Jahangir Khan - World squash king at 17
Written by Pakistanica/Pakistani Books   

Like father like son. Nay the progeny was ahead of the pater. I am talking of Roshan Khan and Jahangir Khan - the giant killers of yore.

 

 Jahangir Khan was the world squash king at the age of 17 - worthy son of his father, Roshan Khan, who won the Dunlop Open and the British Open at his first attempt 50 years ago dislodging the Egyptian Mahmoud Karim and the legendary Hashim Khan in England. This unknown but athletic and aggressive player produced a great stir by vanquishing these giants.

Before the age of 10, son Jahangir may not have grasped the significance of his father's phenomenal feats. But he saw Roshan producing strokes for the benefit of youngsters at Karachi's heeL Club. The little boy asked his hither to teach him also the basics of squash.

 

 

With the seriousness of his father, Jahangir soon became an ambling serenity on the court, partly because that was his nature, partly because that was the way of the family - an elder uncle, Nasrullah, was a stylist in squash and had touched up Roshan's game.

Jahangir started picking up the points very fast.

When he was hardly fourteen he knew the text of squash-rackets by heart. It was at this early age that Jahangir won his first tournament at Peshawar - the Pakistan Junior Championships, beating Jamshed GuI with effortless ease. Elder brother Torsam Khan and cousin Rahmat further improved his game to produce the maximum spring, sound strokes, a sure touch and the sense to know when to attack.

Jahangir's enviable talent fully flowered against Geoff Hunt of Australia in the World Open in 1981.

Jahangir was then only 17 and Hunt, twice his age, was attempting his fifth world title. Hunt started the match strongly with his hard cross court drives and volleys to get the first game at 7-9. Jahangir's sounder ball control and swifter fleetness of feet swung the match his way. As the game progressed the youngster showed greater depth and variety of shots. Hunt gave up the match in the fourth game.

Jahangir was the youngest world champion. {jb_quote}The defeat forced Hunt to say goodbye to competitive squash.

After his 1981 triumph, Jahangir began to work harder mentally and physically and move faster on the court. His strokes attained such uncanny accuracy that Jahangir almost lost the normal human capacity to err. No squash title eluded him; he dictated the tempo and mood of every match. The British Open, the World Open, the German Open, the New Zealand Open, the Australian Open all were his.

Jahangir did not know the delicacies of American hardball squash, which required a different style and tactics. However, early in 1983 he visited the United States and won the Boston Open, where he summarily, dismissed the American No. I, Mark Talbert.

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Jahangir also went to Canada to the Mennen Cup in Toronto. In the Canadian Invitation he subdued Sharif Khan, son of Hashim. Sharif had been champion in the American style for] I years. (It is being wrongly reported that Hashim and Roshan are close relatives; actually they are tribal rivals).

Jahangir has no secrets for his success. He said,{jb_quote} "My principle had always been hard work, real hard work, six-day-a-week practice on the squash court."

The world champion said, "I took light food but daily did sprinting, skipping, swimming."
Jahangir showed his array of shots to his opponents and wore them down in long rallies, "Hard rallies were my main tactical weapon in a game," the world champion said.

If at all he lagged behind, his retrieving was to be seen to be believed.

His father's strokes had more ferocity and punch but Roshan concedes, "Jahangir's shots were more disciplined, varied and delectable."

By Lateef Jafri



World Open final appearances Wins (6)
Year     Opponent in final     Score in final
1981     Geoff Hunt     7–9, 9–1, 9–2, 9–2
1982     Dean Williams     9–2, 6–9, 9–1, 9–1
1983     Chris Dittmar     9–3, 9–6, 9–0
1984     Qamar Zaman     9–0, 9–3, 9–4
1985     Ross Norman     9–4, 4–9, 9–5, 9–1
1988     Jansher Khan     9–6, 9–2, 9–2

Runner-ups (3)
Year     Opponent in final     Score in final
1986     Ross Norman     5–9, 7–9, 9–7, 1–9
1991     Rodney Martin     17–14, 9–15, 4–15, 13–15
1993     Jansher Khan     15–14, 9–15, 5–15, 5–15

British Open final appearances  Wins (10)
Year     Opponent in final     Score in final
1982     Hiddy Jahan     9–2, 10–9, 9–3
1983     Gamal Awad     9–2, 9–5, 9–1
1984     Qamar Zaman     9–0, 9–3, 9–5
1985     Chris Dittmar     9–3, 9–2, 9–5
1986     Ross Norman     9–6, 9–4, 9–6
1987     Jansher Khan     9–6, 9–0, 9–5
1988     Rodney Martin     9–2, 9–10, 9–0, 9–1
1989     Rodney Martin     9–2, 3–9, 9–5, 0–9, 9–2
1990     Rodney Martin     9–6, 10–8, 9–1
1991     Jansher Khan     2–9, 9–4, 9–4, 9–0
Runner-ups (1)
Year     Opponent in final     Score in final
1981     Geoff Hunt     2–9, 7–9, 9–5, 7–9