crouin U19 finalists 2013 & 2018

Nouran Gohar U19 2015 & 2016, U15 2012 ; Nour El Sherbini U19 2010 & 2012, U15 2009, U13 2007 & 2008 ; Hania El Hammamy U19 2017 & 2019, U15 2015, U13 2013 ; Nour El Tayeb U19 2011, U17 2009 & 2010, U15 2008, U13 2005 ; Rowan Elaraby U17 r/u 2016, U15 r/u 2015, U13 r/u 2013 (all to Hania)  Amanda Sobhy U19 r/u 2011, U17 r/up 2010 (both to Nour)