CIB Nouran Gohar: ‘it’s all about handling the pressure’…

At just 22-years-old, CIB Nouran Gohar has already achieved a lot in the game, including currently holding two major titles right now. The young Egyptian won the British Open in Hull back in May 2019, before then also going on to win the U.S. Open in Philadelphia in October.

She finds herself back in the World No.2 spot, three years after first reaching that mark, when she was just 19 years of age.

“I am very happy to be back at No.2 after almost three years, which tested me on various levels and it made me grow and shape my personality and behaviour into what it is now. I think my No.2 position now is more ‘stable’ now, if we can call it that way, than when I reached it 3 years ago but definitely [there is] still a lot of work to put in to be able to maintain and reach the No.1 spot.

“In terms of numbers and rankings, you feel it’s really close to get to the top spot when being No.2 (it’s just one place), but in terms of effort and focus it’s much harder than that. So I’m just trying to improve each day and put in the hard work and the ranking will take care of itself.”

She is now a three-time major winner, having also lifted the Cathay Pacific Sun Hung Kai Financial Hong Kong Open title back in 2016, the win which catapulted her into the World No.2 spot in the first place. However, Gohar admits that staying consistent has been the hardest part of her game to achieve.

“I think, maybe as I said before, I was being tested for almost three years and I have experienced many things. I have had my ups and downs and I mostly lacked consistency. Being consistent is one of the toughest things you can achieve but with experience and hard training, I think these are two main factors that help you become consistent.”

US Open

That consistency helped the 22-year-old to victory in Philadelphia, as she moved back into the top two in the World Rankings. After cruising through the early rounds, where she got the better of compatriot CIB Salma Hany and Belgian No.1 Nele Gilis, she then downed top ten opposition in Wales’ Tesni Evans and Frenchwoman Camille Serme, both in dominating straight-games performances.

The final of the event saw a much bigger test, as Gohar fell two games down to then-World No.3 CIB Nour El Tayeb. After winning the third game on a tie-break, which included saving match balls, Gohar went on to win in five, saying the win was special.

“It felt really special. I was truly enjoying myself during the event and having my dad by my side made a huge difference and gave me mental support. Especially that this win in the final made me back to No.2. So many emotions came into this one.

“And the cherry on top of it was coming back from 2-0 and match ball down to win. In brief, it felt like all the hard work was paying off and I was extremely happy with it!”

Carol Weymuller

She continued her good form on American soil into the start of 2020, reaching the semi-finals of the Tournament of Champions, before then winning her second title of the season.

Gohar took the win at the Carol Weymuller Open, a PSA Bronze tournament, in what was her first appearance at the event in her career. She defeated Nour El Tayeb in a final for a second time in 2019-20, this time 3-0, to win the crown.

“It was my first time at the Carol Weymuller and I’ve always heard good things about the tournament and the members of the club. I can tell you it became one of my favourite tournaments. The vibes were really good. It felt like home there and this truly helps us to perform well. I was really relaxed and excited with the matches and very pleased with my mental approach and performances during the tournament.”

To make her young career even more impressive, Gohar has spent the last few years playing whilst also studying Construction Engineering at the American University in Cairo. The 22-year-old is coming into her final year of studying, and believes that playing squash as well has helped both parts of her career.

“I’m currently working on my thesis project which is keeping me very busy now. I can see the finish line coming up soon for my undergraduate degree which, fingers crossed, should be by end of December.

“Having this other important thing in my life is taking away the pressure from squash big time and has helped me enjoy the fact that I’m a squash player competing around the world. I feel myself very lucky to be able to do both.”