People consider Pakistan a solid cricket-playing nation, once an invincible hockey side, and turns up once in a blue moon in snooker. However, there is one sport where Pakistan has dominated more than any other sport it has participated in, squash. Soon after independence in 1947, the Pakistanis in squash game shone over the world scene.
HASHIM AND KHANS
The first Pakistani to win the British open was Hashim Khan. British Open is the oldest and most prestigious squash game held in London. Hashim won his first title in 1951, defeating his Egyptian opponent. From there, Hashim went on to win seven British Opens. Pakistani players dominated this prestigious squash game tournament from 1951 till 1998, where there were just seven instances that didn’t see a Pakistani player in the finals. In 1957, the British Open semi-finalists were all Khans, related to each other. Hashim faced his younger brother, Azam Khan, while the third brother Roshan Khan faced his nephew Mo Khan. Roshan’s elder son Torsam Khan also grew up to be an elegant player and was termed a player to look for, but he had a tragic death due to a heart attack while playing in Australia.
Nevertheless, the Khan family ruled the stage in the 1950s and 1960s and produced players that kept the Pakistani flag high in the squash world. In World Open, now known as World Squash Championship, the Pakistani athletes dominated for 20 years. From 1976 to 1996, there was not a single tournament where a Pakistani player wasn’t either a champion or runner up. Such was the command.
THE TWO Js
After the three Khan brothers, the Pakistani dominance faded a little. Australia’s Geoff Hunt won seven out of eight British Opens from 1974 to 1981. Pakistan needed a savior for squash, and then came Jahangir Khan. Jahangir was Roshan’s son and Torsam’s younger brother. At just 17 years of age in 1981, Jahangir Khan defeated Hunt, and then the sky was the only limit. This unbelievable guy went unbeaten for five straight years, about 555 squash games. It included four World Championship titles and 10 British Open titles. The world acknowledged Jahangir’s unmatched talent and his ability to turn the game in his favor. He was fit, strong, and always fair.
With the end of Jahangir’s prime, Jansher Khan came into the scene. Jansher was not related to Hashim Khan’s family but certainly had the skill to match them. Jansher won six British Opens and wight World Championships between 1987 and 1996. Jansher’s best feature was his quick movement and ability to judge the pace of the opponent’s game. He was not as talented as Jahangir but certainly had the skills to be the top player after his predecessor’s reign. Jansher lost the final in 1996, and his career ended. After Jansher, Pakistani squash has not been the same, and there have been no titles lately. The Pakistani squash is waiting for a flame to rise from ashes and enlighten the country’s sport once again
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