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

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 legacies 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 further information about some of the other contenders in this era below:

Jonah Barrington, Geoff Hunt, Heather McKay & Sue King.

Qamar Zaman, Abdelfattah AbouTaleb, Fran Marshall & Barbara Wall.

Gogi Alauddin
Nationality: Pakistani
British Open Title Wins: 0
British Open Final Defeats: 2

Alongside the likes of Jonah Barrington and Geoff Hunt, Gogi Alauddin was part of the first wave of professional squash players in the early 1970s.

One of the few players not wearing the name ‘Khan’ to emerge from the Pakistan squash scene and reach the top of the game, Alauddin was born to a poor family but his precocious talent was noticed by an English engineer who used to play at the same club – the Punjab Squash Courts – as Alauddin.

Due to the expense of playing, his burgeoning career was supported by some of the wealthy members of the club, who provided him with rackets and shoes.

Alauddin embarked on a punishing physical regime which included daily 13 kilometre runs and thousands of skips with a rope, while he played against two players simultaneously for on-court training due to the dearth of talent in his area of Lahore.

One of the few players not wearing the name ‘Khan’ to emerge from the Pakistan squash scene and reach the top of the game, Alauddin won the British Amateur Championships in 1970 and 1971 and the Pakistan Open in both of the following two years.

An increase in sponsorship and playing opportunities came about in the 1970s – with the great Barrington playing a pivotal role – and Alauddin turned pro in 1973. He made it to the final of the prestigious British Open later that year, losing to Barrington.

He would have one more shot at glory at the sport’s longest-running tournament in 1975 after toppling Barrington in the quarter-finals, but this time his title hopes came to an end at the hands of compatriot Qamar Zaman.

He bounced back with another Pakistan Open victory in 1976 – the most memorable of Alauddin’s career according to the man himself – and he stayed inside the top 10 for the remainder of his career.

A knee problem saw him retire at 1985, at which point he took up coaching in Kuwait.

Mohibullah Khan
Nationality: Pakistani
World Championship Title Wins: 0
World Championship Title Defeats: 1
British Open Title Wins: 0
British Open Final Defeats: 1

The older brother of the legendary Jansher Khan, Mohibullah Khan was one of the sport’s leading figures during the 1970s, competing in squash’s first ever World Championship final in 1976 and reaching the British Open title decider that same year.

Mohibullah was famed for his speed and energy on court, while the power of his hitting also set him apart from many of his fellow players at the time.

Alongside his World Championship and British Open final appearances – where he lost to Australia’s Geoff Hunt in both – Mohibullah won a number of international tournaments throughout his career, including the Pakistan International Airlines where he was awarded the trophy by Queen Elizabeth II.

After retiring, Mohibullah turned his attentions to coaching. Under his tutelage, Jansher developed into one of the greatest players the world has ever seen, with Mohibullah playing a key role in a record-breaking career which saw him reach World No.1, win eight World Championship titles and claim six British Open crowns.

Mohibullah also coached the Pakistan national team – which included Jansher – to the 1993 World Team Squash Championships and he won his country’s highest civil honour, the Pride of Performance award, in 1995.

Anna Craven-Smith
Nationality: English
British Open Title Wins: 0
British Open Final Defeats: 3

English player Anna Craven-Smith made it to three British Open finals and was the only player to come close to taking a game off the legendary Heather McKay, who dominated the tournament with 16 successive wins between 1962-1977.

Craven-Smith’s first British Open final in 1965 saw her take just three points against the irrepressible McKay, but she came within a whisker of claiming a game the following year.

Two 9-0 victories for McKay set up what looked set to be an equally one-sided third game but Craven-Smith stepped up and only narrowly lost out to McKay 10-8 on the tie-break.

She came even closer in 1967, losing 10-8 in the second game – again to McKay – and taking six points in the third.

Marcia Roche
Nationality: South African
British Open Title Wins: 0
British Open Final Defeats: 1

Marcia Roche’s appearance at the summit of the sport was short-lived but she broke new ground for South Africa in the sport as she became the first player from that country to reach the final of a major squash tournament final.

Her maiden British Open journey saw her bow out at the second round stage but she almost went all the way two years later, powering past the likes of Maureen Morgan, Jean Wilson and second seed Fran Marshall.

The intimidating figure of Heather McKay stood in her way in the final and it was the Australian who emerged victorious, taking the win in straight games to end Roche’s attempts at lifting the famous trophy.

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