Power bows out

MIKE RUTSEY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 10:13 AM ET

Jonathon Power went out like the champion he is.

Crippled by back spasms that struck midway through the opening game of the PACE Canadian Squash Classic final last night against Egypt's Amr Shabana, Power gamely attempted to gut it out.

The back spasms, though, proved to be too tough to handle, allowing Shabana to waltz to an 11-9, 11-8, 11-5 victory in a match that took just 37 minutes to complete.

Power took a three-minute injury break trailing 9-8 in the opening game to try and work out the kinks but the spasms were too deep rooted and from that point on the Montreal native was moving gingerly and wincing in pain, making it an easy night for Shabana.

"We've been playing together all week training and doing exhibitions and feeling good but I just had a game that was tough yesterday (a four-game semi-final against Gregory Gaultier of France) and my body didn't pull up," said Power, who came into the tournament ranked No. 1 in the world. "I certainly don't mind losing but not being able to compete at home here in front of everybody, it's tough to swallow.

"I certainly wanted to put on a show more than anything and make everybody enjoy the experience of the final with the No. 1 and No. 2 (Shabana) in the world, but I couldn't compete."

At no point, though, did he contemplate forfeiting the match.

"I knew once it happened in the first game I was beside myself I was so upset," Power said. "But I felt like I had to continue. It would have been worse if I pulled out and let him watch half a game. At least I let him enjoy the victory. I don't want to be the guy who shakes his hand and not let him enjoy the victory of the tournament. I'd rather play three games and let him hold the trophy properly feeling like he won the tournament. He deserved it."

For Shabana, it was a bittersweet victory.

"If you're playing with someone you normally don't get along with, you don't really care (if he's injured) and a win is a win, I'll take it," Shabana said. "But Jonathon has been my friend the past 12 years and when I grew up he was the person I looked up to and tried to play like.

"Seeing him not being able to perform I felt for him. Of course, I'm happy to have won the tournament but I don't expect to win it that way."

Neither did Power.


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