With a prize-winning career in competitive squash and his successful Shoukry Squash Academy in New York, Andrew Shoukry shares his story and future plans for a new venture in his home country. Welcome back, we say!
Andrew’s life in squash
I started playing squash at the age of 7 at several sports clubs in Egypt, El Shams, Wadi Degla and Heliopolis. I was lucky enough to represent my country at several international tournaments at a very young age.
I remember my very first one was in Sheffield United, England when I was only 10 years old. Later on, through my junior career, I played more than 25 international tournaments in different countries like Scotland, Germany, Netherlands, Poland, Czech Republic, France and England, and I won 16 international titles.
Also, I played more than 80 local tournaments, won 37 titles among all age groups. I have many highlights through my journey that I am really proud of. These include winning 15 titles throughout my career, during which I played around 126 matches.
Unfortunately, I had to quit playing squash at age of 25 due to my hip injury, so I decided to start my career as a coach.
Why is Egypt is constantly leading the world in this competitive sport?
I think this is because a lot of young champions have been inspired by older champions and want to follow their steps in squash. I guess Ahmed Barada was a really good example of this. He was the first player to reach the world’s top 5 ranking, playing by the Pyramids.
This was so inspiring for all of us and for the sport industry itself at that time. Also, we can’t forget the effort of Egyptian parents, they have a huge impact on the sport as they encourage their children to train and improve with the best coaches in the world.
What do you look for when training young players? What attributes can make them future champions?
Character is the most important thing that I look for in such a hard and competitive sport like squash. In order to be a champion, you have to be ready to lose before you win.
Future champions have to be ready to learn, get better and work hard. I always believe that hard work beats talent. You definitely have to be talented, but at some point if the mentality doesn’t match, it will be hard to make a champion.
What are your plans for the upcoming year?
I have many plans to be honest, but as I have already had my squash academy in New York for the last five years, I think my next step is to get back to Cairo.
I think this is the right time to give back something valuable to my country and deliver what I have been learning through my career as a junior, professional and a coach.