Flying with DAF at UAE’s new high-performance squash academy - GulfToday

Flying with DAF at UAE’s new high-performance squash academy


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Gulf Today, Staff Reporter

The Flying DAF, a brand new high-performance squash academy, has officially launched in Dubai with the mission of growing the grassroots game and providing expert tuition for players.

Founded by Egyptian national Kanzy El Dafrawy, a US national champion and former Women’s world #22, The Flying DAF is built on three main pillars - professionalism, community and world-class coaching - and will provide elite training plans by former professional squash players for individuals of all levels, ages and backgrounds.

Based out of the five-star Jumeirah Mina A’Salam, The Flying DAF Squash Academy boasts five courts adjoining a stretch of beachfront luxury hotels, including J Club, Jumeirah

Beach Hotel, where five full-time coaches will lead a variety of squash-based fitness and technical classes in group or private formats, with individuals as young as five years-of-age able to participate.

“The Flying DAF Squash Academy’s approach to training is fully-customisable to our players, whatever their level. Squash is a sport for all and our holistic approach to high-energy sessions is designed to support player development regardless of ability; we are catering for talents eyeing Professional titles, seasoned amateurs and straight-forward hobbyists,” said Dafrawy, who serves as head coach.

“Launching the academy is the culmination of my life’s work, which I have dedicated to the game. After winning titles around the world during my professional years, this is my biggest challenge and I cannot wait to share my expertise and experience with Dubai.

“We have a big focus on creating a developmental pathway, most clearly with school groups so we can really begin shaping the next UAE and world champions as early as possible. But we also understand the important role fitness with a hint of competitiveness can play in the well-being of adults. No-one is too new or too advanced to squash to be a part of our community,” she added.

Part of the launch has seen Dafrawy continue her working relationship with Harrow, a career sponsor of the star player, and leading manufacturer of squash gear and high-quality signature rackets.

Their hands-on input to the equipment and kit provided throughout is yet another elevated differential from what has gone before.

Renowned for her athleticism and absolute commitment to every point, Dafrawy’s incredible sprawling leaps around the court earned her the nickname ‘The Flying Daf’ on the pro circuit.

Having now retired from the professional game, Dafrawy has coached in France, Germany, South Africa, Jordan, Netherlands, Canada, Egypt and the United States. After a professional career in which she claimed nine Professional Squash Association titles and rose to number 22 in the world rankings, Dafrawy is eager to give back.

“Part of our offering to younger members will be a mentorship programme based on the one I benefited from in my developmental years,” added the 27-year-old. “We want to provide an avenue into elite education and training abroad, while building a domestic squash community which creates local, regional and international champions over time.”

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