Judy Hashman nee Devlin – One of the Great Champions

Written by Geoff Hinder

Judy Hashman nee Devlin.

Click on images to enlarge.

Judy Hashman.

Photo:- K.Hall.

1958 Margaret Varner (USA) and Judy Devlin (USA).
Judy Hashman was born in Canada, the daughter of the Irishman Frank Devlin one of badminton’s first legends. Frank won an incredible 18 All-England titles in just nine years, between 1922 and 1931- a genuinely mind-boggling feat that may never be surpassed. He probably never imagined how close his daughter would get to beating the number of titles he won.
Judy’s All-England career began in 1954, at the age of just 18 years and 4 months. In this, her first appearance at the All-England, the young Devlin won the women’s singles, making her the youngest All-England champion ever. Partnered with her sister Sue aged 20 (later Peard), she won the woman’s doubles as well, this was the first of their six doubles titles. In the space of just three weeks, Judy won two US Open, two All-England and three US junior national titles – as well as becoming a US lacrosse international.
 
 
In 1955 and 1956, she lost in the Women’s Singles final of the All-England to the Texan Margaret Varner. However, she would gain revenge for these defeats, securing consecutive trophies and vanquishing Varner in both finals in ’57 and ’58.
1959 saw Varner too busy playing tennis and squash for the USA to compete at the All-England, but Judy failed to take advantage – she lost to the 19-year-old English girl, Heather Ward (later Nielson).
1960 Judy and Sue Devlin
1966 All-England Woman’s Singles final. Judy Hashman (USA) (far end) v Imre Rietveld (Netherlands) at the Wembley Arena, London.

 Photo:- Graham Habbin.

Judy Hashman embarked on an incredible spell of dominance. From 1960 to 1964, she would win five consecutive women’s singles competitions; she moved head and shoulders above the competition. In 1965, this incredible run was broken; this was due mainly to the fact that she had a baby in January. By the time March came around, she still achieved a highly credible Fourth Round finish- once again demonstrating her exceptional abilities.

 

 

Judy was back in the swings of things in 1966 and carried her number one seeding through to win the final against Miss Imre Rietveld from the Netherlands.
1967-Judy Hashman – The Final Championship.
To finish the greatest career in women’s badminton, Judy resisted the immense Japanese challenge in 1967, which was led by Miss Noriko Takagi.
Earlier, Miss Takagi had beaten Judy in the Uber Cup in New Zealand and pressure had mounted for the great star to bail out from the All-England while still at the top. But Hashman chose to defend her title, and in due course, Judy faced Takagi in the final. Judy managed to get back from a one-game-to-love deficit and levelled to one game all, but the young Japanese girl’s shots were deceptive and Judy was on the verge of exhaustion. When the Japanese girl led by 5-1 in the third, it looked like Judy’s advisers were going to be proved right, but with her intense concentration and will to win, she fought back to save a match point, eventually snatching a 12-10 win and claimed the title for the 10th time.
Never before nor after did she play so well for so long, it is a tribute to her that she would climax a career with such a class performance. After the final, Judy pulled the curtain down on her glittering singles career- retiring at the top, as she had wanted.
Judy won a total of 17 All-England titles, which included 10 women’s singles titles, which is a record that has never been broken, and 7 women’s doubles titles, 6 of those with her sister Sue.
Judy appeared in every All-England women’s singles final between 1954 and 1967, apart from her break in 1965 following childbirth. This is truly incredible and surely places her near the top of the pantheon of great champions this sport has created.
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Judy was a member of the USA winning Uber Cup teams in 1957, 1960 and 1963.
In the middle of her playing heydays, Judy Devlin married Dick Hashman. Judy and Dick had once reached a semi-final in the mixed doubles at the All-England. In 1960, she moved to England and became a British citizen 10 years later. After gaining her new citizenship, Judy helped her adoptive country collect medals at the 1972 European Championships, with one title in the team event and another one in the women’s doubles with Gillian Gilks.
With Gillian Gilks she won the English National Championships Woman’s Doubles titles in 1972 and 1973.
Judy represented England at international level 8 times.
In 1978, Judy Hashman had a very brief but successful stint as head coach of the English team. She led the team to a gold medal at the European Mixed Team Badminton Championships.
With her exceptional career, it was no surprise that international honours were awarded to Judy. In 1985, she became the first woman to be awarded the International Badminton Federation Distinguished Service Award.
In 1995, Judy received one of the most coveted rewards for a female athlete when she was inducted into the International Women’s Sports Hall of Fame. Judy joined international athletes such as Martina Navratilova and Sonja Henie. Two years later, Judy and her father, Frank, were voted into the International Badminton Federation Hall of Fame.
Although she did not quite topple her father’s record, it is amazing that the same family produced such a dynasty—a true legend of the All-England.
1967 All-England Woman’s Singles final. Noriko Takagi (Japan) (far end) v Judy Hashman (USA). at the Wembley Arena, London.

Photo:- Graham Habbin.

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For more information on the history of the All-England Badminton Championships – Click Here.
2025 Yonex All-England Badminton Championships
Tuesday 11 March 2025 to Sunday 16 March 2025.
At the Utilita Arena, Birmingham.

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Accessibility
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