By Sarah Odell
Egyptian squash player Nour Bahgat is doing what women at the top of their game do: Challenge the guys.
Bahgat, who won the 2009 Women’s Collegiate National Championship her freshman year, recently became the first female player to join the Pro Squash Tour.
Two weeks ago, she made her debut at the Bobcat Classic, held at Bates College in Lewiston, ME. Two weeks from now she’ll play at the Boston Open. She came out of the Bobcat Classic ranked at #20 in PST standings with 45 points. (Bahgat lost to Sean Wilkinson of Ireland in the quarter finals, 11-5, 11-4, 11-6.)
Nour, a senior at Trinity College in Hartford, CT, majoring in Environmental Science, shared thoughts in between classes.
FGN: As a college player, did you train with members of Trinity’s men’s team?
NB: I trained with the women’s team during regular team practice and arranged additional training with the men at other times.
FGN: Is there anything different about playing with men?
NB: I’m used to playing with men during practice. The rallies are usually longer and the game is at a higher pace. This is more challenging and helps to improve my game.
FGN: What appealed to you about the Pro Squash Tour? Did you ever think about playing on WISPA (Women’s International Squash Player’s Association)? What made you choose one over the other?
NB: The PST offers a number of tournaments that fit in my schedule. It’s a great opportunity to get some good matches and learn from some great players. I’m looking forward to playing WISPA when the chance comes. It’s hard to fit the WISPA tournaments in my school schedule at the moment.
FGN: What are your goals for playing on the PST?
NB: Learn from this great opportunity of playing against men and have a good challenge. Working on improving my game is always a goal whether I’m playing against men or women.