Nour Ahmed Youssri is 18 and ambitious. The newly-crowned African champion is excited by what’s in store for her.
Youssri had her first taste of top-level action during the European leg last year, when she made the team for the TotalEnergies BWF Sudirman Cup and the TotalEnergies BWF Uber Cup. Having won a match in the Uber Cup (against Tahiti’s Chloe Segrestan), Youssri was raring to go for another shot at the team championships – and she will have her opportunity next month, with the TotalEnergies BWF Thomas and Uber Cup Finals 2022 in Bangkok.
Youssri talks about her journey so far and her ambitions:
What did it mean to you to be crowned African champion?
It was my first senior tile, so it’s unbelievable and I didn’t expect it. I was just trying to focus on every match. My coach (Abdelrahman Kashkal) was supporting me a lot to handle my emotions.
It was my first time against Doha Hany in women’s singles (final), I had played her in women’s doubles and mixed doubles. It was a new experience for me, so I didn’t expect anything, and I was trying to focus on the match and just play and not make any mistakes. Of course it wasn’t easy, because she’s a great player and an Olympian. It went well at the end.
I was so scared on the last point. After that I was so happy and I was sitting down and didn’t believe that I was the African champion.
You played the Sudirman Cup and the Uber Cup last year. What was that experience like?
It was a really great experience. When I went there I was telling everyone that I feel I’m living in a dream right now. Because I’m always watching them (top players) play and I was so happy and I wanted to come back and play the same tournaments again, against these professional players. When the Uber Cup was over I was so sad, I wanted to go again. After the African Championships I was happy because I want to go to the Uber Cup again.
You even won a match at the Uber Cup…
It was amazing and I want to do it again. The Sudirman Cup and the Uber Cup are experiences I can never forget. It’s different from any championship I’ve played. It gave me a lot of spirit to compete and hard to do some hard work to achieve a high level.
You were a swimmer in your younger days. Considering that badminton isn’t a big sport yet in Egypt, what made you pursue it?
I didn’t focus on those questions too much. I just loved badminton and wanted to do something in it. My goal is to make badminton famous in Egypt and in Africa. I think when we get achievements, the sport will become famous. And people will join it and I hope there will be more clubs, and we can play more leagues and tournaments. If that happens we will find more talented players in Egypt.
What are your ambitions, for yourself and for badminton in Egypt?
This year my plan is to play lots of tournaments in Europe and train with Asian players to get more experience. I know it will be a long trip but I want to start step by step to get an Olympic medal one day. So I have to go first for Africa, then European tournaments, then Asia. I will try to qualify for Paris 2024, but my really long-term goal is Los Angeles 2028.
My role model is Carolina Marin because she had the same situation in Spain. Badminton wasn’t very famous in Spain, but she was able to make it famous and she achieved a lot. And she trained with Asian players and started to win.
In Egypt my role models are my coach, Abderrahman Kashkal, and Capt. Hadia Hosny; she has supported me a lot.
Follow Egypt’s progress at the Uber Cup as they take on Thailand, Denmark and Malaysia in Group C. The TotalEnergies BWF Thomas & Uber Cup Finals will be held in Bangkok 8-15 May 2022.