Suryanarayan from Chennai has spent hours researching the WJC since its inception in 1980 and has made brief notes on all the events (with an Indian emphasis).
In the days before this year’s edition kicks off in Chennai, we’ll look at a few events at a time as we build up the full history of the World Juniors …
Episode Four – the early Noughties
Nicol David and Ramy Ashour become the first double champions, but the Egyptian presence comes to the fore as the new century begins, with Karim Darwish, Omneya Abdel Kawy, Ashour and Raneem El Welily (twice) picking up the individual titles.
Men’s individual and team championships, held in Milan, Italy. Top seed Karim Darwish of Egypt emerges victor beating second seed Gregory Gaulteir of France in the final.
For someone who played only in the team event two years earlier, Karim’s was a big jump. He was British junior U19 open champion prior to the Milan triumph. From there on he made a big impression in the professional circuit, collecting 23 titles till 2014 when he retired. By then he had in 2009 earned the number one rank in the world.
In the team event, second seed England (Daryl Selby, James Willstrop, Phillip Barker) shocked top seeds Egypt 2-1 for the title. Pakistan placed third. Malaysia finished 6th and India (Junaid Nathani, Bikram Uberoi, Mihir Kapoor) ended 16th.
Women’s individual and team championships, held in Penang, Malaysia. Top seed Malaysian Nicol David won beating second seed Omneya Abdel Kawy of Egypt. Nicol was then the only player to win the title twice and right through she did not concede a single game.
For India the good news was that Vaidehi Reddy came up to the fourth round and Joshna Chinappa up to the third round.
In the team event, second seed England (Jenny Duncalf, Laura-Jane Lengthorn, Alison Waters) shocked the top seed Malaysia spearheaded by Nicol. India (Joshna Chinappa, Vaidehi Reddy, Supriya Balsekar, Rachita Vora) finished 8th.
Men’s individual and team championships held in Chennai, India. The championship comes to India for the first time and this when India had just become the proud possessor of a state of the art squash academy in Chennai. James Willstrop, the top seed of England rose to become the champion, beating second seed and country mate Peter Barker.
No Egyptians in the front but two Pakistani players Khayal Khan and Majid Khan featured in the semis. Willstrop had a collection of national titles from age 12 to 19 not to speak of British junior Open U14 and U19 triumphs as also EuropeanU19 championship success before picking the world title. The good work continued from there on the PSA circuit and in 2012 became world number one. In all he won 19 Tour titles and in addition to the Commonwealth Games gold medal in Gold Coast, Australia.
Notable from Indian viewpoint was Siddarth Suchde’s progress till 4th round. Others who had taken part were Gaurav Nandrajog, Saurav Ghosal, Yashvardhan Singh, Supreet Singh, Sahil Vora and Vikas Jangra. In the team event, second seed Pakistan beat top seed England 2-1. India rose to 5th place.
Women’s individual and team championships held in Cairo, Egypt. Top seed Omneya Abdel Kawy won beating Annah El Trabolsy in an all-Egptian final. Until six years prior to the World event, Omneya had collected a clutch of international titles including multiple British Junior Open U14, 15,19 titles, Dutch U19 title and more significantly had clinched the Egyptian national champion tag. She featured in eight British junior open final.
It was life on the professional circuit from then on and till last year had garnered eight Tour titles,featuring in 32 finals. Coming upto fourth rank in the world has been her career best. The championship saw the growing stature of Joshna Chinappa who made it to the quarterfinals before losing to Omneya. Vaidehi Reddy, Supriya Balsekar, Alisha Mashruwala,Sonali Philip and Dipika Pallikal were the others who took part.
In the team event, top seed Egypt defeated Australia for 3-0 in the final. India (Vaidehi, Joshna and Supriya) finished fourth.
Men’s individual and team championships, held in Islamabad, Pakistan. Two lower seeds Ramy Ashour (Egypt) and Yasir Ali Butt (Pakistan) played the final and Ramy won to become the youngest ever champion when not even 17. India’s Saurav Ghosal was the top seed but lost in 4th round and Khalid Atlas Khan of Pakistan was second seed and he lost in semi-finals. Vikas Jangra, A. Parthiban, Sandeep Jangra and Harinder Pal Sandhu were the other Indians who took part.
Ashour rose to become one of Egypt’s best player to take the world. A prodigy as a junior he had a sensational career that saw him win 40 Tour titles featuring in 59 finals. He was the first Egyptian in 47 years to win the British Open. Was world number one in 2010 and was recipient of a series of awards.
In the team event, top seed Pakistan beat Egypt 2-1 for the title. India was placed 5th, above Malaysia (9th) and Hong Kong (13th).
Women’s individual and team championships, held in Herentals, Belgium. India’s Joshna Chinappa was top seeded but she was beaten by second seed Raneem El Welily of Egypt in the final. Raneem had won the British Junior Open U13, 15, 17 titles and the Egyptian national champion tag before winning the World juniors.
Just 16 years then, Raneem was never to look back in a career that saw her become Egypt’s first woman to become Number one in any sport. Seventeen tour titles embellishes her career till date. Her recent success has been in home ground in the ElGouna international. Months prior to that Raneem had won the PSA World championship title.
In the team event, second seed Hong Kong shocked top seed Egypt 2-1. India did not take part. Malaysia placed 5th of the 20 contestants.
Men’s individual and team championships held in Palmerston North, New Zealand. Top seed Ramy Ashour of Egypt became the first male player to win the event twice. He beat country-mate Omar Mosaad in the final.
Ashour’s career rose from there in keeping with his prodigius talent. He still remains in the professional circuit, won his 40th PSA title in the March of 2018 in Switzerland. A year earlier he was member of the Egypt’s world team championship-winning team.
The Indians who took part in the championship were Parth Sharma, Sandeep Jangra,Vikram Malhotra,Harinder Pal Sandhu, Naresh Kumar, Ramit Tandon, Manek Mathur,Parthiban and Ravi Dixit.
In the team event, top seed Egypt beat Pakistan 2-1 in the final. Malaysia came third and India placed 6th, Hong Kong 7th. 18 nations took part.
Women’s individual and team championships, held in Hong Kong. Top seed Raneem El Welily of Egypt did what her male counterpart Ramy Ashour did the previous year by winning the title second time. She beat French girl Camille Serme, the second seed.
Effectively that was signing off for Raneem from the junior ranks and on a high. Her career gained lustre and substance from there as he piled up titles in competitions in various parts of the globe in the professional circuit. As for Indians, Dipika Pallikal came up to the third round, Surbhi Misra, the second round. Others who took part were Harita Om Prakash,Shivangi Paranjpe and Anwesha Reddy.
In the team event, top seed Egypt beat Malaysia 2-0. Hong Kong came 4th and India was placed 9th.
Episode Three – the Nineties
The World Juniors of the Nineties started well for England, finished well for Malaysia, and saw Egypt start to collect WJ titles as a host of still famous names became World Junior Champions …
The Men’s individual and team championship were held in Paderborn, Germany. In an all-English final Simon Parke emerged the winner beating David Campion. Such was the English domination that the four semi-finalists were from England. Eighteen years old when he won the title, Simon went on to rise to world number three, the highest he achieved in 2000. He featured in 20 finals in PSA events and won six of them. Simon had won the British junior Open U14, U16 and U19 titles before claiming the world junior title. Pakistan’s Zubair Jahan Khan was the lone Asian in the fray.
In the team event, England (Simon Parke, David Campion, Mark Allen) defeated Australia for the title. Pakistan placed third while Singapore had finished a distant 21st. Contestants had gone up to 23.
The Women’s individual and team championship were held in Bergen Norway. Another English winner as Cassie Jackman beat Sabine Schoene of Germany in the final. Cassie’s accomplishments had begun prior to the World junior triumph, she was twice European Junior U19 winner aside from picking up the Surrey and Swiss Open titles. Cassie went to become senior World Champion in 1999 and claimed the world number one status in 2000. By 2004 she had won 28 PSA titles after featuring in 57 finals and holds the record of winning the British national title six times.
In the team event, Cassie led England (Sally Felton,Paula Hoppe were the other two) to victory over Australia. Malaysia, the lone Asian team, finished ninth.
The Men’s individual and team championship were held in Hong Kong. Juha Raumolin of Finland emerged victor, beating Jonathan Power of Canada in the final. Juha had come to the Hong Kong championship as British junior Open U19 champion as also European U19 winner.
From then on his exploits by and large were in PSA circuit, where he won four titles. What was significant was he had beaten a player, who later went on to gain legendary status in the sport. Jonathan was world number one in 1999 and in his career that lasted till 2006, he won 37 PSA titles, won the Canadian national title for a record eight times, was a world champion once.
In the team event, Australia (Byron Davis, Gavin Kadwell,Dan Jenson) beat England . For the first time India had come into the fray and finished 15th. In all 24 nations had taken part.
The Women’s individual and team championship was held in Kuala Lumpur,Malaysia. The individual winner was Rachel Grinham of Australia, beating Sarah Cook of New Zealand in the final. The world junior title was what propelled Rachel to fame.
In course of time she became one of Australia’s foremost player with a string of achievements that include the world championship and British Open titles, world doubles, commonwealth games doubles and not to forget the 35 PSA titles. Two of her PSA titles had come in India besides a Chennai doubles title too.
In the team event, Australia (Rachel Grinham, Natarsha Tippett, Kym Keevil) beat England for the title. Malaysia and Singapore were the Asian representatives.
The Men’s individual and team championship were held in Christchurch,New Zealand. It was the first Egyptian take over as Ahmed Barada beat Omar Elborolossy, in all-Egyptian final. Having won the British Junior Open U14, 16 and 19 titles, the New Zealand success seemed a perfect culmination for Barada.
A world games winner, Ahmed by 1998 had become world ranked two. Before he retired in 2001, Ahmed had won 6 PSA titles.
In the team event, Egypt (Omar Elborolossy, Ahmed Barada, Ahmed Faizy) beat England. Pakistan slipped to 5th place, Malaysia 9th and India was on 19th spot.
The Women’s individual and team championship was held in Sydney,Australia. New Zealand’s Jade Wilson was the winner, beating Rachel Grinham of Australia in the final. Jade, a semi-finalist in 1993, had not dropped a game right through til her title-win.
The highly talented girl, the only New Zealand player to have won a world title, could have gone far, but in 1998 she ended her life. She had reached world rank 18 as a senior before the tragedy struck.
In the team event, Australia (Narelle Tippett, Rachel Grinham, Kate Major) won beating England in the final. Hong Kong and Malaysia, the two Asian entrants, finished 11th and 12th.
The Men’s individual and team championship held in Cairo, Egypt. It was a home winner as Ahmed Faizy beat Stewart Boswell of Australia. Faizy had won the British Junior Open U14 and16 (both twice) and U19 titles before conquering the worlds and won another British junior Open U19 title before leaving the junior scene. Till he went out of the scene in 2001 he had a busy time on the PSA circuit.
While the Egyptian influence grew, Malaysian semi-finalist Ong Beng Hee also caught the eye. In the team event, England (John Russell, Lee Beachill, Adrian Grant) shocked top seeds Egypt for the title. Pakistan rose to third position. Malaysia ended 6th, Hong Kong 14th and India 17th.
The Women’s individual and team championships were held in Rio de Janeiro,Brazil. Top seed Tania Bailey of England won, beating Isabelle Stoehr of France.
Before becoming the world champion, Tania had already annexed the British junior open U16 and U19 titles and before coming over to Brazil won the European Junior U19 championship. She was to win the British junior open U19 and European Junior U19 titles again the next year to end her junior career on a high. Tania was into professional circuit from then and became world number 4, her highest, by 2003 and until her last year she had won six PSA titles.
In the team event, Tania led England (Vicky Hynes and Cheryl Beaumont were the other two) to a 2-1 win over New Zealand. Malaysia, with that sensation-to-be Nicol David in, for the first time jumped to third place. India did not take part.
The Men’s individual and team championships were held in Princeton, USA. Malaysian Ong Beng Hee rose to become the champion, beating Wael El Hindi of Egypt. Ong was a semi-finalist two years earlier. He came to Princeton after having won the British Junior Open U14 , U16 and U19 titles. His career zoomed from there. With over 300 international events from 1994, Ong had a long and productive career which brought him 15 PSA titles, three Malaysian national championship titles and a host of others including,
Asian Championship and Asian Games victories. His best world ranking was seven in 2001. Currently he is the Qatar national Coach.
In the team event, England (Nick Mathew, Adrian Grant, Lee Jemmett) won, beating Egypt 2-1. Pakistan placed 3rd, Malaysia 7th, Hong Kong 12th and India 17th. 30 countries had taken part.
The Women’s individual and team championship were held in Antwerp, Belgium. In an all-Malaysian final top seed Nicol David won the title, beating Lynn Sue Leong. Having won the British junior U14 (twice), U16, Asian Games gold, BJO U17, Asian junior U19 title, the world title seemed in keeping with her growing career.
Her illustrious career took shape from there on as she rose to become a legend in the next two decades. There was not a title she did not win, including the senior world championship (a record eight times), the World Games and Asian championship (nine times). 81 PSA titles embellish her career that saw her at the world ranked number one spot continuously for a record 109 months.
India made its maiden appreance at this championship, Deepali Anvekar, Pia Abraham,Vaidehi Reddy and Supriya Balsekar were selected to represent the country. In the team event, third seed Egypt (Engy Kheirallah, Eman El Amir, Omneya Abdel Kawy) beat second seed England for title. Top seed Malaysia placed third. India finished 19th.
Episode Two – the Eighties
After the debut in 1980 (men) and 1981 (women) the World Junior Championships of the eighties were won by a host of players who became legends in the senior ranks – Sarah Fitz Gerald and Jansher Khan among them.
The Men’s Junior individual championship was held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and the team event in Singapore. Pakistan ruled the roost. Suheil Qaiser was the individual winner and Pakistan team (Ahmed Gul, Suheil Qaiser and Umar Hayat Khan) won the team title beating Australia. India’s presence still not seen.
The Women’s individual championship was held in Perth, Australia. An Australian Robyn Lambourne emerged the winner. She later was to dominate women’s squash and rose to become world number two by 1992. Robyn came to 11 finals in the PSA world tour tournaments and was a winner on five occasions. Her best in world championships was a semi-final finish in Sydney in 1990. She was also member of the title-winning Australian team in the 1992 women’s world team championship in 1992, Canada.
The Men’s individual and team championships held in Calgary, Canada where Chris Robertson of Australia was the winner. Chris rose from there on to become world number two, his best, in 1992. There was only one Asian at the quarterfinal level and he was Pakistan’s Jansher Khan,who lost in the semi-final. Australia (Rodney Martin, Chris Robertson, Seaon O’Connor) was the team winner, beating England in the final. .Pakistan finished third and Malaysia 13th.
The Women’s individual and the first team championships were held in Dublin, Ireland. England’s Lucy Soutter was the winner, beating Sarah Fitz-Gerald in the final. In the same year Lucy became British National champion at age 18 years and earned that honour again four years thereafter. Lucy rose to become world number three, her best in 1986. No Asian player was in the picture. In the team event, Australia (Sarah Fitz-Gerald, Danielle Drady, Michelle Martin) beat England in the final.
The Men’s individual and team championship were held in Brisbane, Australia. Lone Asian Jansher Khan of Pakistan won the title, beating Rodney Eyles of Australia in the final. By 1988, Jansher became the world number one and ruled the squash world until 1998. With 99 PSA title, eight world champion titles, he had a stunning career. Australia (Rodney Eyles, Anthony Hill, Adam Schreiber) was supreme in the team event, beating England in the final. Pakistan finished third. Malaysia was 12th and Singapore 13th.
The Women’s individual and team championship were held in Brighton, England. Sarah Fitz-Gerald was the winner, beating Donna Vardy of England in the final. Sarah was to rise later to become world number one a decade later and earn a legendary status with impressive records. No Asian in the picture. In the team event, England (Donna Vardy, Senga Macfie, Sue Wright) emerged team victors, beating Austalia. No Asian team in the fourteen placings.
The Men’s individual and team championships were held in Edinburgh, Scotland. Del Harris of England was the winner, beating Anthony Hill of Australia in the final. Harris was to win the British Junior U19 title on four occasions, prior to the world junior champion tag. A British national champion twice, Harris’ career’s best by far was till 1989. Farhan Samiullah of Pakistan was the lone Asian in the fray and he finished quarter-finalist. In the team event, Australia (Shaun Moxham, Anthony Hill, Dean Mason) was the winner, beating Pakistan (Farhan Samiullah, Jansher Khan, Tayab Habib) in the final. The other Asian team was Malaysia, which finished 10th.
The Women’s individual and team championships were held in Hamilton, New Zealand. England reclaimed the individual title with Donna Vardy beating Lynora Hati of New Zealand in the final. In her active career till 2009, Donna was once the British over-35 national championship winner. No player from Asia. In the team event, England (Donna Vardy, Cassie Jackman, Jane Martin) beat Australia in the final. No team from Asia in the placings.
Episode One – the First Events
1980: The first official men’s event
Prior to 1980 there was no individual event to accompany the unofficial team events, which tended to be played in conjunction with existing junior open championships – usually the British Junior Open – and ran from 1972 with England winning the first 5 editions, Australia and Pakistan winning in ’78 and ’79.
Peter Nance of Australia was the first winner in the history of world junior championship, beating Chris Dittmar in an all-Australian final in Sweden.
Nance was also member of the Australian team which won the gold, beating Pakistan 2-1 in the final. There were 16 teams in this inaugural event (India was not one of them).
1981: The first official women’s event
The World Junior Women’s individual event was initially staged on virtually an invitation basis, and predated an accompanying team event by four years. In the first year Susan Devoy, who latterly dominated the senior game, went out in the semi finals – in her only appearance.
Lisa Opie of England was the winner of the first edition, which was held in Canada. She beat Martine le Moignan, also from Guernsey, in the final. Lisa went on to become the world ranked number one player and won seven PSA titles and an array of other leading championships, including several British national championships and in 1991 the British Open.