The Allam British Open is the oldest and most established tournaments on the PSA Tour calendar and has seen some of the greatest players of all time battle it out to lift the famous trophy throughout its illustrious history.
This year, the Platinum tournament takes place at the Allam Sports Centre at the University of Hull and will see the top players in the world compete to get their names on the trophy when the event takes place between August 16-22.
Second only to the PSA World Championships in prestige, the British Open began in 1929 under a challenge format, where the title holder would be challenged by either the professional of amateur squash champion.
Englishman Charles Read was named the first ever winner on the basis of his results the previous year, before he lost in the first final in 1930 with defeat to Don Butcher in a two-legged affair at the Queen’s Club and the Conservative Club, both in London.
A women’s amateur tournament began in 1922 with a ‘round-robin’ format and saw Joyce Cave take the inaugural title with a victory over sister Nancy Cave in the final.
An eight-year hiatus was to follow after the outbreak of World War II, before the more familiar ‘knockout’ format, with which modern fans are familiar with, was implemented upon its return in 1948.
Some of the most famous names ever to be associated with the sport have had their names added to the coveted trophy, with the likes of Jahangir Khan (10), Geoff Hunt (8), Hashim Khan (7), Jansher Khan (6) and Jonah Barrington (6) winning the most titles over the past 90 years.
During this period, the women’s title winners had a strong Antipodean flavour, with the winners of the tournament between 1962-1990 coming from either Australia or New Zealand.
Australia’s Heather McKay was the most dominant player during this time-frame with an unprecedented 16 titles to her name, while the great Kiwi Susan Devoy flew the flag for New Zealand squash with eight tournament wins.
The tournament has taken place at a number of different venues in the past, including a 10-year stint at the Wembley Conference Centre in London, first in 1980, and then between 1984-1994.
The renowned National Squash Centre in Manchester has also hosted the event on four occasions since then, before sponsorship issues resulted in a two-year hiatus in 2010 and 2011.
The O2 arena was the venue for the distinguished tournament the year after that, before it made its home in Hull, the 2017 City of Culture, initially being staged at the KC Stadium.
The 2016 instalment saw Nour El Sherbini write her name into the squash history books in the women’s event as she became the first Egyptian female winner of the tournament, beating compatriot and British Open Junior champion Nouran Gohar in the final.
In the men’s event World No.1 Mohamed ElShorbagy captured his second title in a row, courtesy of a win over great rival Ramy Ashour in the final.
2017 saw the British contingent take over, with three English competitors competing in both finals. France’s Gregory Gaultier defeat England’s Nick Matthew.
It was an all-English battle in the women’s final for the first time since 1991. Laura Massaro came out on top against Sarah-Jane Perry to become the first female English players in 66 years to win the tournament twice.
That year, the tournament offered equal prize money for the first time in its history, with $150,000 on offer throughout both draws – making the British Open the fourth World Series tournament to offer parity, and the first major British squash tournament to do so.
Miguel Rodriguez made history by becoming both the first South American to win a PSA World Tour Platinum event with his win in 2018, and the lowest ranked male player to ever win the British Open. The Colombian was ranked World No.14 when he beat Mohamed ElShorbagy. ‘The Beast’ then claimed the crown for a third time in 2019, the last time the tournament was held.
Meanwhile, El Sherbini continued her dominance in recent years by taking a second British Open title in three seasons, before Nouran Gohar claimed her first British Open title in 2019.