The King of Squash: A Short Bio

I cannot think of a person who has a more fitting surname than Jahangir Khan. The word 'khan' literally means 'king' or 'ruler' in Turkic and Mongolic language, and that was what Jahangir was, and still is, in the mens' game of squash. His long and unsurpassable list of achievements include hi winning of the World Open six time, his winning of the British Open a record 10 times, and his winning of an astounding 555 consecutive matches between 1981 and 1986, which was the longest ever winning streak by anyone in professional sports, and thus landed himself a spot on the Guiness Book of Records. Even Federer himself only managed to attain a comparatively meagre 41-match winning streak! Read on to check the story of the king out!

Early Career

Squash runs through the blood of the Khans. His father and brother were both established squash players. In fact, his father, Roshan Khan, was the 1957 British Open champion. Jahangir was coached from his early years through to late in his early development by his father, before Torsam (his brother) took over. After his brother's sudden death he was coached by his cousin Rehmat Khan, who would end up coaching Jahangir throughout most of his career. Jahangir's road to being a squash professionalism was far from easy in the slightest. As a child he was physically weak, and he suffered from hernia. Despite the doctors advising him not to take part in any kind of physical activity, after undergoing a couple of hernia operations he was able to compete in good health.

An incredible early start, and winning streak

Perhaps predestined by his name, success came rapidly for the young Khan. In 1981, at the tender age of 17 and in what was a Boris Becker -
Kevin Curren moment, Jahangir became the youngest winner of the World Open, beating Australia's Geoff Hunt (the game's dominant player of the late-1970s) in the final. That tournament was the start of an unbeaten run which lasted for five years and 555 matches. The secret sauce of his play was a legendarily high level of fitness, which Rehmat Khan helped him build up through a punishing training and conditioning regime. Jahangir was simply the fittest player in the game, and would wear his opponents down through long rallies played at a what to most would be an unsustainable pace. In 1982, the highlight of his carer was earned when Jahangir shocked the world by winning the International Squash Players Association Championship without losing a single game. This incredible unbeaten run finally came to end in the final of the World Open in 1986 in Toulouse, France, when Jahangir lost to New Zealand's Ross Norman, who interestingly had for years taken it as a main mission of his to end Khan's streak.

Forays into and success in the hardball game

Definition

Hardball squash: A North American variant of the game, played on smaller courts with a faster-moving ball.

Having established his dominance over the international squash game in the first half of the 1980s, Jahangir went on to test his ability on the North American hardball squash circuit in 1983–1986. Hardball squash is a North American variant of the game, played on smaller courts with a faster-moving ball. Despite his lack of experience in this variant of the game, Jahangir won 12 of the 13 top-level hardball tournaments he played. He also faced the leading American player on the circuit at the time, Mark Talbott, on 11 occasions (all in tournament finals), and won 10 of their encounters. Through his domination of both variants of the game, the king established his reputation as the world's greatest squash player.

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