Susie Simcock and Neven Barbour are amongst the eight new inductees to the Squash NZ Hall of Fame.
A lifetime of dedication and service to the sport of squash, both at home and overseas, has earned Susie Simcock a spot in the Squash New Zealand Hall of Fame. She is one of the eight personalities who have been inducted in 2010.
Simcock was a late starter in squash, taking up the sport in her 20s, but eventually gained a top 10 national ranking. However, she is best known for her contribution off the court. In 1996, Simcock became the first woman to be elected as President of the World Squash Federation, a position she held for three terms until subjected to compulsory retirement in 2002. She then held the title of Emeritus President in 2008, dedicating much of her time to the global campaign pushing for squash to join the Olympics. While the bid was ultimately unsuccessful, huge progress was made in establishing squash as a credible candidate.
Joining Simcock as an inductee this year is another man known for his exploits both on and off the court. Neven Barbour was New Zealand champion in 1973 and '74, and was a member of the New Zealand team from 1972-1983, representing his country at six world championships. He went on to contribute to squash in many other areas, including vice president of the World Squash Federation, chairman of the national association's executive and as the driving force behind the purchase of the first all glass court in New Zealand. The other six inductees all had distinguished careers on the court, while also making significant contributions off the court.
Nancy New was the first outstanding New Zealand women's player, winning the national title four times from 1951-1955. Her record would have been even more impressive but for the fact that there was no women's championship in New Zealand until 1951, when she was 31 years of age.
Carol Owens established her reputation as a squash star while representing Australia in the 1990s, but became eligible to represent New Zealand in 2001 having settled in Auckland. In 2003 she won the second of her world titles and became the third New Zealand woman to be ranked number one in the World. Owens also claimed a gold medal in the women's doubles with Leilani Joyce at the 2002 Commonwealth Games, as well as a silver in the individual event. She has become a successful coach since retiring in 2003.
John Gillies was an Englishman who was nearing his 40s when he arrived in New Zealand in 1949 after a long and distinguished career which included an appearance in the British Amateur final. Despite suffering ill health after spending time in a prisoner of war camp during World War Two, he won three successive national championship titles and was generally untested by his opponents. Gillies settled in Invercargill and was instrumental in the city getting its first open squash club. He died in 1993, aged 81.
Don Green was a product of Timaru but spent most of his life in Dunedin. He was one of New Zealand's leading players throughout the 1950s and won the national title in 1956. He was the New Zealand delegate to the International Squash Rackets Federation from 1975-81 and was accorded life membership of the national association in 1976.
Allen Johns won the New Zealand title in 1947 and 1949 and retained his form so well that he was still number one in the New Zealand team in 1959. At the age of 38, he was runner up to Charlie Waugh in the 1960 final. Johns was an even bigger figure off the court. He was the national association's auditor for a time, spent 15 years on its management committee and had several stints as chairman. He was made a life member of the New Zealand association in 1969 and was a national selector in the 1960s and early 70s. Johns died in 1999, aged 77.
Charlie Waugh was only 5ft 3in tall but was a giant of the game in the 1960s. He won the national title five times in succession from 1960-64, and was still in the New Zealand team for the 1971 World Championships in 1971.The new additions to the Squash New Zealand Hall of Fame will be officially inducted at a special dinner during the Women's World Championships in Palmerston North on December 2.