Who's who of NZ squash in Hall of Fame

Dame Susan Devoy is one of eight inaugural inductees to the New Zealand Squash Hall of Fame

The biggest name in New Zealand squash history heads an impressive group of individuals who are to become the inaugural inductees to the New Zealand Squash Hall of Fame later this year.

Dame Susan Devoy is included in an eight strong list of inductees announced by Squash New Zealand, singled out by a voting academy after consideration of more than 70 nominations.

Devoy dominated women's squash on the international scene for a decade, winning four world titles and eight British Open crowns, along with a host of other international and national titles. In 1998 she was created a dame for her contribution to the sport.

Other players to be inducted include 1986 world champion Ross Norman, former world number one Leilani Joyce and former top four players Stu Davenport and Bruce Brownlee.

However, it is not only players who have been recognised for their contributions to the sport, with Murray Day and Roy Haddon included for their outstanding efforts in administration, while the country's first full-time professional coach Dardir El Bakary also makes the grade for the profound and lasting effect he had on New Zealand squash.

Squash New Zealand CEO Mike Thompson is thrilled the Hall of Fame has finally come to fruition. " We have pushed strongly for the establishment of a Hall of Fame to recognise excellence within the sport and to ensure the history of New Zealand squash is acknowledged. It's fantastic that we can now give something back to those who have given so much of themselves to the sport".

A permanent site for the Hall of Fame is yet to be decided, although there are a number of options currently being investigated.

A formal dinner is planned for the inaugural inductions later this year, with the living inductees to be invited. It is envisaged there will be further inductions in years to come, with more great figures in New Zealand squash recognised for their contribution to the sport.

The inaugural eight inductees are:

Susan Devoy. Arguably the greatest women's player ever. Devoy dominated international squash for a decade, winning four world titles, eight British Open crowns, the New Zealand Open Championship eight times, the national championship 10 times and a host of other major international titles. In 1998 she was created a dame for her contribution to the sport.

Ross Norman. The world champion in 1986, when in the world open final at Toulouse, he ended legendary Pakistani player Jahangir Khan's unbeaten run of more than 550 matches. Norman represented New Zealand at senior level for 15 years and for several years was ranked number two in the world behind Jahangir. He won the New Zealand Open title three times and the national title twice.

Dardir El Bakary. Visited New Zealand in 1963 and 1965, then returned in 1967 as the country's first full-time professional coach. An Egyptian who had been ranked amongst the world's best as a player, Dardir had a profound effect on New Zealand squash. With his charismatic personality, deep knowledge of the game and approachability, he took squash to the masses. Though he assisted stars like Ross Norman, Bruce Brownlee and Susan Devoy, his influence stretched far deeper than just the country's top few players.

Bruce Brownlee. The first New Zealand squash player to win a major international title, Brownlee's triumph in the 1976 British Amateur Championship launched a new era in the game in New Zealand. He became a pioneer, turning professional and forging a ranking among the world's top four before a hip injury forced his early retirement. Brownlee won one New Zealand Open Championship and two national titles.

Stuart Davenport. Exceptionally tall for a leading player and possessing incredible racket skills, Davenport rose to a world ranking of number three, but was blocked by two exceptional players on the world scene - Pakistan's Jahangir Khan and fellow New Zealander Ross Norman. Nevertheless, Davenport won his share of international titles, including the US Open, plus the New Zealand Open in 1983. He later became chairman of ISPA, the professional men's players' association.

Leilani Joyce. Until her retirement after the 2002 Manchester Commonwealth Games, Joyce had turned in a decade of outstanding results, including winning two British Open titles and twice being runner-up at the world championships. She reached number one in the world rankings and won the New Zealand national title four times. Joyce won the world doubles title with Philippa Beams in 1998 and claimed two gold medals at the 2002 Commonwealth Games - in the women's doubles with Carol Owens and mixed doubles with Glen Wilson.

Murray Day. The first New Zealand squash administrator to make a significant impact on the world stage. Day, from the Hamilton club, was president of the New Zealand Squash Rackets Association from 1969-71, and co-ordinated the hosting of the 1971 world men's championships in Hamilton, the first time New Zealand had hosted a world squash event. He became involved with the International Squash Rackets Federation and rose to be its president from 1975-81. His innovative style and organisational ability helped to transform the federation into an efficiently-run, global body.

Roy Haddon. For more than 20 years, Haddon was the driving force behind New Zealand squash, running the national association as its secretary in 1949, 1951 and from 1953-71, when it was based permanently in Palmerston North. Haddon ushered squash from its early days, when few knew of the sport, through to the 1970s, when its popularity was exploding. He was not only secretary, but was the game's first historian, a publicist and a forceful administrator.

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