World's best squash players compete for $500,000 prize pot at Windy City Open, hosted in downtown Chicago at the University Club

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The world's top professional squash players gathered at the University Club in downtown Chicago this week to compete in the Windy City Open, the most lucrative tournament on the world tour.

"It's $500,000 prize money. $250,000 for the men and $250,000 for the women. So it's prize money parity," said John Flanigan, athletic director for the University Club.

Professional squash embraced gender pay parity in the last few years, while also merging its women's and men's federations into the Professional Squash Association.

"Equal prize money is huge," said American player Amanda Sobhy, the eighth ranked female in the world.

"You see other sports like soccer or basketball where the women are fighting to get anywhere close to the men... And now it's like a requirement that all major tournaments have to be equal prize money, which is amazing."

The squash world championships are also held in Chicago every other year, in between the biennial Windy City Open.

Professional squash is currently dominated by Egyptian athletes, on both the male and female sides.

Ali Farag, currently number two in the men's rankings, won a squash world championship the last time it was held in Chicago.

"We have I think the four top male palayers, and four of the top five female players are Egyptians," Farag said. "It's something that we're really proud of for sure."

Six of the eight semi-finalists at the Windy City Open are from Egypt.

On the women's side, Sobhy lost in the third round to number-two ranked Nouran Gohar, also from Egypt.

The Windy City Open championships are Wednesday, March 4. Visit the tournament website for full rankings, match results, and tickets.
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