Badminton World Mourns Judy Devlin Hashman

By: Mary Ann Bowles

Badminton lost one of its premier superstars with the passing of Judy Devlin Hashman on May 5, 2024. At the age of 88, she passed peacefully at the Sobel House Hospice, Oxford, England, surrounded by her family.

Judy was one of the most successful and greatest badminton players in early women’s badminton in the world, a badminton superstar known lovingly as the “Little Red Dev.” Born in Winnipeg, Canada in 1935, Judy was one of two daughts of parents J. Frank and Grace Devlin. She spent much of her childhood watching her father coach badminton at the Winnipeg Winter Club. At the age of 7, her family moved to Baltimore, and she began playing badminton with her father. Playing daily, by the time she was a teenager she was winning junior titles in Maryland. Judy entered the U.S. Junior Nationals in 1949, winning all three events and taking the Girl’s Doubles with her sister Susan. Continuing to play in the Junior Nationals, Judy won U19 Girl’s Singles from 1949-1954, U19 Girl’s Doubles from 1949-1953 with Susan, and U19 Mixed Doubles from 1949-1950 and 1953.

Before turning 18, Judy and Susan debuted at the 1953 U.S. Open, but did not win Women’s Doubles as expected. They went on to the 1954 All England Championships where Judy defeated Iris Cooley Rogers in the Women’s Singles final, becoming the youngest female champion in history. Judy and Susan defeated Rogers/June White to win their first All England Women’s Doubles title, and went on to win Women’s Singles and Women’s Doubles in the 1954 U.S. Open. Judy was also a member of the U.S. Women’s Lacrosse Team from 1954-1960, and a member of the Junior Wightman Tennis Cup Squad.

From 1954 to 1967, Judy dominated the Women’s Singles event at the U.S. Open, winning 12 titles in 14 years, and 8 consecutive titles from 1956-1963. She was the third most successful player ever in the All England Championships, winning 17 titles (ten Women’s Singles titles and seven Women’s Doubles titles). She was the only female player to almost beat her father’s All England record of 18 titles. In her 15-year career, Judy took 86 national and international titles including 31 U.S. titles, eight German titles, seven Canadian titles, four Dutch titles, four Swedish titles, three Irish titles, three Jamaican titles, two Scottish titles, and 19 All England and English National titles. She won two European Badminton Championships and played on five Uber Cup Teams (1957, 1960, 1963, 1966, 1969).

National Titles

  • Women’s Singles Champion (12): 1954, 1956-1963, 1965-1967
  • Women’s Doubles Champion (12): 1953-1955, 1957-1963, 1966-1967
  • Mixed Doubles Champion (7): 1956-1959, 1961-1962, 1967

International Titles:

  • All-England Singles Champion (10): 1954, 1957-1958, 1960-1964, 1966-1967
  • All-England Doubles Champion (7): 1956-1959, 1961-1962, and 1967
  • Swedish, Danish, Irish, English, and German National Singles Champion
  • Uber Cup Team: played #1 singles and #1 doubles: 1957, 1960, 1963, 1966, 1969 (record: 20 wins out of 21 matches)
  • 1960 Uber Cup Team Championship, Champion USA

Judy migrated to England in 1960 and married fellow player Dick Hashman with whom she had two sons. She retired from singles play in 1967 at the U.S. Open in Flint, Michigan, but not before taking the hat trick, winning WS, WD, and XD in her last WS outing. She completely retired from the sport in 1973. Judy was said to have an unfussy style of play, but spectacular because it was so proficient. But she did on occasion have a tremendous lack of confidence in some matches until she got into the game and began to score points.

Judy was voted into the U.S. Badminton Hall of Fame in 1963, selected for the Ken Davidson Award in 1966, and received the IBF Distinguished Service Award in 1985. She was voted into the International Women’s Sports Hall of Fame in 1995, and into the BWF Hall of Fame in 1997 along with her father (he posthumously). She and her sister Susan were inducted into the Goucher College Athletic Hall of Fame (Towson, Maryland) in 2010. She wrote three books, Badminton, A Champion’s Way in 1969, Starting Badminton in 1977, and Winning Badminton in 1981. What an amazing player and what a wonderful legacy Judy Devlin Hashman has left the badminton world!