The Egyptian Squash legend and former World No.1 Mohamed El-Shorbagy has decided to switch allegiance to represent England in Professional Squash Association (PSA) and World Squash Federation (WSF) events, as England Squash announced on Monday.
The 31-year-old player has been on top of the Squash world for around seven years between 2014 and 2021 and racked up 44 professional titles to his name.
El-Shorbagy explained in a statement for BBC his reasons for representing England over Egypt.
“It took me four months to take that decision; I finally decided to do the logical thing that would guarantee support for me as a Squash player; the more you grow up, the more you need a supporting team (a doctor, trainer,….) with you in this game, these basics wasn’t available for me before.”
“The English team provided me with all the necessary support; it isn’t about money; it is about covering me as an athlete in a case of injuries; for example, my country didn’t offer me the medical and psychological support.”
“I never had an Egyptian sponsor, regardless of my history as No.1 player, the English team believed in me and offered their support, so in conclusion, I had to think about myself,” El-Shorbagy explained.
“I’m very proud as an Egyptian of the achievements that accomplished to my country such as Al Jonah 2016, the 2011 championship for teams that I played the semi-final France vs. Egypt and I won it for my country.”
“It wasn’t an easy decision for me to take especially since I might have to play against Egypt in the future, but I gave a lot to my country; it’s time for me to think about myself.”
El-Shorbagy left for England in 2006 when he was around 15, spending more than half his life there as a British citizen. Since then, he has been training with English coaches.
“I’m really excited to be representing England now,” El-Shorbagy told PSA World Tour, Resume” “I’ve lived in England more than half my life and have been trained by British coaches since the age of 15”.
“National Coach David Campion and the wider England Squash team have offered me a lot of support over the years. When you have people like that who appreciate you for who you are, without expecting anything back, it means a lot,” he said.
Resume “The opportunity to represent England is extremely exciting, and I will give it my all playing under the English flag.”
England Squash CEO Mark Williams said: “We’re very pleased to welcome Mohamed to England Squash and look forward to helping him continue to perform at the highest level of the game. We’re delighted that he’s so keen to play a role in supporting the exciting crop of young players currently coming through our talent pathway.”
Explained, “We’re committed to extending England’s legacy as one of the most successful nations in squash and feel confident that adding a player of Mohamed’s caliber will help to inspire and encourage current and future generations of English talent.”
Campion resume “Mohamed is a proven winner at the game’s highest level. He’s a formidable competitor and one of the best players of his generation who I believe will add a great deal to the England system.”
ElShorbagy’s first tournament playing under the English flag will be the Necker Mauritius Open, a PSA World Tour event, between 7-11 June. He will make his debut at the British National Squash Championships in Manchester between 14-18 June, where he will be the men’s top seed.
He will make his Team England debut at the European Team Championships in 2023.