Egypt’s Karim Abdel Gawad claimed his maiden Professional Squash Association (PSA) Men’s World Championship crown after compatriot Ramy Ashour was forced to retire in the fourth game of the final at the Wadi Degla Club in Cairo today.
The world number three recovered from losing the first game 5-11 to win the second 11-6 and the third 11-7, and he was leading 2-1 in the fourth when three-time champion Ashour suffered a recurrence of the hamstring injury that has ravaged the last two years of his career.
Victory for Gawad sees the 25-year-old become only the third Egyptian of all time to hold squash’s most illustrious title after Amr Shabana and Ashour himself.
"I still can’t believe it," said Gawad, who beat fellow countryman Mohamed Elshorbagy in a five-game epic yesterday to reach the final.
"It has been a very long week - I didn’t have a good start, but I think I had good performances this week.
"I’m grateful to my team as I was able to get back on court today after my match yesterday."
He added: "I feel very sorry for Ramy for having the injury again and not being able to complete the match today.
"He’s a great ambassador for our sport and we are all happy to have him around at the tournaments.
"He’s great for many generations and all the generations learn a lot from him, even me.
"I wish him a speedy recovery."
Ashour, who captured the World Championship title in 2008, 2012 and 2014, has been besieged with numerous injuries in recent times, with a calf problem picked up in September’s Al Ahram Open in Giza disrupting his preparations for the PSA's flagship event.
Two years ago, he marked a return from six months on the sidelines by taking the 2014 World Championship crown, but he was unable to repeat the feat on this occasion.
"It was an honour to play this week - I’ve been through a lot, and every time I fall down I learn," said Ashour.
"As long as I’m still breathing, I’ll just keep trying.
"It’s the thing that I feel so much happiness when I do and thank you all for being here today."
Manchester is scheduled to host the PSA World Championships in 2017 when prize money for men and women will be equal for the first time ever.
The event, scheduled to take place from December 9 to 17, will see almost 200 of the world's best squash players descend on the city for the week-long tournament, which will be staged at the National Squash Centre before moving to Manchester Central from the quarter-final stage onwards.
Winners of the men’s and women’s competitions will each take home more than $45,000 (£36,000/€40,000), a record amount.
Manchester will become only the second destination - and the first since Rotterdam in 2011 - to host concurrent Men's and Women's World Championships, welcoming squash players from upwards of 30 countries.