In squash circles, Jahangir Khan is widely considered to be the greatest squash player of all time and has a formidable success record to his name. Being a six time winner of the World Open while enjoying success at the British Open a record breaking ten times, it’s easy to understand why.
Tough Starts and Career Success
It certainly was not an easy start to squash for Jahangir Khan though. Begin declared medically too weak for competitive sports as a child and having to undergo multiple hernia operations, Mr Khan hardly hit the ground running. In 1979 Jahangir also suffered the sudden death of his close brother and fellow squash professional, Torsam Khan, through a heart attack playing in a tournament match in Australia. His brothers death greatly affected Jahangir, who even considered turning his back on the game completely during his grief.
In spite of this, Jahangir Khan pursued a career in squash in honour of his late brother, and became the youngest ever World Open champion aged just 17. Jahangir later became the first player to win the same tournament without dropping a single game.
One of Jahangir Khan’s most astonishing feats was his 5 year unbeaten run at the top of the sport. After beating Australia’s Geoff Hunt in 1981 at the World Open, Jahangir went on to win 555 consecutive matches without defeat, over the course of 5 years and 8 months, an achievement not even closely matched by anyone else in the sport’s history.
Fittest Player on Tour
Much of Jahangir Khan’s success has been put down to his extraordinary fitness levels, achieved through punishing training regimes coordinated by his cousin Rehmat Khan. Jahangir would run 9-10 miles in the morning on 5 days a week, followed by weight training gym sessions and weekly match practice on court. Jahangir also took to special measure to ensure he was head and shoulders above the pack, including altitude training in Northern Pakistan’s mountain areas, and runs through challenging terrain such as mud and sand.
After returing from the sport in 1993, Jahangir Khan dedicated 6 years as president of the World Squash Federation, later succeeded by the current president Narayana Ramachandran. Jahangir oversaw unsuccessful bids for Squash to be reinstated into the Olympic Games, a campaign which is still on going to this day. Former president of Pakistan Pervez Musharraf once described Jahangir as “the best athlete who ever lived” due to his immense grit and determination for the game, together with his unrivalled dominance.
With as much success and devotion to squash as enjoyed by Jahangir Khan, it is little wonder why he is considered the finest squash player in the history of the game.
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