Elsewhere, I wrote about the contributions of the legendary Frank Devlin. In my article on the Irish legend, I chronicled his career as a successful badminton player and author. But besides his legacy and books on the game, Frank Devlin’s other contributions were from his children, who inherited his prowess on the court. One of them is Susan Devlin. But the one I’ll be talking about today was one of the greatest players in early women’s badminton — Judy Devlin-Hashman!
Judy Devlin-Hashman is one of the most successful female players in the early years of badminton. She’s a two-time English National Champion and a four-time Uber Cup champion as part of the United States National Badminton Team. Aside from these accomplishments, Judy Hashman also won the All England a near record-breaking 17 times. With her All England medal haul in individual and team events, Judy Hashman will forever go down in history as the only female player to almost beat her father’s All-England record of 18 titles. Judy Hashman also won numerous international titles, including the Swedish, Jamaican, and Canada Open. She was mainly a force to be reckoned with in the U.S. Open. In 1960, she migrated to England and married Dick Hashman, taking the Hashman family name. Judy Hashman won her last match at the 1973 English National Championships and joined the International Badminton Hall of Fame more than two decades later.
They say that greatness isn’t a genetic trait. But if I can think of one example that refutes this statement, Judy Hashman will come to mind. Join me as we revisit one of the greats of early women’s badminton careers and accomplishments!
Judy Devlin was born on October 22, 1935, in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. Her birth came five years after Frank Devlin traveled to Canada as part of the English National Badminton Team. While in Canada, Judy Devlin spent much of her childhood watcher her father coach badminton at the Winnipeg Winter Club. It wasn’t long before Frank Devlin would take the young Judy Devlin under his wing.
When Judy Devlin turned seven, she and her family moved to Baltimore, Maryland. It was here where Judy Devlin began playing badminton with her father, who had already planted the seed of thought of badminton.
Judy Devlin played badminton daily with her father, absorbing every tactic and jewel of wisdom her father shared. By the time she was a teenager, Judy Devlin had already won many junior badminton tournaments in Maryland.
Just before turning 18, Judy Devlin and her sister Susan Devlin decided to test their skills against the best in the country. The Devlin sisters debuted at the 1953 U.S. Open, pitting themselves against the best female teams to grace a badminton court.
Unfortunately, Judy and Susan Devlin came short of a title victory. Nevertheless, the loss did little to deter the Devlin sisters as they aimed at loftier goals the following year. In 1954, Judy and Susan Devlin tested their mettle at the world’s oldest and most prestigious badminton tournament — the All England Open Badminton Championships.
Judy Hashman’s senior career began in 1954. Early in her career, she won titles as an individual and doubles badminton player.
1954: The All England and the U.S. Open
At the 1954 All England, Judy Devlin competed in the women’s singles and doubles events. She usually paired with her sister Susan for the women’s doubles event.
Judy Devlin advanced to the finals to face England’s Iris Cooley Rogers in the women’s singles event. Iris Cooley Rogers was the hometown favorite. But Judy Devlin’s desire for her first title was palpable throughout the match.
In her All England women’s singles debut, the young Judy Devlin showed her English opponent no corner, taking the match in straight sets. The victory earned Judy Devlin her first All England title and made her the youngest female All England singles champion in history!
Judy Devlin’s All England medal haul didn’t stop there. She and her sister advanced to the finals of the women’s doubles event in their first outing at the tournament. Awaiting them in the finals were England’s Iris Cooley Rogers and June White. The match was tight as both teams snatched one game each. In the third game, Judy and Susan Devlin won 15 to 8, bagging their first All England women’s doubles title.
That same year, the Devlin sisters also dominated the women’s doubles event at the U.S. Open. Hungry for redemption, Judy and Susan Devlin bagged the women’s doubles title. Judy Devlin also competed in the women’s singles event, which she won dominantly.
1955: A Bump on the Road to Dominance
In 1955, the Devlin sisters defended their women’s doubles title at the U.S. Open. However, the results were different for that year’s All England. In the finals, they lost to their past opponents, Iris Cooley Rogers and June White, meaning they had to settle for silver.
Judy Devlin also failed to defeat American Margaret Verner Bloss in the women’s singles event finals. Devlin’s American opponent won the third game 11 to one in a match that went the distance. Judy Devlin barely got to serve throughout the game.
With 1955 being a less-than-stellar year for Judy Devlin, Judy and her sister returned in 1956 more determined for redemption. At the 1956 All England, Judy and Susan Devlin faced England’s Iris Cooley Rogers and June White for the third time. The two pairs fought tooth and nail in a match that went to a third game.
Eventually, Judy and her sister won in the third game, narrowly beating Rogers and White 15 to 12. The Devlin sisters had finally avenged their 1955 loss to Rogers and White and won their second All-England women’s doubles title!
Dominating the All-England
By 1957, Judy Devlin caught the attention of fellow shuttlers and spectators at the All England. Her multi-medal hauls earned her a reputation early as a force to be reckoned with in more than one division.
In 1957, Judy Devlin bagged her second All-England singles title when she defeated the Texan powerhouse Margaret Varner Bloss. A year later, Judy Devlin defended her singles title against the skilled and versatile Texan after winning straight games.
From 1960 to 1963, Judy Devlin remained undefeated as a doubles competitor at the All England. She bagged title after title in the women’s doubles event with different partners!
During these years, Judy Devlin (now Judy Hashman) also dominated the women’s singles events. She chalked up a four-year undefeated streak against Margaret Varner Bloss, Heather Ward, Ursula Smith, and Angela Bairstow.
Judy Hashman’s most dominating performance at the women’s singles event was at the 1964 All England. She faced Ursula Smith for the third time at the prestigious tournament. Hashman bested her English opponent in straight sets, winning the second game by a decisive nine points!
In 1966, Judy Hashman bagged a double-title finish at the All England, winning in both the women’s singles and doubles events. For the doubles event, she paired with her sister, Susan, who was now married to the legendary Frank Peard.
Judy Hashman bagged her last singles title in 1967. She faced Japan’s Noriko Takagi and defeated her in a nail-biting three-game match.
All in all, Judy Hashman was close to besting her father’s record of 18 All England victories. With 17 All England titles, Judy Hashman became one of the most successful and dominant female competitors at the oldest and most prestigious tournament in badminton.
Besides the All England, the U.S. Open and Canada Open were also two of Judy Hashman’s favorite hunting grounds.
Following her triumphant return at the 1956 U.S. Open, Judy Hashman competed at the 1957 U.S. Open. There, she bagged a title hat trick. Besides snatching the women’s singles title, she also won the women’s doubles with her sister and the mixed doubles with Finn Kobbero.
That same year, Judy Hashman also claimed the women’s singles and doubles titles at the 1957 Canada Open. Judy Hashman’s 1957 title haul didn’t stop there, as she claimed all three titles at the Jamaican Open.
Judy Hashman set her sights on another title haul the following year at the 1958 U.S. Open. With her sister and Finn Koberro, Judy Hashman bagged a triple-crown victory at the open and defended all three titles successfully a year later!
Besides successfully defending all her U.S. Open titles in 1959, Judy Hashman also chalked up dominant title defenses at the 1959 Canada Open and 1960 U.S. Open.
Judy Hashman continued to dominate the U.S. Open for seven more years after the 1960 U.S. Open. Judy Hashman won all three events at the 1961 U.S. Open, defending all three titles in the 1962 edition of the tournament.
At the 1963 U.S. Open, Judy Hashman defended her women’s singles and doubles titles. After taking a break from the U.S. Open in 1964, she returned to reclaim her women’s singles title at the 1965 U.S. Open.
A year later, Judy Hashman defended her women’s singles title at the 1966 U.S. Open and won the women’s doubles title with her sister again. Her 1966 campaign didn’t stop there, as she won the women’s singles and doubles event at the 1966 Canada Open.
Judy Hashman’s final tournament on home soil was at the 1967 U.S. Open. She competed in all three events, partnering with Rosine Jones for the women’s doubles event and Jim Sydie for the mixed doubles event. In her final outing at the 1967 U.S. Open, Judy Hashman claimed all three titles.
Judy Hashman’s victories at the U.S and Canada Open made her one of the most dominant badminton players in North America.
Judy Hashman was a mainstay at the German Open from 1960 to 1966. In every edition of the German Open, Judy Hashman was a recurrent figure on the podium.
Her dominance in the German Open began in 1960 when she competed in all three events. After winning all of her events, Judy Hashman defended her titles successfully in 1961.
Judy Hashman remained undefeated in the German Open from 1960 to 1964. In 1966, she and her sister Susan Peard won the women’s doubles title at the German Open.
Besides the German Open, the Swedish and Dutch Opens were no strangers to Judy Hashman’s dominant prowess. Judy Hashman won back-to-back titles in the singles and women’s doubles events at the 1964 and 1966 Swedish Open.
Judy Hashman also dominated the women’s singles and doubles events of the Dutch Open. Her reign in the women’s singles and doubles divisions began in 1964 when she won the women’s singles event and the doubles event with Susan Peard.
She celebrated her victories with an impressive finish at the 1971 Dutch Open. Here, she won the women’s doubles event with Gillian Gilks. The pair defended their women’s doubles titles the following year.
In 1972, Hashman and Gilks competed at the European Championships. The pair advanced to the finals to face England’s Margaret Beck and Julie Rickard. Hashman and Gilks defeated their compatriots in straight sets, winning their first and only European Championship title.
Hall of Fame Inductions
For her accomplishments, Judy Hashman joined some of the most distinguished athletes by receiving the International Badminton Federation Distinguished Service Award. Judy Hashman received the award more than a decade after her retirement in 1973.
In 1995, Judy Hashman was inducted into the International Women’s Sports Hall of Fame. Two years later, Judy Hashman joined her father, Frank Devlin, as a member of the Badminton Hall of Fame.
Judy Hashman: One of the Badminton’s Early Legends
Judy Hashman was a pioneer. She epitomized peak badminton performance through her dominant performances on the court. Her titles and accolades cement her place in the sport’s history books, inspiring many female players of future generations.
Indeed, Judy Hashman achieved feats many a badminton player aspires to. For this reason, her place among the greats like Frank Devlin is well-deserved..
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