Squash: Jahangir, the low-profile sports legend - Willstrop

James Willstrop.
James Willstrop.
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The PSA world men’s squash tour winds up in Kuwait this week and the man overseeing proceedings here is Jahangir Khan, the highest achieving squash player in history. His record makes him one of the world’s greatest ever athletes.

These sorts of issues are always a matter of hotly-debated conjecture, but Jahangir’s achievements lend him a strong case. He was World Champion six times and British Open Champion a record 10 times. Most amazing of all – and I’m not sure there is a sporting record that beats this – is that he went five-and-a-half years unbeaten, cramming in 555 matches in that spell.

Grafting as we players do on the present professional tour, to win five matches on the bounce is something to shout about. But 555?

Jahangir remains involved in the squash scene; he retired in 1993 but we have become accustomed to his presence.

Jahangir stands in an elite group of athletes: Ali, Federer, Redgrave, Gebrselassie to name just a few, if not in profile then in achievement.

It is perhaps only this profile which inhibits him from being widely recognised as the leader of such a group. This is a man who if celebrity was bestowed upon those truly deserving of it, would be idolised the world over.

Any Internet search on squash will mention his name. When I jump in a London cab and tell the driver I’m a squash player, they have heard of Jahangir.

Squash has been lucky to have such a legend.

Lee Beachill. Picture: SquashPics.com

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