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History of the British Open

The Allam British Open is the oldest and most established tournament on the PSA World Tour calendar and has seen some of the greatest players of all time battle it out to lift the revered trophy throughout its storied history.

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 or 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 etched into the coveted trophy, with the likes of Jahangir Khan (10), Geoff Hunt (8), Hashim Khan (7), Jansher Khan (6) and the legendary Jonah Barrington (6) winning the most titles over the past 87 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 02 arena was the venue for the distinguished tournament the year after that, before it made its home in Hull, the officially recognised 2017 City of Culture, initially being staged at the KC Stadium.

The 2017 edition of the iconic tournament will be held at Hull’s Airco Arena for the fourth time in succession, and last year saw World No.1 Mohamed ElShorbagy capture his second title in a row, courtesy of a win over great rival Ramy Ashour in the final.

His compatriot, Nour El Sherbini, wrote her name into the history books in the Women’s event as she became the first Egyptian female winner, beating British Open junior champion Nouran Gohar in the final.