Jahangir set the bar so high, precious few others have come close, never mind surpass his achievements
June 05 2021
Through courage, determination & personal sacrifice, Jahangir Khan overcame personal tragedy to dominate & ultimately transcend our sport.
Jahangir set the bar so high, precious few others have come close, never mind surpass his achievements.
Jahangir Khan is a man whose name is synonymous with squash. A man universally recognised as the world’s greatest ever player & an athlete who transcended his sport to be acknowledged as world’s greatest ever sportsman.
Youngest World Amateur Champion (aged 15)
Youngest British Open & World Champion (aged 17)
Unbeaten in 555 consecutive matches over 5 years & 8 months - the longest winning streak of any sportsman
Record 10-time British Open Champion (1982-1991)
Six-time World Champion
First player to win World Open Championship without dropping a game
Played the longest squash match in history (2 hours, 46 minutes)
Throughout his record-breaking career, Jahangir Khan used & was synonymous with only one brand, UNSQUASHABLE.
Jahangir Khan was born in Karachi, Pakistan on the 10th December 1963 & is considered to be the greatest player in the history of squash.
During his distinguished career, Jahangir was ranked World No.1 & won the World Open six times & the British Open a record ten times.
From 1981 to 1986, Jahangir was unbeaten & during that time won 555 consecutive matches – the longest winning streak by any athlete in top-level professional sport as recorded by Guinness World Records.
Jahangir retired from the Men’s Professional World Tour in 1993 & served as President of the World Squash Federation (WSF) from 2002 to 2008 when he became Emeritus President.
Jahangir was coached initially by his father Roshan & then by his late brother Torsam & cousin Rahmat who would go on to coach Jahangir throughout his record-breaking career.
As a child Jahangir was physically very weak & despite doctors advising him not to take part in any sort of physical activity his father encouraged him to play their family game following two hernia operations.
After missing out on selection for the Pakistan team for the 1979 World Championships in Australia, Jahangir entered the World Amateur Individual Championship & at 15 years-of-age became the youngest ever winner of the prestigious championship.
In November 1979, Jahangir’s older brother Torsam died suddenly of a heart attack during a tournament match in Australia. Torsam’s death affected Jahangir greatly & led to him considering quitting the game before pursuing a career in the sport as a tribute to his brother.
In 1981, Jahangir became the youngest winner of the World Open at the age of 17 when he beat the then World No.1 Geoff Hunt Australia in the final. That championship marked the start of an unbeaten run which lasted for five years & 555 matches.
Jahangir was distinguished for his incredible fitness & stamina which Rahmat Khan helped him develop through a punishing training & conditioning regime. Jahangir was widely regarded as the fittest player in the sport.
In 1982, Jahangir astounded everyone when he won the final of an International Squash Players Association (ISPA) Championship without losing a single point.
Jahangir’s unbeaten run finally came to end in the final of the 1986 World Open in France when he lost to Ross Norman of New Zealand. Norman had been chasing Jahangir’s unbeaten streak after being beaten time & time again & was famously quoted as saying: “One day Jahangir will be slightly off his game & I will get him”.
Speaking about his unbeaten sequence of 555 consecutive matches, Jahangir said: “It wasn’t my plan to create such a record. All I did was put in the effort to win every match I played, & it went on for weeks, months & years until my defeat to Ross Norman in Toulouse in 1986.”
“The pressure began to mount as I kept winning every time & people were anxious to see if I could be beaten. In that World Open final, Ross got me. It was exactly five years & eight months. I was unbeaten for another nine months after that defeat.”
At the end of 1986, compatriot Jansher Khan challenged Jahangir’s domination. Jahangir won their first few encounters in late 1986 & early 1987, but Jansher finally scored his first win over Jahangir in September 1987 with a straight games victory in the semi-finals of the Hong Kong Open.
Jansher then went on to beat Jahangir in their next eight consecutive encounters, including capturing the 1987 World Open title.
Jahangir managed to end Jansher’s winning streak over him in March 1988 & went on to win 11 of their next 15 meetings. The pair met in the 1988 World Open final with Jahangir emerging the victor. By that point it had become clear that squash now had two dominant players & the pair would continue to dominate the sport for the rest of the decade.
Jahangir & Jansher met a total of 37 times in professional competition with Jansher winning 19 matches & Jahangir taking 18 matches.
Jahangir did not win the World Open after 1988 but was able to maintain a stranglehold over the prestigious British Open title which he won a record ten successive times between 1982 & 1991.
Jahangir retired from the Professional Squash Association (PSA) World Tour in 1993 after helping Pakistan win the World Team Championship in Karachi. He was honoured by the Government of Pakistan with the awards of Pride of Performance & civil award of Hilal-e-Imtiaz (Crescent of Distinction) for his achievements in squash. Jahangir was also named Sportsman of the Millennium in Pakistan.
“Hashim Khan, Jahangir Khan & Jansher Khan are the best squash players the world has ever known with Jahangir the best of the three. If Hollywood only knew his story of tragedy, grit & determination it would make another movie like Chariots of Fire. Many of those who know him consider him the best athlete who ever lived,” said former President of Pakistan Pervez Musharraf.
In 1990, Jahangir was elected Chairman of the PSA & in 1997 Vice-President of the Pakistan Squash Federation. Jahangir was elected as Vice-President of the World Squash Federation (WSF) in November 1998 & in October 2002 was elected WSF President. In 2004, Jahangir was again unanimously re-elected as President of the WSF at the International Federation’s 33rd Annual General Meeting in Casa Noyale, Mauritius.
Jahangir Khan has been presented with an honorary Doctorate of Philosophy by London Metropolitan University for his contributions to the sport.
As a result of his complete dominance in squash he was nicknamed “The Conqueror” (a loose translation of his first name).