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G.O.A.T: The Contenders 1960-1979 - Part Two

Over the coming weeks, we’re giving you the chance to decide the greatest players in squash history as we take a look at the achievements and legacy of some of the most recognisable names ever to take to a squash court.

Last week we looked at some of the outstanding squash players to have graced the courts before 1960 in part one of our public vote.

We’ve now moved on to cover the era spanning between 1960-1979 and will highlight the achievements of several different players to have competed during that era before we ask you to determine the top players in a public vote at the end of the week.

You can read information about some of the other contenders in this era here.

Qamar Zaman
Nationality: Pakistan
British Open Titles: 1
British Open Finals: 5
World Open Finals: 4

Qamar Zaman born in 1952 in Quetta, Pakistan was one of the leading players in squash during the 1970s and 1980s.

His biggest triumph was winning the British Open in 1975 when he beat defending champion Geoff Hunt of Australia in the quarter-finals and went onto win the title beating his fellow Pakistani player Gogi Alauddin in the final 9-7, 9-6, 9-1.

Qamar reached the British Open final on four further occasions. He was runner-up to Hunt in 1978, 1979 and 1980 and to Jahangir Khan in 1984. He was also runner-up at the World Open four times, losing to Hunt in the finals of 1976, 1979 and 1980 and to Jahangir in 1984.

Zaman made his professional debut in 1968, travelling to Peshawar for his maiden under-16 event.

Although he lost in the second round, he managed to win plenty of admirers as onlookers tipped him for success and six months later he lifted the National Junior Championship’s U18 trophy.

Zaman then decided to move abroad, registering for the 1973 British Amateur event for which he brought a new racket and shoes. He lost in the semi-finals but his investment, and the on-court show earned him not only respect but also several sponsorship deals and dozens of rackets. The following year he reached the semi-finals of the British Open before managing to win the Australian Amateur event.

He came back to England stronger, winning the British Open in 1975, stunning defending champion Geoff Hunt in the quarter-finals.

Zaman was unable to replicate his efforts ever again, losing in the British Open final in 1978, 1979, 1980 and 1984.

He also lost in the final of the World Open four times – 1976, 1979, 1980 and 1984 – but ensured Pakistan’s fading supremacy since the days of Roshan Khan and Hashim Khan were reignited.

Abdelfattah AbouTaleb
Nationality: Egyptian
British Open Titles: 3
British Open Finals: 5

Abdelfattah AbouTaleb, better known as “A.A. AbouTaleb”, or simply “AbouTaleb”, was a squash player from Egypt and during the 1960s, he won the British Open three times.

AbouTaleb started out by sweeping the courts at Cairo’s National Sporting Club, where his brother was the tennis professional. At first, he had to make do with discarded broken rackets and burst balls.

AbouTaleb reached the final of the British Open for the first time in 1963, when he lost to Pakistan’s Mo Khan in a five set final 9-4, 5-9, 3-9, 10-8, 9-6. The British Open was considered to be the effective world championship of the sport at the time.

AbouTaleb then went on to win the British Open for the next three consecutive years. In 1964, he beat Mike Oddy of Scotland in the final 9-3, 9-7, 9-0. AbouTaleb’s win that year marked the end of 13 years of Pakistani domination of the British Open men’s title.

The following year, AbouTaleb beat his fellow Egyptian player Ibrahim Amin in the final 9-0, 0-9, 9-1, 9-6. His third and final British Open title came in 1966, when he defeated Pakistan’s Aftab Jawaid in the final 9-6, 5-9, 9-3, 9-1.

Fran Marshall
Nationality: English
British Open Titles: 1
British Open Finals: 6

Fran Marshall won the British Open in 1961, defeating Ruth Turner in the final in straight sets 9-3, 9-5, 9-1. She was also the runner-up at the championship in 1960, 1962, 1963, 1964 and 1969. She also won the Scottish Open in 1962 beating Heather McKay in straight games, making her the last woman to defeat McKay in squash.

Marshall was raised in Kenya and represented Kenya in tennis at the 1960 Wimbledon Championships and was part of the Kenyan team at the 1981 Women’s World Team Squash Championships.

After marrying her husband, who was in the British Army, she moved to England and has lived there permanently since 1957.

Barbara Wall
Nationality: Australian
British Open Titles: 1

Barbara Wall is a former squash player from Australia.

Wall turned professional in 1973, the first Australian woman to do so. She travelled overseas in 1976 and the following year, though unseeded, managed to make the final of the British Open, where she lost to Heather McKay.

Born in Perth in 1948, Wall learned to play the game in the squash centre that her parents built.

She played both tennis and squash as a youngster but opted to concentrate on squash because at that time it offered far more opportunities to travel.

She never really thought seriously of playing squash for a living and had even semi-retired from the sport in her mid-20s when she was restricted from playing in Australia because of her professional status.

During that period, she ran a coaching school in Perth and managed her father’s squash centre, but when she travelled to Sydney in 1976 to watch the Australian championships, the British team members told her that professionals could play in British tournaments and she decided then and there that was her future.

In 1977 she made the final of the British Open, the first unseeded player to do so, only to come up against the formidable McKay in McKay’s last British Open.

The following year she had a minor setback when she went out to Rhonda Thorne in the quarter-finals and South African professional Alan Colburn told her that he thought she would go back to Australia with her talent unfulfilled.

With those words ringing in her ears, Wall returned to Australia and contacted Australian track and field legend Shirley De La Hunty, who spent almost 12 months helping her with her fitness training and her speed work.

She went back to England and went on to win the title in 1979, downing England’s Sue Cogswell 8-10, 6-9, 9-4, 9-4, 9-3 in the final.

She was also chosen in the Australian team for the first ever Women’s World Team Championship in 1979 alongside Rhonda Clayton, Vicki Cardwell, Sue King and Anne Smith, where they finished second to a combined Great Britain team.

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