21st World Men’s Team championship, Chennai 6-12 Dec 2007

With just days remaining for the World Men’s Team Championship, the first major step towards its conduct has been taken with the announcement of the seedings and the draw by the World Squash Federation. Not surprisingly Egypt, which had finished runner up in Pakistan in the last edition in 2005 has been given precedence over the defending Champion England. With the top two players of the world Amr Shabana and Ramy Ashour in their midst, Egypt looks the best. England too is a strong outfit with James Willstrop, the World Number 5 leading the pack. Fans in Chennai will be familiar with this genial player who had won the World junior title right on the same courts where he is now returning for another big battle. With Nick Mathew, another top 10 player, England has strength and depth. As the seedings committee believes these two countries should be the title-contenders in the normal course and December 12 will provide the answer when the final is played. However this is not to discount France led by World number three Gregory Gaultier or Australia with world number four David Palmer (who had won the world doubles with Anthony Ricketts in Chennai) leading the charge. Interesting equations are possible but one thing is certain, the championship promises rich competition.India is seeded tenth (was seeded 12th in Pakistan). Following is the complete list of the seedings: 1. Egypt 2. England 3. France 4. Australia 5. Malaysia 6. Canada 7. Pakistan 8. Netherlands 9. Wales 10. India 11. Ireland 12. South Africa 13. New Zealand 14. USA 15. Hong Kong 16. Germany; seedings 17/24 Austria, Finland, Japan, Kenya, Kuwait, Scotland, Spain, Sweden; seedings 25/29 Bermuda, Chinese Taipei, Russia, Sri Lanka, Venezuela. As per the draw, the teams have been placed in eight pools based on seedings/ lots:

Pool A: Egypt, Germany, Finland, Russia;

Pool B: England, Hong Kong, Spain;

Pool C: France, USA, Japan, Venezuela;

Pool D: Australia, New Zealand, Scotland;

Pool E: Malaysia, South Africa, Kuwait, Sri Lanka;

Pool F: Canada, Ireland, Austria,

Pool G: Pakistan, India, Kenya, Bermuda;

Pool H: Netherlands, Wales, Sweden, Chinese Taipei.

India finds itself in the same pool as Pakistan in Pool G. There is good chance for India to finish in the top two in the Group.  “Our boys are playing well and I am certain that we will give the higher ranked Pakistanis a run for their money” said Major S. Maniam, Consultant Coach to the Squash Rackets Federation of India.  If India finishes in the top two, it is likely to play Netherlands or Wales in the next phase. India had ended up 11th overall last time and is looking forward to a better finish this time around.

As per the championship format the two top teams from each Group qualify for the round of 16 and the bottom teams play for positions 17 to 29.

Check the tournament web site www.wmt2007.com

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About Cyrus Poncha
I was born and lived in Bombay before moving to Chennai in 2001 to coach the Indian national squash team....what a journey its been!!

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