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Shabana & Ashour clash in 2009

Most Successful Players in World Championship History:

Manchester will play host to the PSA World Championships when the biggest tournament in squash gets under way on December 8 at the National Squash Centre.

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 when around 200 of the world’s best squash players descend on the city.

This tournament will also mark the first time ever that the prize purse for the pinnacle event on both the Men’s and Women’s Tours will be equal, with the winners set to take home $45,000 each.

We take a look back at some of the most successful players in World Championship history.

Jansher Khan

Legendary Pakistani player Jansher Khan leads the way in Men’s World Championship titles with eight – just ahead of his namesake an fellow icon Jahanghir Khan, who collected six titles.

Alongside his namesake, Jansher dominated the sport and particularly the World Championships from 1981 to 1996.

Jansher won his first World Championship title in 1987 when he beat Australia’s Chris Dittmar and claimed eight titles from that year up until 1996 when he secured his last World crown against Australia’s Rodney Eyles.

From 1992 until 1996, Jansher recorded a record five successive World Championship crowns as he continued to write his name into the sport’s history books.

Over the course of his record eight triumphs at the World Championship, Jansher was beaten by Jahanghir in 1988, however he was able to extract his revenge five years later in 1993 when he beat him over four games.

Jahangir Khan

Prior to Jansher’s ascendency, it was Jahanghir who dominated the World scene, becoming the youngest ever winner of the title when he beat Australia’s Geoff Hunt to win his first title at just 17-years-old in 1981.

That tournament also sparked the start of an incredible 555-match unbeaten run – the longest winning streak by any athlete in top-level professional sport as recorded by Guinness World Records – which lasted five years until his defeat to New Zealand’s Ross Norman in the 1986 final.

Jahangir continued his to show his dominance over his Australian opponents as he dispatched Dean Williams and Chris Dittmar, as well as Norman, over the course of his six World title triumphs.

Amr Shabana

Egypt’s former World No.1 Amr Shabana captured the World Championship an impressive four times, with his victories coming in 2003, 2005, 2007 and 2009.

Shabana capped off a remarkable year in 2003, when as ninth seed he forced his way through a star-studded field in the World Championship in Pakistan. He dispatched the previous year’s champion David Palmer in five games in the third round before going on to take out Palmer’s Australian teammate Anthony Ricketts in the last eight.

A win over compatriot Karim Darwish in the semi-final followed before Shabana went on to clinch the prestigious title by beating France’s Thierry Lincou in the final – a win that wrote him into the history books as Egypt’s first winner of squash’s biggest title.

The Egyptian’s next win in 2005 saw him become the first player since the heyday of the Khans to win multiple titles as he strolled past Australia’s David Palmer in the final in Hong Kong.

In 2007, Shabana was crowned World Champion for the third time in five years in Bermuda when he downed Frenchman Gregory Gaultier. Shabana’s last World title came in 2009 when he beat compatriot Ramy Ashour.

Geoff Hunt

Australian Geoff Hunt was the first ever winner of the Men’s World Championship title when he triumphed over Pakistan’s Mohibullah Khan in five games back in 1976 in London, England.

Not only was Hunt the event’s inaugural champion but he also went on to win the title three more times in 1977, 1979 and 1980 beating Pakistan’s Qamar Zamen in all three of those finals.

Widely to be considered as one of the greatest squash players in history, Hunt also holds the record as the oldest male winner of the World Championship title at 33 years and six months when he won the last of his four World titles in 1980.

Nick Matthew

England’s former World No.1 Nick Matthew lifted his first World Championship title in 2010 when he dispatched fellow Yorkshireman James Willstrop over four games in the final in Saudi Arabia.

The triumph took Matthew back to the top of the World Rankings – a position he held throughout 2011. The Yorkshireman also backed up his World title triumph with another in Rotterdam the following year as he beat Frenchman Gregory Gaultier and become the first player in 15 years to retain the title.

The 37-year-old from Sheffield also went onto claim victory on home soil at the World Championships when the tournament was last hosted in Manchester in 2013 when he once again triumphed over Gaultier to lift his third World Championship crown.

Nicol David

Malaysia’s Nicol David is the most successful player in Women’s World Championship history with a record eight titles to her name.

David recorded her first triumph in 2005 when she was just 21 years old, beating Australian Rachael Grinham in Hong Kong to spark a spell of dominance in the tournament.

The former World No.1 claimed her next title the following year with victory over another Grinham, this time Rachael’s sister Natalie which was said to be “one of the great finals of the Women’s World Championship”.

This win also saw her become the first Malaysian athlete to win a World Championship title for the second consecutive time and the fourth person in history to retain the sport’s title.

She recorded five World Championship crowns on the bounce from 2008 to 2012.

Her last victory in the tournament came in Cairo, Egypt in 2014 when she came from 1-0 game down to defeat Egyptian Raneem El Welily in a five-game thriller.

Sarah Fitz-Gerald

Sarah Fitz-Gerald lifted the World Championship title five times during her esteemed career.

The Australian’s first title triumph came in 1996 when she beat England’s Cassie Jackman in the final to lift the title in Malaysia.

Fitz-Gerald then backed up this victory with two more in 1997 and 1998, beating fellow countrywoman Michelle Martin in both finals.

The Australian then faced two years without a title mainly due to knee surgery and in 2000 she lost in the semi-final to Carol Owens before going on to claim a further two victories in 2001 and 2002, beating New Zealand’s Leilani Joyce and England’s Natalie Pohrer respectively.

Susan Devoy

New Zealand’s Susan Devoy dominated the women’s circuit in the late 1980s and early 1990s and secured the World crown on four occasions during that period.

Her first World Championship title was in 1985, with a subsequent win following in 1987, both victories were against England’s Lisa Opie.

Devoy secured another successive World double when she beat England’s Martine Le Moignan and Australia’s Michelle Martin in the 1990 and 1992 finals respectively.

For the majority of her career the World Championship was held biennially, something that stopped Devoy from potentially doubling her tally.

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Ramy Ashour

Egyptian talisman, Ramy Ashour, strolled to victory in four games to seal his first World Championship crown in 2008 when he beat compatriot Karim Darwish to the prestigious title.

The following year, Ashour made the final once more, however, was halted by fellow Egyptian Amr Shabana to prevent him winning back-to-back titles.

He was then made to wait three years for his next final appearance when he gathered his second World title as he came out on top in a gruelling five-match encounter with fellow countryman Mohamed ElShorbagy in 2012.

Two years later in the 2014 final, Ashour faced ElShorbagy once again in a dramatic and enthralling final.

ElShorbagy had saved five match points to battle back from 5-10 down in the deciding game, however, the creative play of Ashour prevailed to see him crowned World Champion for an impressive third time in one of the greatest finals ever.

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