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On board
Published in Ahram Online on 08 - 12 - 2020

Egypt's former world No 1 squash player Karim Darwish is one of two vice presidents who have been elected in the World Squash Federation (WSF).
The world champion in 2009, Darwish is also squash director at the Wadi Degla Club. Long a promoter of the sport in Egypt, Darwish has been active in the field as a coach, manager and director, working on producing a new generation of talented players who have ruled the squash world for several years. He has also succeeded in helping his club become a squash hub in Egypt, the Middle East and Africa. The past years have seen the club hosting many spectacular major international squash events.
Following his election to a four-year term, the 39-year-old took to social media to thank all those who supported him in his quest to earn a seat in the WSF.
“Thank God, I've been elected as vice president of the World Squash Federation for the coming four years.
“I just want to thank everyone for the tremendous support I received the last few weeks. Thanks to the Minister of Sports Ashraf Sobhi, and the ministries of sports and foreign affairs for their support.
“Thanks to the Egyptian squash community for giving me this opportunity, especially President of the Egyptian Federation Mr Assem Khalifa and Mr Hani Hammouda and also my second home, Wadi Degla Club, for their continuous support.
“Finally, my family and friends around the world, thank you so much and I hope I can add something positive to our beloved sport, on the international level,” Darwish said.
Darwish, who retired in 2014, is married to Egypt's former squash team captain Inji Khairallah who has also retired from the game.
Zena Wooldridge was elected the new WSF president following the WSF's 2020 annual general meeting.
Wooldridge, from England, became the 10th WSF president to serve since the federation's inception in 1967 and the second female. She will serve a minimum four-year term after being elected by delegates representing 64 national federations – a record number – who attended the 50th WSF AGM which was the first to be held virtually due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Wooldridge previously served six years as president of the European Squash Federation starting in 2013. She replaces outgoing president Jacques Fontaine, from France, who was elected president in 2016.
During his four years as president, Fontaine was heavily involved in squash's efforts to gain Olympic recognition at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games and also strengthened ties with the sport's professional governing body, the Professional Squash Association.
The WSF thanked Fontaine for his service. “It has been a real honour to serve as WSF president for the past four years and I would like to thank all member nations for their support,” Fontaine told World Squash.
“I would like to wish Zena and the newly elected board the best of luck in the future. I will be following the progress of the sport closely in the coming years.”
The second vice president who was also elected is Pablo Serna, the former president of the Colombia Squash Federation. He was elected to a second term of four years.
Serna is joined by Darwish and Debendranath Sarangi, president of the Squash Rackets Federation of India, who was voted to a two-year term.
They will work alongside five-time world champion Sarah Fitz-Gerald – who was elected as vice president in 2016 – while Huang Ying How steps down after four years.
This comes after American Peter Lasusa stepped down from his role as vice president in August due to ill health after being elected to a four-year term in 2016. WSF thanked Lasusa and Huang for their service to the board. The federation sent its well wishes to Lasusa and his family.
“I am delighted to welcome Karim and Debendranath onto the board and I truly believe they will be superb additions to a strong team,” Wooldridge said.
“I believe squash fits modern lifestyles so well and is well-suited to new technological developments such as InteractiveSQUASH. So we have a strong platform in place to do some really exciting things with squash and accelerate the development of the sport around the world, and I look forward to working with all stakeholders over the next four years.”
Legendary Pakistani squash player and official Jahangir Khan will serve a further term as president emeritus of the WSF – a position the six-time world champion has held for 12 years – while Chile and Libya have been approved as new member federations of the WSF.
*A version of this article appears in print in the 10 December, 2020 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly.

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