JAHANGIR KHAN- King of Squash

Whenever we turn the pages of history of sport we find a lot of name in different sports like Muhammad Ali in boxing, Tiger Wood in golf, Michael Jordan in base ball, Garry Kasparov a chess grand master but when we move toward the field of  squash there is a name of legendary star who belongs to Pakistan and he is none other than Jahangir Khan. His name needs no introduction as he is a star by birth for squash. His name depicts his personality and describes him completely as meaning of his name is “conqueror of the world” in Urdu. This might be the most suitable name for him. He gave actual meaning to his name in the field of squash. He gave a wonderful history to squash and honor to Pakistan and the finest sportsman to the world.

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He was born on December,10 1963 in Karachi. His family was a squash family. He hails from the land of real squash players that is Nawa Kalay Peshawar. Eight splendid top class squash players are given to the world by this area and these sportsmen  won 37 international tournaments. Jahangir was one of them. His father Roshan Khan,  his brother Torsam Khan and his cousin Rehmat Khan were also wonderful squash players. He was a professional player of squash.  He believes in hard work and he himself says:

“Without hard work and discipline it is difficult to be a top professional”

He was trained by his father initially then by his brother Torsam Khan. After death of his brother he was coached by Rahmat Khan who not only trained him but also guided him throughout his career.

He won  World Open six times during his career. He was an unbeatable star of squash and he won consecutively 10 times British Open Championship. He is the name of success and symbol of good fortune for Pakistan. He set the longest striking rate and for this great achievement his name is mentioned in Guinness World Records. He often gave 100 or more shots at a time without any break .

Jahangir khan was a physically weak child even doctors advised him not to take part in any sort of games and physical activities. Jahangir says in his book “Winning Squash”, “I was told I would never become world champion. I was the youngest, smallest, feeblest and sickest of the family. Neither the doctor nor my father believed there was any chance for me to become a good squash player”. But as it is often said,  “A person often meets his destiny on the road he took to avoid it”. After the successful operation of Hernia, his father gave him the permission to play squash and to prove himself. His father trained him well. Besides this, he started to play squash from squash club at the age of 10.

It is not just a matter of luck but also a story of long journey filled with hard work, determination, ambition and commitments to his job.

Every sportsman has something which make him distinct among others. Jahangir Khan had marvelous stamina, everlasting fitness and his proactive attitude. These qualities were his uniqueness among other players.

He won match against Britain’s Phil Kenyon at the age of 15. All were shocked to see how Jahangir won match which Kenyon was about to win. He turned the table by his brilliant strategy and skills. This was  the peak of his glorious success.

His brother named Torsam Khan was also a squash player. Torsam Khan and Jahangir Khan were very close to each other.

Torsam was died of heart attack during a squash match against Australia. At that time Jahangir Khan was just of 15 years. The death of Torsam Khan changed Jahangir Khan and he decided to never play squash. But his cousin named Rehmat Khan encouraged him to play squash  and to contribute his services to Pakistan Squash. Rehmat Khan worked hard with Jahangir Khan to motivate him and to make him a Legend. That was a tragic moment in his life but after this sad turning point he became the World Squash Champion in honor of his beloved brother memory. After two years of his brother death he won  Australian squash legend Geoff Hunt and became a stardom of squash world at the age of 17 , the youngest-ever winner of the World Open Championship.

He became a professional player at the age of 16. He not only earned good name but also raise the level of squash. According to him, his most remember able match was against  Geoff Hunt who was champion of this game at that time and Jahangir made him fearful about the survival of his crown. Jahangir won that match and marked another milestone path of his success.

He was also very successful player of hardball game. Hardball squash is a North American variant of the game, played on smaller courts with a faster-moving ball. He played 13 matches of hardball during his career life and the most amazing fact is that he won 12 of them. He was a dominant player of both soft ball and hard ball. It is not wrong to say that he commented his reputation as a top class player of squash.

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 Success in Hardball

The era of 1980’s to 1990’s was a golden era for Pakistan. Jahangir Khan gave a lots of victorious  stories to squash and gave a good prestige to Pakistan. He won 555 games continuously in the time span of 5 years and 8 months. No sportsman/sportswomen had ever remain unbeaten in 555 matches successively. This game is in his genes . In very early stage of his when he was just of 15 years he already won  World Amateur title. From 1981 to 1986 he won all the matches of squash without any defeat. He become a unbeatable player. From 1982 to 1991 he won 10 British Open title. Then he became a name of victory. Yes it is right to say that Jahangir Khan is a King of squash.

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    British Open Championship 1986

No other player was dominated as number one in international and North American hardball squash at the same time as he was. Journey of his achievements is so long and remarkable that we can’t stop reading it. His achievements are very much inspiring for new players. He himself says, “Squash was my livelihood and as in my business, I had to stay on top”.

Whenever we talk about the squash no one can avoid the name of legend Jahangir Khan. His journey f victory is so splendid that people were willing to see his defeat. Jahangir said in one of his interviews that the pressure begins to mount as I kept winning every time and people were anxious to see if I would be beaten.

Here I would like to share with all of that we should remember that squash is a very difficult game to play . physically it requires a great stamina, leg power as well as ability to play this wonderful game. A players has to remain fit all the time to remain a good player and for this purpose Jahangir Khan did a lot of hard work as it is not easy to remain in shape. He rise at 5 a.m., run for 10 miles, sprint over 400 yards several times, work on the court with and then without the racket and then go for weight training and height climbing”

He even played longest match in the history of squash that is of 2 hours and 46 minutes in 1983. It was seemed that victory has designed for him. In all other games of world sport lovers argue between two players that who is the best one. But in squash there was not any choice for squash lovers to argue between. Squash was simply meant to be Jahangir Khan.

Jahangir says,

“Members of my family had already achieved a great deal in squash and I wanted to continue that legacy.”

And he proved his words. He gave a new life with a remarkable glorious history to squash.

As it is said by our elders that everything that rise had to fall once. Jahangir concluded this thing in these words : you can go on winning all the time. There was a time when wining of a match was not a surprising news for squash lover but then a time came when Jahangir was beaten by one of his fellow player named Jan Sheer Khan in 1986.

He left squash in1992 and was ranked at the position of 33 in world of squash. In 1993 he took part in World championship directly. Here he proved that why he is called as legend of squash he played very well and give a brilliant performance in the match. He was qualified for the final match and was runner up there he was defeated by Jan sheer Khan but still he gave a tough competition to him.

Both Jan Sheer Khan and Jahangir Khan are the Best players of Pakistan. An interesting thing to know about our legend squash players is that Jahangir Khan and Jan Sheer Khan played 37 matches with each other. Among these, Jan Sheer Khan won 19 matches and Jahangir Khan won 18 matches.

 Jahangir Khan vs Jan Sheer Khan

He gave his retirement in 1993. As he served for 15 years for squash now his body could not tolerate more stress of playing this game but still he is serving for squash as a vice president of world squash federation as he cannot stay away from sport it is in his blood.

He was elected for Chairman of the professional Squash Association. He is also elected for the President of Pakistan squash Federation in 1997. In November 1998 he was elected for  World Squash Federation. He is  first ever Pakistani to be called “the Voice President of world squash Federation”.

He attained an Honorary Doctor of Philosophy Degree from the London Metropolitan University in 2007 for his services to sport and society.

He is a real hero and we are proud of him. His dedication and services to Pakistan are unforgettable.

Former President of Pakistan Pervaiz Musharaf said:

“Hashim Khan, Jahangir Khan, and Jan Sheer Khan are the best squash players the world has ever known, with Jahangir the best of the three. If Hollywood only knew his story of tragedy, grit and determination it would make another movie like Chariots of Fire. Many of those who know him consider him the best athlete who ever lived.”

He was awarded with a number of awards for his achievements . he was honored with title of “The Sports Person of the Millennium” for Pakistan in 2000 by throwing a party in which people come from all categories of life.

Pride of performance is also awarded to him on his achievements by the government of Pakistan. He is also honored with Halal-e-imtaiz.

He was also named as biggest Asian’s Heroes in the last 60 years by Time magazine in 2005 and it was said in the article that  “If winning is everything, then Khan is the greatest. Period”

He was also awarded Hall of fame by Squash Federation in 1993. In 1984, he was also honored by putting his images on posting stamps of Pakistan. French Government honored him with sport and youth award in 1990.

Jahangir khan is an inspiration for all those people who do not work hard to achieve

their goal and blame that success is just about luck. Jahangir gave a very beautiful message to those people, “I believe my story can offer hope to millions of people all over the world who are poor, bereaved or sick.  At different times, I have been all three”.

At the time of his birth, no one knows that he will become such a super star for squash. He is not only a good professional player of squash but also redefines it.

He believes that today although we are not so prominent in squash but we still have  that talent. All we need is just the training facilities. For him squash was not just a game but a hobby, passion, , tribute to his brother, challenge against his weak health, and an ambition. He is still nicknamed as Conqueror in squash world. He is a symbol of athletic perfection. His consistency of winning is unmatched. That was just a little bit of his story still there is a lot know about him. Each chapter of his achievement has a story with a motivational ending. It is not wrong to say that he is a blessing and honor for Pakistan. We feel proud to say Yes Jahangir Khan- The King of Squash is a Pakistani sportsman.

Written By:

ZEENA  ANWAR

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