A young Edmonton squash athlete is set to represent Alberta and Canada in the British Junior Open this week.
Mohamed Elserafy — known to many as “Momo” — is considered one of the best young squash players in Canada. At 10 years old, he ranks among the top athletes in the under-11 age category.
“There’s people playing from all around the world in that tournament,” Elserafy told Global News during practice at the Edmonton Squash Club on Friday.
“It’s going to be fun.”
The Edmonton Squash Club, along with family friends, raised $3,000 to help cover travel costs to the tournament, which takes place in Birmingham, England.
Once there, he will join more than 750 boys and girls from some 30 countries, all at the top of their game.
“Momo’s going to do awesome,” said John de Vries, a family friend who also plays squash. “You know, it’s a big event, so it’s going to be a challenge to how well he does, but this is a start to a great career.
“I think he’s going to have a promising career as a young fellow, so he’s got to get exposure to the world’s best.”
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Elserafy has competed in tournaments across Alberta and in other parts of Canada, building up the points needed to qualify for the international tournament.
“At first it felt like a dream — I didn’t believe it — but I guess it’s kind of settling in now,” Elserafy said.
His past performance competing in older age categories bodes well for the Junior Open, according to de Vries.
“He’s playing his own age category,” de Vries said. “He’s played up age in the past couple tournaments he’s been in, so I think he’ll do just fine in this one.”
Elserafy acknowledges the tough competition ahead, but remains optimistic.
“I just hope I do well. I don’t want to get out on the first round,” he said with a laugh.