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Nick Matthew lifting the trophy the last time the event was held in Manchester

History of the PSA World Championships

The biggest tournament in squash will take place in Manchester, England later this month, where almost 200 of the world’s best squash players will compete in the AJ Bell PSA World Championships from December 8 – 17.

Manchester will be only the second destination ever, and the first since Rotterdam in 2011, to host concurrent Men’s and Women’s World Championships and will welcome squash players from upwards of 30 countries when the action begins.

The inaugural Men’s World Championship began in 1976 in London from January 31 to February 7 of that year – with the whole tournament being played at the old Wembley Stadium, home of the English football team.

That same year, the Women’s World Championship also began, when the iconic Heather McKay lifted the first of her two titles, beating Marion Jackman on home soil in Brisbane, Australia.

Fellow Australians Rhonda Thorne and Sarah Cardwell followed in McKay’s footsteps, before the legendary Susan Devoy (pictured below) became the first non-Australian player to get her hands on the coveted trophy in 1985, at which point the tournament was a biennial event.

Since then, the tournament has been staged in all four corners of the globe, with the competition being held in countries such as the United States, Saudi Arabia, Australia, Hong Kong and Germany to name a few.

Australian legend Geoff Hunt took the first Men’s World Championship title after he beat Pakistan’s Mohibullah Khan in the final and he held onto it for a further three years after defeating Qamar Zaman on all three occasions, once in Canada and twice in his native country.

The next 16 years saw the Men’s World Championship dominated by players from Pakistan and, more specifically, Jahangir and Jansher Khan, who between them won all but two World Championship titles between 1981 and 1996.

The two Khan’s are the most decorated players to have graced the Men’s World Championship with Jansher having eight to his name, whilst Jahangir captured the title six times – and the pair are considered to be two of the greatest players ever to play the sport.

A host of the biggest names in squash have also lifted the illustrious title, with Amr Shabana (4), Ramy Ashour (3), Nick Matthew (3) and David Palmer (2) all having their names engraved on the famous men’s trophy.

Indeed, Matthew’s last triumph at the tournament came when it was last held in Manchester in 2013. The Yorkshireman saw off France’s Gregory Gaultier in a thrilling final that went all the way to five games.

Meanwhile, Martine Le Moignan was the first Englishwoman to capture the title, before Devoy took the next two titles in 1990 and 1992, with the tournament switching to an annual format from that point onwards.

Australia dominated the women’s event over the next decade, with Michelle Martin’s triumph in 1993 bringing about a period that saw the title shared between her (three wins), Sarah Fitz-Gerald (5) and Carol Owens (1) in nine of the 10 tournaments held between 1993-2002.

England’s Cassie Campion was the only player to put a dent in the Australian dominance of the 90s, with her 1999 triumph over Martin seeing her become the first female English World Champion in 10 years.

Over the next few years, the legendary Malaysian Nicol David made her mark on the tournament, claiming her maiden World Championship title in Hong Kong in 2005 courtesy of a win over Australian Rachael Grinham, before retaining her title the following year with a win over Grinham’s younger sister, Natalie. The Grinham sisters met in the final in 2007, with Rachael being the victor, but David responded with an incredible five wins on the bounce in an unprecedented spell of dominance.

That run eventually came to an end in the 2013 edition, which saw England’s Laura Massaro claim her first Worlds title in Penang, beating then 18-year-old Nour El Sherbini in the showpiece finale.

But El Sherbini soon got her hands on the sport’s biggest prize when she battled back from two games down to become the youngest ever Women’s World Champion at the age of 20 – eclipsing the record set by Devoy 31 years earlier.

Since then, El Sherbini has made her mark on the tournament, also sealing the 2016 edition when she beat compatriot Raneem El Welily in the final.

In the men’s event last year, it was unexpected winner Karim Abdel Gawad who stormed the field to take his first World Championship title after compatriot Ashour was forced to withdraw from the final due to injury – handing the title to Gawad as he became the third Egyptian male to lift the sport’s most prestigious prize.

Previous Winners – Men
2016 Karim Abdel Gawad (EGY)
2015 Gregory Gaultier (FRA)
2014 Ramy Ashour (EGY)
2013 Nick Matthew (ENG)
2012 Ramy Ashour (ENG)
2011 Nick Matthew (ENG)
2010 Nick Matthew (ENG)
2009 Amr Shabana (EGY)
2008 Ramy Ashour (EGY)
2007 Amr Shabana (EGY)
2006 David Palmer (AUS)
2005 Amr Shabana (EGY)
2004 Thierry Lincou (FRA)
2003 Amr Shabana (EGY)
2002 David Palmer (AUS)
2001 No competition
2000 No competition
1999 Peter Nicol (SCO)
1998 Jonathon Power (CAN)
1997 Rodney Eyles (AUS)
1996 Jansher Khan (PAK)
1995 Jansher Khan (PAK)
1994 Jansher Khan (PAK)
1993 Jansher Khan (PAK)
1992 Jansher Khan (PAK)
1991 Rodney Martin (AUS)
1990 Jansher Khan (PAK)
1989 Jansher Khan (PAK)
1988 Jahangir Khan (PAK)
1987 Jansher Khan (PAK)
1986 Ross Norman (NZL)
1985 Jahangir Khan (PAK)
1984 Jahangir Khan (PAK)
1983 Jahangir Khan (PAK)
1982 Jahangir Khan (PAK)
1981 Jahangir Khan (PAK)
1980 Geoff Hunt (AUS)
1979 Geoff Hunt (AUS)
1978 No competition
1977 Geoff Hunt (AUS)
1976 Geoff Hunt (AUS)

Previous Winners – Women
2016 Nour El Sherbini (EGY)
2015 Nour El Sherbini (EGY)
2014 Nicol David (MAS)
2013 Laura Massaro (ENG)
2012 Nicol David (MAS)
2011 Nicol David (MAS)
2010 Nicol David (MAS)
2009 Nicol David (MAS)
2008 Nicol David (MAS)
2007 Rachael Grinham (AUS)
2006 Nicol David (MAS)
2005 Nicol David (MAS)
2004 Vanessa Atkinson (NED)
2003 Carol Owens (NZL)
2002 Sarah Fitz-Gerald (AUS)
2001 Sarah Fitz-Gerald (AUS)
2000 Carol Owens (AUS)
1999 Cassie Campion (ENG)
1998 Sarah Fitz-Gerald (AUS)
1997 Sarah Fitz-Gerald (AUS)
1996 Sarah Fitz-Gerald (AUS)
1995 Michelle Martin (AUS)
1994 Michelle Martin (AUS)
1993 Michelle Martin (AUS)
1992 Susan Devoy (NZL)
1991 No competition
1990 Susan Devoy (NZL)
1989 Martine Le Moignan (ENG)
1988 No competition
1987 Susan Devoy (NZL)
1986 No competition
1985 Susan Devoy (NZL)
1984 No competition
1983 Vicki Cardwell (AUS)
1982 No competition
1981 Rhonda Thorne (AUS)
1980 No competition
1979 Heather McKay (AUS)
1978 No competition
1977 No competition
1976 Heather McKay (AUS)