Unprovoked assault outside theatre
By Squash Mad Reporter
Former world champion Ross Norman was the subject of an unprovoked attack on the streets of London, leaving him with a badly gashed mouth.
Norman, the man who ended the long unbeaten run of Pakistan squash legend Jahangir Khan in the 1986 World Open final in Toulouse, required seven stitches after the assault outside the Orange Tree Theatre, in south-west London.
New Zealander Norman, who has lived in England for almost 40 years, suffered the injury after receiving a single punch on the pavement outside the theatre. He was accompanied by his partner and her parents.
Norman told the London Evening Standard: “I couldn’t describe him as it happened so quickly. He came in from the side. I hadn’t even looked or spoken to him and he just punched me. I think he just stood there and my partner, Sarah, said we should just leave.
“I didn’t realise how bad it was or how much damage had been done. We immediately left and I turned round to see if he was following as I had Sarah’s parents with me, but he was still standing there.”
The Standard report said that Norman, who came to Britain aged 18 to pursue his squash career, went to a nearby hospital that night and only reported the assault after doctors took pictures of his damaged mouth and said he should go to police.
Norman, now 56 and working as a property manager, said: “I’m not a big guy but it’s one of the first rules — you never pick a fight you’re not going to win. It would have been stupid to get involved. He was wide and solid and it would have taken two or three guys to tackle him.”
Last month’s incident took place just 20 metres from Richmond Police Station. A Metropolitan police spokesman said: “Detectives are investigating an allegation of grievous bodily harm. No arrests have been made at this time.”
Next November will mark 30 years since Norman beat Khan in the final of the 1986 World Championship in Toulouse, France. The victory ended Khan’s 555-match and five-year unbeaten streak on the world tour — the longest run in world sport.
Norman, who lives in Surrey, retired from squash in 1995 but made a one-off winning comeback two months shy of his 50th birthday in 2008 when he played for St George’s Hill in the Premier Squash League.