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“In spite of everything I shall rise again: I will take up my pencil, which I have forsaken in my great discouragement, and I will go on with my drawing”
The sports of Hockey and Cricket are by far the most popular ones in Pakistan, but they are not the ones in which we have been the most successful. Squash is the only one in which Pakistan has achieved more than any other country in the world. But as it is said that there is a fall to every rise, it was evident that this legacy will also suffer at the hands of fate.
History and Records of Pakistan Squash
Pakistan was a dominant force in World Squash since its independence. Hashim Khan was the first-ever hero for Pakistan in the Squash court on the international stage. He was a coach for the sport in British Army and after partition, he began coaching in Pakistan Air Force. The officers were so much impressed by him that they sent him to England out of their own pockets to compete. It was at that time in England that he laid the foundation of the Pakistan Squash Legacy. Even in his forties, he played so well that he defeated the 4 times winner, Mahmoud Karim of Egypt, comprehensively. Hashim Khan went on to win 6 British Open titles over 8 years.
But this was only the start, after him we saw many greats. These included Azam Khan, Roshan Khan, Mo Khan, Qamar Zaman, Jahangir Khan, and the legend of all; Jansher Khan.
The man who controlled the Squash of the entire world was none other than Jansher Khan himself, the greatest squash player to ever grace the court. He made the record by winning 8 World cups and 6 British Open titles on the trot. This is the longest winning streak ever and longest unbeaten game by any type of athlete in any format in the entire world.
Another gem of Pakistan Squash, Jahangir Khan. He won the World Open six times and British Open consecutively 10 times. He also became the president of the World Squash Federation. He is also regarded as one of the greatest players of squash and was the youngest player to win World Open, which proved it.
Review: Thank You, Pakistan Cricket Team
When Jansher Khan’s prime ended in 1998, Pakistan Squash also died. We saw a rapid decline in the Squash talent all around the country, and the existing one was not able enough to compete on international stages. There was no successor at all after the Great Khans, and the last two decades have been barren and dry for the sport. No international event has been held since.
As we went further, the terrorist activities increased, and the attack on the Sri Lankan Cricket team worsened things. International events were stopped, no one wanted to play here. It was worse for the Squash as many young players lost interest and decided to quit. It was a big hurdle in producing new talent and polishing raw players. The courts were deserted and the iron grip weakened and gradually slipped away for good.
Jahangir Khan was furious at international teams at their decisions not to play in Pakistan and said:
“The squash matches are held indoors and I feel that in an indoor event, there won’t be a security problem for the foreign teams.”
His views on young players were: “The players who started playing at the same time as some of our players are placed in the top-five. Their standards and potential were the same as our players but they landed greater rewards with a disciplined performance. You can achieve big targets but you must also have big objectives in your mind. Our players lack these objectives.”
Finally, after the decades-long wait, Pakistan is again hosting international players. There have been many new talented players who show a glimpse of a great future. These include M.Ammad, who is being regarded as the next Jahangir Khan. He has recently defeated his Indian opponent in less than 17 minutes in Qatar Junior Squash Championship.
Australia has also started a new initiative as “THE SQUASH CLASSROOM”, which has been started to promote Squash in the country. Pakistan hosted the 21st Asian Individual Squash Championship in Islamabad. These are great signs of rejuvenating squash.
If the Pakistan Squash Federation develops new infrastructure, focuses on coaching methods, and developments of Players, we surely are going to see a lot of improvement in the future.