Over the past few decades, squash has become one of Egypt’s most followed individual sports, and its fan base is constantly growing.
Egyptian athlete, Nouran Gohar has passed multiple milestones, by becoming a local and international champion. She was recently ranked the number one female squash player worldwide at the age of 25, bringing a massive amount of pride to Egypt, besides growing to be a prominent role model for young athletes.
Following her new world record of eight out of twelve wins in the 2021-2022 season, the rising star secured a place in the 2022 edition of “Middle east 30 under30”. Despite her busy schedule, Nouran managed to reach first place for the first time, at the age of 22 athletic success, and graduate with high honors from the American University in Cairo, faculty of constructing engineering, all at once.
In a recent interview with Egyptian Streets about how she began her journey with Squash and the highs and lows of her chosen career.
When asked about her introduction to the sport and how she knew this was the right pass, she mentioned her family’s Olympic achievements and how her father, who played squash as an amateur introduced her to the sport. Gohar said that playing alongside her dad was the first time she felt comfortable and enjoyed playing a sport after she tried both gymnastics and swimming. She went on about how she started relatively late at the age of 9, as opposed to kids who start at six, but it didn’t matter because she was fond of the sport.
Responding to the interviewer’s question about her opinion on how Egypt only focuses on football, rather than individual sports like squash, the Egyptian athlete said that is a common preference all over the world and it’s not limited to Egypt. She continued to praise Egypt’s progress over the past three to five years to acknowledge more sports including squash and how it’s a great time to be practicing the sport in the meantime because they get exposure and sponsorship, which leads to worldwide recognition.
On the question of whether the sport affects her mental health or not, Gohar strongly affirmed the huge pressure that squash put on her mental health. She then went into detail on how, contrary to what people believe, Squash is not all about playing, traveling and meeting new people, but rather hard work and numerous sacrifices. Squash has emotional, physical, and mental demands and requires most of your time and attention; the athlete said that during her 16 years of perusing her career as a squash champion, she missed out on family events and other life opportunities just to be able to focus on her tournaments, which takes up to 12 days a year, but she appreciates the ability to go after her dream and turn her passion into job career.
Furthermore, Gohar spoke about a time in her career when she felt like a failure. In 2017, she was merely 19, and she reached world number two, after beating much older champions and she was gaining everyone’s attention at the time. Unfortunately, she suffered a lot of injuries that year, which cost her a lot of matches. This had an increasingly negative effect on her as she wasn’t one to accept losing or being average. She said her mental health and self-confidence were significantly affected, but luckily she is not one to give up either.
The world number one champion concluded her interview by sharing her advice as a role model to young athletes, stating that one should really put in the effort and hard wok, in order to find success. She said that family and friends can only support you, but you are the one responsible for your own success.