In a country where hockey is the national sport and cricket runs in the veins of many, squash earned Pakistan global laurels and honors. Starting from Hashim Khan in 1951, Pakistan ruled the squash world for large parts of 5 decades. While many players came and went, one name that is still remembered and feared by many is Jahangir Khan.
Historical Background of Jahangir Khan
Born on 10 December 1963, Jahangir Khan destroyed his opponents and thrashed records. He was the youngest world amateur champion and the youngest British Open and World Champion at the ages of 15 and 17 respectively. Moreover, he was a record 10 times British Open Champion, from 1992-1993, and a 6-time world champion. This all occurred during a time when Pakistan’s influence had waned. Jahangir reinvigorated a dying flame and reinstated Pakistan’s spot on the squash mountain.
Initially, Khan was coached by his father, Roshan Khan, who was the 1957 British Open champion. Later on, Jahangir’s brother, Torsam, took responsibility. Khan wasn’t selected for the 1979 world championship, so he played in the world amateur championship and won. It was the same year that Jahangir suffered the loss of his brother, Torsam, and he almost retired. But he decided to continue as a way to pay tribute to Torsam. His cousin Rehmat took the reins as a coach.
The Never Ending Win Streak of 555 Matches
In 1981, Jahangir won his first World Championship at the age of 17 by defeating Geoff Hunt, followed by a British Open win in 1982 against Hiddy Jahan. 1981 also saw the start of the longest winning streak in sports history, which saw Jahangir win 555 consecutive matches, a record which stands unchallenged till today. In 1984, Jahangir Khan was featured on a government of Pakistan issued stamp. His highest ranking was No.1. Khan also participated in the longest squash match in history (2 hours 46 minutes) and was the first player to win the World Open Championship without losing a single game. His 14-year domination ended with his retirement in 1993, with Pakistan yet to see another player like him.
Jahangir later served as President of the World Squash Federation from 2002 to 2008, and then became the first Emeritus President of the World Squash Federation in 2008. In 2018, Jahangir Khan became the global president of the Shahid Afridi Foundation. That same year, he was voted as the best squash player ever, which, considering his legacy, is accurate.