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World
Open History

by Dan
Kneipp
, Team
Kneipp report index

All content © 2003 Squashtalk

Dec
12, 2003

Jahangir
and Jansher won the World Open a combined 16 times! (photo:
©2003 SquashTalk archives)

The World Open
is a very recent affair. It didn’t begin until 1976 making
it younger than Peter Nicol, John McWhitey, Joe, Mark Chaloner and
a bunch of the older players on the tour . Prior to this the British
Open was regarded as the World Championships, in the same way that
Wimbledon was. There was an event called the World Individual Amateur
Championships that was staged in the 60s. 67’s event had Geoff
Hunt beating Cam Nancarrow, with Hiscoe and Barrington making the
semis. These were the top players of the era, but the event was
the ‘Amateur’ championships and the professional/amateur
issues of sport in the 60s and 70s meant that a player couldn’t
be a pro and continue playing this event. This meant that in 1979
Geoff Hunt won the World Open, and a 15 year-old Jahangir Khan won
the World Amateur Individual Championships. As the 2003 World Open
will be only contested by players that are members of the Professional
Squash Association, I’ll only include details on the World
Open and not the amateur event.

Over the years
the World Open has been held at a diverse range of locations including
Adelaide 3 times, Cairo twice, Birmingham twice, Toronto twice,
Toulouse in France twice, Karachi three times, Barcelona, Antwerp,
Doha, Nicosia in Cyprus, West Germany, Amsterdam, London, Petaling
Jaya in Malaysia and Lahore for the first time in 2003.

Like the World
Team Championships and the British Open the event has been dominated
by a lot of Pakistani victories, a bunch of Aussie wins, and a tiny
scattering of other nationalities. Of the twenty-five titles the
mighty Khan domination of Jansher and Jahangir have won the title
a ridiculous 16 times. Jahangir held the trophy from 1981 through
to 1985 as part of his five years of complete squash domination
when he didn’t concede a single match. Jansher took over the
title in 1987, beating Jahangir in the semis, winning the event
an incredible ten times over the next eleven years.

Australian
players have won the event seven times, with Geoff Hunt earning
four titles, and Palmer, Rodney Martin and Rodney Eyles all having
one-off victories. The 16 Pakistani victories and 7 Australian trophies
only leave room for three other champions. Kiwi Ross Norman won
the event in 1986 to break up what would have been a Khan decade
of domination in the event. Jonathon Power won in 1998, and Peter
Nicol won in 1999, back when he was still playing for a country
that we could beat at Rugby.

When you consider
that only nine players have ever won this event, it makes for exciting
squash that two previous champions will be again vying for the title.
It should be three past champions, but Power has withdrawn with
a broken hand.

Here are some
other facts on the event and players:

1989
– the first time Point-a-rally scoring was introduced, thankfully.

1991
– Rodney Martin won the event and in doing so became the first
player to beat both Jahangir and Jansher in the same tournament.
He also had to beat Dittmar in the semis meaning he had victories
over the world #1,2 & 3.

1992
– the 5th time that Aussie Chris Dittmar made
the final. He never won the event.

1997
– Jansher didn’t attend the event in Malaysia, despite
being the reigning champions. He had a pending court order in Malaysia
because of maintenance payments for a son.

Players who
are either playing at Lahore, or still members of the PSA who have
previously had success at the World Open include:

Peter Nicol
– 1999 winner
Chris Walker – 1993 semis, 94 quarters, 96 semis
Alex
Gough – 1997 semis,
Stefan
Castelyn – 1998 semis,
Martin
Heath – 1999 semis,

The World Open
qualifying tournament is about to begin, with the main
draw
starting on Sunday. Preview coming soon.

Source for
m ost historical figures: The World Squash Federation