31 Dec 2016
Arise, Sir Jonah Barrington?
The knighthoods awarded so deservedly to Mo Farah and Andy Murray in the New Year Honours List just announced, will be applauded by the public not just for the recipients' sporting accomplishments in athletics and tennis respectively, but also for their fine personal qualities.
But in the sport of squash rackets, no other British player has ever come close to Jonah Barrington's achievement of six wins in the men's British Open Squash Championships (the Wimbledon of squash) from its inception in 1929 to this very day.
Barrington was born in England, but to please his father he played under the flag of Ireland when winning the British Open title in 1967, 1968, 1970, 1971, 1972 and 1973. Of course that period coincided with the resurgence of the Troubles, which probably cast a shadow over Barrington's achievements in British eyes.
Surely it would be possible to set aside such peripheral issues and, one day soon, give full official recognition of Barrington's sporting triumphs, by conferring on him too a knighthood for his services to British sport? And though he was always adept at ruffling bureaucratic feathers in the Squash Rackets Association, I can join with many others who have known him closely over the years, to vouch for his very fine personal qualities too!
(Dr R E Waddell)
Unfortunately, The Times decided not to publish my letter. I shall hopefully persevere each year henceforth on Jonah's behalf!