Dubai: 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 USA national champion and former Women’s World No.22, the new academy will provide elite training plans by former professional squash players for individuals of all levels, ages and backgrounds.
“The Flying DAF Squash Academy’s approach to training is fully-customizable 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 El-Dafrawy, who serves as Head Coach.
Based out of Jumeirah Mina A’Salam, The Flying DAF Squash Academy will have 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 able to participate.
“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,” said El-Dafrawy.
“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 of fitness with a hint of competitiveness can play in the well-being of adults. No-one is too new or too advanced for squash to be a part of our community,” she added.
Kanzy El-Dafrawy earned the nickname of "The Flying Daf" for her athletic leaps on the court. (The Flying DAF)
Part of the launch has seen El-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.
Harrow will have hands-on input in the academy and provide equipment and kit.
Renowned for her athleticism, El-Dafrawy’s sprawling leaps around the court had earned her the nickname ‘The Flying Daf’ on the pro circuit.
Having now retired from the professional game, El-Dafrawy, has coached in France, Germany, South Africa, Jordan, Netherlands, Canada, Egypt and United States.
After a professional career in which she claimed nine Professional Squash Association titles and rose to number 22 in the world rankings, El Dafrawy, is eager to give back.
“Part of our offering to younger members will be a mentorship program based on the one I benefitted from in my developmental years,” said 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.”
As well as coaching classes and membership access to court bookings, The Flying DAF will host monthly tournaments for a variety of levels, with prize pools of kit by Harrow.