Rising Solihull squash star ready to take on world's best at British Junior Open - The Solihull Observer

Rising Solihull squash star ready to take on world's best at British Junior Open

Solihull Editorial 4th Jan, 2023   0

A RISING squash star from Solihull is taking on the best players in the world at the British Junior Open.

Ismail Khalil is among more than 670 players at the tournament, which started on Wednesday (January 4), in Birmingham and is considered the most prestigious junior squash competition in the world.

The teenager, who trains at West Warwick Club in Solihull and competes for Warwickshire, is one of the top eight seeded player in the under-15 boys section and will be taking on players from countries including Egypt, the United States and Malaysia.

He heads to the tournament in impressive form, having reached the third-place play-off in the recent US Junior Open and finished runner-up in the British Junior Championships in October.

Ismail said: “To be playing in such a prestigious tournament is an honour and to have the chance to represent my country against some of the best players in the world is incredibly exciting.

“My ultimate aim would of course be to take the title. However, the British Junior Open is the strongest tournament in the world, so I have to be realistic and accept that it would be very difficult from the start, would need a lot of hard work, discipline and effort.

“You have to be focused from round one because you can be playing an unseeded foreign player who is actually very good and much better than his seeding.”

The British Junior Open is run by England Squash and the governing body is hopeful the return of the world’s oldest junior tournament after a two-year break due to the Covid pandemic and the emergence of players like Ismail can inspire future generations to take up the sport.

Ismail said: “Squash is not just a physical game, it teaches patience, resilience and discipline.

“I also enjoy the social bit of it and getting to know new people around the world.

“I got into my squash when I was very young because my dad has been playing since he was a kid and watching my older brother Hassan play from a very young aged pushed me even more to go on court and ever since then, I have loved it.

“It is such a fantastic vibe at the clubs and tournaments and the squash community is very supportive and welcoming to anyone who is new and is looking to get into it.”

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