ESF European Individual U19 Squash Championships - Girls' title contenders

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ESF European Individual U19 Squash Championships - Girls' title contenders

Europe's finest young squash players descend on Bucharest this weekend - with seven different nations represented in the top eight girls' seeds all vying for the title of European junior champion.

England's Amelie Haworth will hope to go one better than last season's championship in Langnau, Switzerland, where she finished runner-up to compatriot Asia Harris. However, she will face tough opposition from top seed Lauren Baltayan and a multi-cultural cast of other title contenders.

The European Individual Championships date back to 1989 when England's Cassie Jackman won the first of her two titles. She went on to become the world No.1, world champion and Commonwealth Games gold medallist.

France's Camille Serme is the only player (boy or girl) to have won the European junior title three times (2006-08). Other former girls' title winners include Jenny Duncalf (2001) who went on to become world No.2 and current world top 20 players Sarah Jane Perry (2009) and Gina Kennedy (2015).

Here, the ESF profiles the top four seeds for the individual girls' title:

1. Lauren Baltayan (France)

At just 16, Cairo-born Baltayan is already mixing it with not only the world's best Under-19 players but the top women too - she is ranked inside the world's top 100 on the PSA Tour. What she lacks in height she makes up for with fierce determination and fitness, chasing down every ball relentlessly. Her comeback to beat Egypt's Barb Sameh 5-11, 8-11, 11-9, 11-5, 11-9 in January's British Junior Open bronze medal play-off was a totally absorbing encounter. It will be a surprise if she doesn't significantly improve on last year's Euro third place finish this weekend in Romania.


2. Amelie Haworth (England)

Last year's European U19 Individuals runner-up Haworth has almost completed her A Level qualifications at Millfield School - which counts Mohamed and Marwan ElShorbagy as former pupils. She already has a place at Stanford University in the USA lined up for later this year. Bucharest will be her last major event in the goggles and the reigning British and English U19 champion would love to finish her junior career with a bang.


3. Sofiia Zrazhevska (Poland)

Zrazhevska, 17, is the ESF ranked No.1 after dominant performances on the European junior circuit this season. She has beaten both previous ESF No.1s - Avery Park and Maya Weishar this season. The Ukraine-born player has totted up victories at the Polish and Nordic Junior Open and finished runner-up at the Germand and Dutch Junior Open. Could she win her biggest title yet in Bucharest?


4. Maya Weishar (Germany)

Weishar is coached in her hometown of Stuttgart by Mamuel Fistonic and once a week travels two hours to Wurzburg to train with former world No.3 Simon Rosner. The 'German Tree Chopper's wisdom and experience is clearly having an effect: Weishar was ESF ranked No.1 a few weeks ago before slipping to No.2 having only played one ESF tournament so far this year. That was the German Junior Open, where she won a tough four-game duel with Zrazhevska to win the title. She will be a solid title contender in Bucharest.


All the information for the 2024 ESF European Individual Squash Championships can be found here

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