There are currently many female athletes that are crushing it in their fields of competition, and without a doubt Raneem El Welily is one of them. This Egyptian shot-maker is not only one of Egypt’s top squash players, but arguably the best squash player in the world, ranking 2nd worldwide. Raneem, who plays in Wadi Degla Sporting Club, was the first Egyptian Female Squash player to rank 1st worldwide making her an iconic figure in women’s squash. This fireball champion graced our studio to chat about the challenges squash players face in Egypt and why there isn’t a huge audience for this game as it should be.
1) Why do you think Egypt is number one in squash?
Egypt has the highest number of junior squash players in the world so the chances of having a World Champion emerging from Egypt are very high. I started playing squash because I saw that Egypt held the highest rankings in this sport and this encouraged me to work hard and become a World Champion.
2) Squash is very popular in Egypt in regard to rankings, but there isn’t a huge audience for it, what do you think is the reason?
Unfortunately squash matches are not usually broadcasted on TV because there aren’t that many sponsors that are willing to invest in this sport. Recently, squash is starting to get recognized by Egyptian audience, and social media played a vital role in that. People are finally starting to understand the game and show interest, the sponsors need to see that there are other sports in Cairo that may be of interest rather than just solely focusing on football.
“I think that playing sports is as important as going to school as long as kids can balance between both.”
3) Why do you think that squash hasn’t yet participated in the Olympic games?
It is more politics than sports. This year Japan chose the competing games and obviously they selected the games they excel at, and squash isn’t one of them. I believe that squash is an important sport and it needs to be recognized by the Olympics.
4) How important is it for mothers to get their young girls involved with sports?
Sports is an essential part of our lives. Playing squash has taught me to be independent and a fighter, it also helped build my character and personality. I think that playing sports is as important as going to school as long as kids can balance between both.
“People are finally starting to understand the game and show interest, the sponsors need to see that there are other sports in Cairo that may be of interest rather than just solely focusing on football.”
5) You are currently World number two ranking female player, what are your targets for the coming season?
Two years ago I was World number one ranking female player then I dropped to second, my goal is to return to number one again but my main concern at the moment is to do my best at every championship and match in 2018.