This is the 2019 Countdown, hopefully still some items of interest …
#15, Accreditation Day
It’s accreditation day at Edgbaston Priory as players, coaches, officials and fans from all over the world head for Birmingham for the latest edition of the BJO.
Here’s a few shots from the day – more on our Facebook page
#14, Quick Quiz: Who are they
Many former BJO champions went on to become household names – in the squash world at least – while some called it a day after their junior careers. Here’s a random selection of finals photos from 2003 to 2008, how many can you name ?
#13, Three Top Seeds for Malaysia
2018 was a record-breaking year for Malaysia as they claimed FOUR Girls’ titles. Their prospects look good this year too, with 13 players in the top 8 seeds across all the events, and three top seeds.
Whitney Wilson and Nickhileswar Mogansundharam are favourites for the U11 events, and Aira Azman will be attempting to retain her G15 title. Elsewhere Malaysian hopes will be high for Duncan Lee and Muhammad Azhar in the B17 while three-time BJO champion Aifa Azman is among the favourites in the G19 section while Jessica Keng will carry the flag in the G17.
Squash Racquets Association of Malaysia (SRAM) director of coaching Major (Rtd) S. Maniam is confident of another positive outing but highlighted that a kind draw will help.
“Equalling what we did this year will not be easy but we are hoping to score podium finishes and I will be happy with that. The Egyptians will be challenging and it will not be easy if we have to play them early on in the competition.”
#12, The Longest Finals
There may have been longer, but from the BJO finals where the duration was recorded, two stand at the top of the list – both all-Egyptian, both U19, one Boys’ and one Girls’.
2013 B19: Fares Dessouki (Egy) bt Mazen Hesham (Egy) 12/14, 11/5, 11/8, 6/11, 11/6 (82m)
2015 G19: Nouran Gohar (Egy) bt Mariam Metwally (Egy) 9/11, 11/7, 11/9, 5/11, 11/9 (82m)FINALS DAY 2015 FINALS DAY 2013
#11, Top Five Beckons
A quick Boxing Day Quiz … how many BJO titles have the world’s top five men and women won between them ?? We’ll fill in the answer and some details tomorrow …
The answer : 28 …. 18 between the women and 10 for the men. Full details on the History page.
#10, Boys’ U19
 Marwan Tarek (Egy) 3-0  Victor Crouin (Fra) 11-6, 13-11, 11-7 (48m)
In a repeat of the 2017 World Junior Final, Marwan Tarek made it three BJO titles in four finals.
For 2019 Victor is out of age and Marwan is studying in America.
#9, Girls’ U19
G19:  Sivasangari Subramaniam (Mas) 3-0  Satomi Watanabe (Jpn) 12-10, 11-7, 11-9 (33m)
The last junior match for both players, it was a second BJO title for Sivasangari Subramaniam, and a fourth 2018 Girls’ win for Malaysia.
#8, Boys’ U17
B17:  Mostafa Asal (Egy) 3-0  Omar El Torkey (Egy) 11-4, 11-6, 11-5 (38m)
An all-Egyptian final between two familiar foes – they’d contested the B15 final in 2016 when Omar won 11-9 in the fifth, but this year it was Mostafa who triumphed to claim his first BJO title.
For 2019 Mostafa – who is the reigning World Junior Champion – is the B19 top seed and Omar is a 3/4 seed.
#7, Girls’ U17
 Aifa Azman (Mas) 3-0  Marina Stefanoni (Usa) 11-7, 11-5, 11-9 (27m)
A hat-trick of 2018 Girls’ titles for Malaysia as Aifa Azman wins her third BJO title with an impressive win over top seed Marina Stefanoni.
#6, Boys’ U15
 Sam Todd (Eng) 3-1 [3/4] Neel Joshi (Ind) 8-11, 16-14, 11-0, 14-12 (37m)
Having won the U13 title in 2016, Sam Todd became the first Englishman to win two titles since his Pontefract team-mate James Willstrop – and in the process gave England its first double title success since 1995. “I am just so happy. I am now half way to winning all the age groups and I just want to carry on like James did,” said Sam.
Sam comes to the 2019 event as #2 seed in the B17 event, having just won his third US Junior Open title.
#5, Girls’ U15
G15: [5/8] Aira Azman (Mas) 3-2  Sana Ibrahim (Egy) 11-8, 11-5, 10-12, 6-11, 4-2 dsq
A second Girls’ title for Malaysia and a first for Aira as Sana, went on to ‘win’ a dramatic match 12-10 in the fifth, but was subsequently disqualified for being sick on court early in the decider.
For 2019 Aira is the G15 top seed while Sana is second seed in the G17 event.
#4, Boys’ U13
B13:  Jonah Bryant (Eng) 3-0  Islam Kouratam (Egy) 11-2, 11-5, 11-6 (22m)
Having reached the semi-finals the previous year, England’s Jonah Bryant went two better as he beat the top-seeded Egyptian to claim the biggest title of his career so far. “I’ve trained for 12 months for this tournament so I’m really happy,” said Jonah.
For 2019 Jonah is a 3/4 seed in the B15 event,
#3, Girls’ U13
G13: [3/4] Sehveetrraa Kumar (Mas) 3-0 [3/4] Fayrouz Abouelkheir (Egy) 11-7, 11-9, 11-9 (27m)
It was a start of a Malaysian roll as Sehveetrraa Kumar took the title in three close games against Fayrouz Abouelkheir – the pair had beaten the top two seeds (both Egyptian) in the semi-finals.
Fayrouz is second seed in the 2019 G13 event.
#2: Boys’ U11
B11:  Ahmed Rashed (Egy) 3-1 [5/8] Mohamed Zakaria (Egy) 9-11, 11-2, 11-6, 11-3 (28m)
Mohamed Zakaria had beaten the  and [3/4] seeds in the previous rounds, but it was top seed Ahmed Rashed who came from a game down in an all-Egyptian final to become the first-ever B11 BJO champion.
Both are in the B13 event this time, Mohamed is a 3/4 seed, Ahmed a 5/8. Egypt and Malaysia each provide two of the 2019 B11 top seeds.
#1: Girls’ U11
G11:  Amina Orfi (Egy) 3-0  Jana Galal (Egy) 11-8, 11-7, 11-8 (27m)
The first ever BJO under 11 final was an all-Egyptian affair between the top seeds. Top seed Amina Orfi was the victor in three close games, and for 2019 she is top seed in the G13 category.
This year’s G11 top seeds are Whitney Wilson (Mas) and Sohayla Hazem Farouk (Egy).