France’s Gregory Gaultier and Egypt’s Nour El Sherbini have been named as the respective men’s and women’s number one seeds for next month’s Professional Squash Association (PSA) World Championships in Manchester.
This year’s edition will take place at the National Squash Centre between December 8 and 13 and Manchester Central between December 14 and 17.
El Sherbini, who in 2015 became the youngest World Championship winner ever at the age of 20, will be hoping to complete a hat-trick of triumphs.
She sits atop the women's draw ahead of compatriot Raneem El Welily, whom she defeated in last year's final.
Completing the top eight seedings in the women’s draw are France’s Camille Serme, 2013 champion Laura Massaro of England, Egypt’s Nouran Gohar, eight-time winner Nicol David of Malaysia, England’s Sarah-Jane Perry and Egypt’s Nour El Tayeb.
The United States’ Amanda Sobhy misses the event after failing to recover from a torn Achilles tendon earlier this year.
England’s Jenny Duncalf, the 2011 finalist, is the tournament wildcard, while her Australian partner Rachael Grinham, the 2007 champion, will become the oldest woman ever to compete in the event at the age of 40.
In the men’s draw, world number one and 2015 winner Gaultier occupies the top seeding ahead of defending champion Karim Abdel Gawad of Egypt.
Gawad claimed the title on home soil in Cairo last year, beating compatriot and three-time winner Ramy Ashour in the final.
Two-time runner-up Mohamed Elshorbagy, who lost both the 2012 and 2014 finals to Ashour, takes the number three seeding ahead of fellow Egyptian and recently-crowned US Open champion Ali Farag.
England’s Nick Matthew, who at 37 will be competing in his final World Championships, takes the number five seeding.
He will be hoping for a repeat of the success he had in 2013 when he claimed his third world title inside Manchester Central, defeating Gaultier in the decider.
Gaultier and Matthew are the only non-Egyptian players inside the top eight seedings in the men’s draw as Gawad, Elshorbagy and Farag are joined by Marwan Elshorbagy - the younger brother of Mohamed - as well as Tarek Momen and Fares Dessouky.
The pinnacle event in the squash calendar, the World Championships bring together almost 200 of the world’s top players, representing upwards of 30 nations.
The 2017 event will see the men and women compete for an equal prize purse for the first time in history.
The winners are set to take home a record total in excess of $45,000 (£34,000/€39,000) each.