Raneem El Weleily, is one of the world's best known and talented squash players. Born in the coastal province of Alexandria, the 29-year-old Egyptian is currently holds the world’s No.2 spot after her compatriot Noor Al-Sherbini.
*What are your ambitions after winning the World Championship and the US Open?
- My ambitions and my dreams are limitless. I play for fun only. I adore that game like crazy. I play and compete in championships out of love for the game, but it turned to a profession after I began to compete for titles.
*Is it possible for a player to reach a point of mental satisfaction after winning these titles?
Maybe some do, but at this point their time in the stadium will come to an end their skill will clearly decline. I still want to compete and win tournaments. I want to return to the top of the world rankings as I am currently at number 2.
*But your colleague and compatriot Noor al-Sherbini is in first place?
- I know. I love Noor very much. She is my friend but the stadium is something else and she wants to stay at top of the rankings and I want to return.
*Some people feel that there is personal competition between you and Noor Al-Sherbini as you always meet in the finals?
- We did not meet this year in the final of the American Open where I won the title but in previous years we met a lot. I love Noor very much and the games I play with her are enthusiastic. We try to present a wonderful picture of our country and this is important but I am competing with other players like Nicole David, whom I love to play against.
* You said previously that “squash players fund themselves.” What does that mean?
- This is true. The Egyptian Federation is not obliged to support all these players in 17 annual championships. It funds one championship every two years only but the player is responsible for travel and for competing for tournaments. If the player wins it will be easy later, but if they lose, I think they will not complete the journey. 90 percent of Egyptian players fund themselves.
* But players have contracts with clubs and sponsors?
Not all club contracts with players include the cost of participating in tournaments and sponsors have contract with certain players.
*What tournament will you participate in next?
The Hong Kong International Championship which will be held on November 20. I am currently on an intensive training program to prepare for it.
*Why is the game of squash so popular in Egypt?
I think it is because our players have won world championships and men and women hold the top rankings. There is a strong demand to play this game in Egypt.
*But it is said that squash is the fourth most popular sport in Egypt after football, handball and volleyball?
That is not true. Squash has become the second most popular sport in Egypt after football and its matches pull large audiences and there is great media coverage for all the competitions that we participate in.
*Some people want to know about the social life of the beautiful Egyptian star Raneem El Weleily.
I have been married to squash player Tariq Mo'men since 2014 and we have a happy and very quiet married life.