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Saturday, April 17, 2021

Happy Birthday to Heather

Alan Thatcherhttps://squashmad.com
Founder of World Squash Day, Squash Mad and the new Squash 200 Partnership, building clubs of the future. Founder of the Kent Open and co-promoter of the St. James's Place Canary Wharf Classic. Author and Public Speaker.

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Happy 70th birthday to Australian icon Heather McKay

The great Heather McKay AM MBE, one of the greatest athletes in sporting history, turns 70 on Sunday.

Heather McKay was the undisputed queen of the squash court for an incredible period in the 1960s and ‘70s.

FACT FILE:

Heather McKay
Born: 31 July, 1941
Place of Birth: Queanbeyan, ACT
Resides: Canberra
Highest world ranking: 1

Heather McKay is considered Australia’s greatest ever sportswoman. Heather’s dominance in women’s squash is a matter of historical record, winning 16 consecutive British Opens from 1962 to 1977 – an absolutely incredible feat – and 14 straight Australian Amateur Championships from 1960 to 1973. Neither of these successes have been equalled or surpassed.
In another amazing statistic, Heather lost only two matches in her entire career – in 1960 and 1962 – and was unbeaten in competitive squash matches from 1962 to 1981 when she retired from active open squash.
In 1976 Heather won the first but unofficial World Women’s Open held in Australia and went on to win the first official Open in 1979 in England.
Heather continued on in competitive squash at international Masters level winning four World Championships in 1987 (45), 1990 (45), 1993 (50) and 1995 (50). The Australian public has acknowledged Heather’s significant contribution to Australian sport with Heather being inducted into the Australian Hall of Fame as a “Legend”. She is also a member of the World Squash Federation Hall of Fame. Heather’s dedication and performance in sport has been recognised by the Australian Government by her being awarded the decorations of the Member of the British Empire (MBE) and the Australian Medal (AM).

Chronology

1960 – 1973 Winner of the Australian Amateur Championships
1961 – 1973 Winner of New South Wales Championships
1961 – 1973 Winner of Victorian Championships
1962 – 1977 Winner of the British Open Championships
1965 Married Brian H McKay
1967 Awarded ABC Sportsman of the Year
1 January 1969 Appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire
1976 Winner of the World Squash Championship
1977 Winner of the American Championship
1979 Winner of the American Amateur Racquetball Championship
1979 Winner of the World Squash Championship
26 January 1979 Awarded Member of the Order of Australia
1980 Winner of the Canadian Racquetball Championship
1980 – 1981 Winner of the American Professional Racquetball Championships
1982 – 1985 Winner of the Canadian Racquetball Championships
1984 Winner of the American Professional Racquetball Championship
1985 – 1998 Squash Coach with the Australian Institute of Sport
30 August 2000 Awarded the Australian Sports Medal
12 March 2005 Inducted into the Squash Australia Hall of Fame

 

Heather won 16 consecutive British Opens from 1962 to 1977 when it was the unofficial world championships, and 14 straight Australian Amateur Championships from 1960 to 1973.

She lost only two matches in her entire career – in 1960 and 1962 – and was unbeaten in competitive squash matches from 1962 to 1981 when she retired from active open squash.
In 1976 Heather won the first, but unofficial, World Women’s Open and went on to win the first official World Open in 1979.
After “retiring” from the sport, Heather went on to win four World Masters titles — in 1987 (45), 1990 (45), 1993 (50) and 1995 (50).

Heather has been inducted into the Australian Hall of Fame as a “Legend”, a status she also holds in the Squash Australia Hall of Fame.

She is also a member of the World Squash Federation Hall of Fame.

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