Hong Kong win bronze after falling to favourites Egypt in squash worlds semi-finals
Hong Kong men’s team bring back first ever World Team Championship medal
Max Lee Ho-yin forced his match against reigning world champion Karim Abdel Gawad of Egypt to five games at the World Team Championships but that was the best Hong Kong could offer as they settled for a joint third-place finish and their first ever world championship medal.
Favourites Egypt, who boast four players in the top five world rankings, won the tie 2-0 with Marwan Elshorbagy also beating Yip Tsz-fung 3-1 (11-3, 8-11, 11-4, 11-7) and will now meet England in the final. The defending champions defeated Australia 3-0 in the other semi-final to set up the clash against Egypt – the top seeds.
Gawad, who reached the semi-finals at the Hong Kong Open last month, had to twice contend with fightbacks from Lee before beating his opponent 11-9, 7-11, 12-10, 7-11, 11-7 after 67 minutes.
The third match between Ali Farag and Leo Au Chun-ming was not played.
Hong Kong head coach Chris Robertson said he could not have asked for more from his charges in pushing the top seeds hard before settling for bronze,
“I was very pleased with my team,” he said. “They played with plenty of attack and no fear. They put in a good performance – particularly Lee. I was really happy that they were able to play like this, particularly after last night (the match against hosts France on Saturday morning, Hong Kong time).
“They looked comfortable against Egypt – they were so dynamic, so aggressive, so confident. I thought we were on a par with them for a lot of the time.”
Recently appointed Egyptian national coach Ashraf Hanafi also paid tribute to the Asian team.
“That was hard – I have full respect for Hong Kong. They proved that it wasn’t luck yesterday (against France). They were very tough,” he said. “The quality was very high. Max never gave up. It was good for squash.”