In the beginning of November Adham travelled to Cairo to accept an award on behalf of his father A. A. Abou Taleb. The Egyptian Squash Association honored him for his achievements in world competitions. The award was presented at the end of the Egyptian Open at the Wadi Degla Club.
Abdelfattah AbouTaleb, better known as "A.A. AbouTaleb", or simply "AbouTaleb", was a squash player from Egypt and won the British Open three times during the 1960s. AbouTaleb’s story starts from humble beginnings. He started out by sweeping the courts at Cairo's National Sporting Club, where his brother was the tennis professional. In the beginning, he had to make do with discarded broken rackets and burst balls.
AbouTaleb reached the final of the British Open for the first time in 1963, when he lost to Pakistan's Mo Khan in a five-set final 9-4, 5-9, 3-9, 10-8, 9-6. The British Open was in effect, the world championship of the sport at the time. AbouTaleb then went on to win the British Open title for the next three consecutive years. In 1964, he beat Mike Oddy of Scotland in the final 9-3, 9-7, 9-0. AbouTaleb's win that year marked the end of 13 years of Pakistani domination of the British Open men's title. The following year, AbouTaleb beat his fellow Egyptian player Ibrahim Amin in the final 9-0, 0-9, 9-1, 9-6. His third and final British Open title came in 1966, when he defeated Pakistan's Aftab Jawaid in the final 9-6, 5-9, 9-3, 9-1.
If you want to see an old video of AbouTaleb winning the British Open in 1964, go to YouTube and enter A.A. Abou Taleb and you can see a snippet of the match. It looks a lot different than today’s game. In many ways, it was a lot harder to play the game back then. Notice how small the head of the racquet is. That is a very small sweet spot! You could not win through sheer power alone; a lot of finesse was required. Perhaps we should ALL practice a with those wooden racquets to improve our games!
It is wonderful that players of the past are recognized for their contribution towards today. Thank you to Adham’s father for blazing a path for squash players all over the world. It was honor for Adham to accept the award on behalf of his father.
Picture 1: Adham with Joey Barrington, commentator for Squash TV. Adham's father, AbouTaleb, played with Joey's father, Jonah Barrington.
Picture 2: Adham with Nicole David who is an eight-time World Champion