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The 'French General' celebrates becoming the World Champion

PSA Men’s World Championship: A History


The biggest tournament in squash – the PSA Men’s World Championship – will return to Cairo for the first time in a decade later this week when the prestigious Wadi Degla Club in Egypt hosts the world’s greatest players as they do battle for the sport’s most coveted title between October 27 – November 4.

The iconic British Open served as the pinnacle tournament throughout the sport’s early days, before the inaugural World Championship began in 1976 in London, England from January 31 to February 7 of that year – with the whole tournament being played at the old Wembley Stadium, the home of the English football team.

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 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 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.

Jahangir is the youngest ever winner of the World Championship, beating Hunt to win his first title at just 17 years old in 1981, and that tournament was also the start of an incredible 555-match unbeaten run – the longest recorded winning streak in any sport – which lasted for five years until his defeat to New Zealand’s Ross Norman in the final of the 1986 instalment.

The two Khan’s are the most decorated players to have graced the World Championship, with Jansher having eight to his name, while 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 name engraved on the famous trophy.

Indeed, it was Palmer who won the tournament last time it was staged in Cairo, recovering from two games and four match balls down against Frenchman Gregory Gaultier to lift the title in front of one of the most iconic sporting locations in the world – the Great Pyramid of Giza.

That defeat would leave a lasting impression on Gaultier, who went on to lose a further three World Championship finals before finally ending years of heartbreak to claim an emotional win over Egypt’s Omar Mosaad during last year’s event as the World Championship made its United States debut.

This year’s tournament sees Gaultier seeded to meet World No.1 Mohamed ElShorbagy in the final – where the winner will pocket a share of the lucrative $325,000 prize fund.

ElShorbagy lost out to former World No.1 James Willstrop in a shock defeat a year ago and, after suffering defeats at the final hurdle to compatriot Ashour in 2012 and 2014, will be hoping to finally capture the elusive title this time around.

2015 World Champion Gregory Gaultier

Previous Winners – Men
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)

By Sam Allsop

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