Khan: 555 Matches Undefeated

In life we come across amazing feats of sporting success in many shapes and forms. Today I will introduce you to a remarkable athlete who is an icon in his
06 Sep 2015 07:51
Khan: 555 Matches Undefeated
Jahangir Khanevent.

In life we come across amazing feats of sporting success in many shapes and forms.

Today I will introduce you to a remarkable athlete who is an icon in his field of sport and that sport is squash.

Jahangir Khan was born in December 1963, in Karachi Pakistan. He was a sickly child and physically very weak. Though the doctors had advised his parents for him not to take part in any sort of sport after undergoing a couple of hernia operations his father let him play and try out the game of squash.

Through hard work, dedication and also a tremendous amount of commitment Khan pursued the game of squash and day by day, month by month and year by year he got better and better.

In 1979, the Pakistan selectors decided not to select him to play in the world championships in Australia, judging him too weak from a recent illness he had caught.

Undeterred Khan decided instead to enter the World Amateur Individual Championship and, at the age of 15, became the youngest-ever winner of that event.

A few months later In November 1979, Khan’s older brother Torsam, who had been one of the leading international squash players in the 1970s, died suddenly of a heart attack at the premature age of only 27 during a tournament match in Australia. Torsam’s death profoundly affected Khan. He considered quitting the game, but decided to pursue a career in the sport and work even harder as a tribute to his late brother.

After the brutal shock of his brother and mentor suddenly passing away a steely determination grew in this man child.

In 1981, when he was just 17, Khan became the youngest winner of the World Open, beating Australia’s Geoff Hunt in the final.

After this win Pakistan’s Jahangir Khan had an incredible run in squash winning 555 matches in a row. This amazing feat made it to the Guinness Book of World Records as the longest winning streak ever in the history of any professional sport.

He pocketed the World Open six times and the British Open a record 10 times.

He won his first World Open trophy when he was just 17 years old. Khan also became the first player to win a World Championship without dropping a game. The other record in the Pakistani legend’s name is featuring in the longest ever match in the history of squash – Two hours and 46 minutes. His unbeaten run of 555 matches lasted for five years. Ross Norman of New Zealand beat Khan in the final of the World Open in 1986 to end a remarkable winning streak.

Khan spoke about his superb consistency.

“It wasn’t my plan to create such a record. All I did was put in the effort to win every match I played and it went on for weeks, months and years until my defeat to Ross Norman in Toulouse in 1986.”

“The pressure began to mount as I kept winning every time and people were anxious to see if I could be beaten. In that World Open final, Ross got me. It was exactly five years and eight months. I was unbeaten for another nine months after that defeat.”

In 1982, Jahangir astonished everyone by winning the International Squash Players Association Championship without losing a single point.

For his contribution to the sport and because of his immense and absolute dominance in squash he was nicknamed “The Conqueror”

This proves that even if you are a physically weak and sickly child with many setbacks in life, with determination you can succeed in any field in life.


 The writer is a Fiji Sun columnist.

Feedback:  ajay@carvingdream.com


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