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G.O.A.T: The Contenders 1980-1999 – Part Five

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 between 1960-1979 in part two of our public vote.

You can also vote for the pre-1960s era here.

We’re onto the 1980-1999 era now and will relive the achievements of some of the best players to have competed during that era.

Read part one from this era, part two, part three and part four.

You can then determine the top players in a public vote at the end of the week.

Peter Marshall

Nationality: English
Highest World Ranking: #2
World Open finals: 1
British Open finals: 1

England’s Peter Marshall was considered to be the main contender to displace the aging and iconic Pakistani champion Jansher Khan as World No.1. However, his story is not without struggle as his career took numerous highs and lows.

With his unique double-handed playing style, Marshall finished runner-up to the great Jansher Khan at the World Open in 1994 and the British Open the following year.

When he reached the World No.2 ranking behind Jansher in November 1994, many observers felt he seemed a strong candidate to displace him as World No.1. However, in 1995, Marshall was afflicted with glandular fever, which he was later to be told had developed into chronic fatigue syndrome and that he would have to give up squash, probably for a year, and would possibly never play competitively again.

Helped by playing numerous practice matches with the then England No.1 and World No.5 Simon Parke, Marshall plotted his comeback. Increased training and three hours on court every day led up to his first competitive match in January 1997 when he made his long awaited return to action.

The Englishman went on to re-claim his place in the England squad which went on to win the World Team Squash Championships title in Malaysia. He broke back into the world’s top 10 in 1999 and won his third British National Championship title in February 2000 – he was protecting a remarkable record, having been unbeaten in that event since December 1989.

Following his retirement Marshall released an autobiography about his battle against chronic fatigue syndrome in 2001 entitles Shattered: A Champion’s Fight Against a Mystery Illness.

In May 2015, Marshall was given a Lifetime Achievement Award at the World Squash Awards for his achievements, continued support and commitment to the game.

Ross Norman

Ross Norman in action against Jahangir Khan

Nationality: New Zealand
Highest World Ranking: #2
World Open titles: 1
British Open finals: 1

New Zealand’s Ross Norman is best remembered for winning the World Open in 1986 when he beat Jahangir Khan and put an end to his unprecedented unbeaten run.

Norman had been ranked the World No.2 behind Khan for some time going into the match, but despite a single-minded determination to halt his unbeaten run had been unable to end the total dominance that the Pakistani had held over the game.

Norman had vowed: “One day, Jahangir will be slightly off his game and I will get him.”

That day finally came in the final of squash’s biggest tournament – the World Championships – which was held in Toulouse, France in 1986.

Norman and Khan had both overcome Australian opponents in the semi-finals. Khan beating Chris Dittmar 9-1 in the fourth and Norman achieving a similar result against Chris Robertson, racing through the fourth 9-2.

Then came the final and Norman produced the performance of his life as his combination of hard, fast attacking squash produced the rare sight of Jahangir struggling to get the ball back as Norman powered his way to an emphatic 9-5, 9-7, 7-9, 9-1 scoreline to be crowned World Champion and mark the end of an unbeaten run for Khan that had stretched for over five years – the longest in the history of professional sport.

That same year, Norman also finished runner-up at the British Open to Jahangir, after he defeated him 9-6, 9-4, 9-6 in the final.

Norman retired from the professional squash circuit in 1995.

In the 2014 New Year Honours, Norman was appointed a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to squash.

Liz Irving

Liz Irving coaching Nicol David

Nationality: Australian
Highest World Ranking: #2
World Open finals: 1
British Open finals: 3

Australia's Liz Irving is a World Open and three-time British Open runner-up and reached a career-high World Ranking of No.2 in 1988.

Irving was runner-up to her fellow Australian player Michelle Martin at the World Open in 1993. She was also a three-time finalist at the British Open, losing the final to New Zealand’s Susan Devoy in 1988, and to Martin in 1994 and 1995.

The Australian also won the mixed doubles titles at the inaugural World Doubles Squash Championships in 1997.

Her greatest success came in four consecutive World Team Championships when she was part of the winning Australian team during the 1992 Women’s World Team Squash Championships held in Vancouver, the 1994 Women’s World Team Squash Championships held in Saint Peter Port, Guernsey, the 1996 Women’s World Team Squash Championships held in Malaysia and the 1998 Women’s World Team Squash Championships held in Germany.

Since retiring as a player, Irving has settled in Amsterdam, where she has coached top international female players, including former World No.1s and World Champions Nicol David and Vanessa Atkinson.

Suzanne Horner
Nationality: English
Highest World Ranking: #2
British Open finals: 2
US Open titles: 1

England's Suzanne Horner achieved a career-high of World No.2 and was runner-up at the British Open in 1990 and 1993.

Horner came close to securing the sport's oldest title on two occasions when she finished runner-up to Susan Devoy and Michelle Martin in 1990 and 1993, respectively, at the British Open.

In 1994, she captured her biggest title at the US Open when she defeated Australia's Vicki Cardwell, 9-3, 9-0, 9-2.

She won the British National Squash Championships in 1994 and 1996 and was a silver Commonwealth Games medallist in Kuala Lumpur in 1998, when she competed with Simon Parke in the doubles competition.

Another one of her greatest successes was being part of the successful England team that won the 1989 Women’s World Team Squash Championship in Warmond, Netherlands and the 1990 Women’s World Team Squash Championships in Sydney, Australia.

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