The PSA world men's squash tour winds up in Kuwait this week and the man overseeing proceedings here is none other than 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 ten times. Most amazing of all - and I'm not even sure there is a sporting record that beats this - is that he went for five and a half years unbeaten, and not from just playing a match when he fancied it: he crammed in 555 matches in that spell. It's an incomprehensible, unfathomable achievement. Grafting as we players do on the present professional tour, to win five matches on the bounce is something to shout about. But five hundred...and fifty five?
Jahangir remains involved in the squash scene; he retired in 1993 but we have become accustomed to his presence. When he is around, I know I'm not the only person thinking: ' That there is Jahangir Khan.'
Because he 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 stops people from thinking he should be at the top of that group. This is a man who if celebrity was bestowed upon those truly deserving of it, would be idolised the world over. To have such a standing in the world of sport, it feels almost unjust that he is so accessible. He really should be running around with armed security and bodyguards, in blacked out cars.
Within squash Jahangir is so genuinely understated considering his outrageous achievements. He owns a squash club in Karachi, Pakistan where he is considered only a rung or two down from God, and he runs his own business.
Any Internet search on squash, apart from yielding recipes for root vegetable casseroles, will at some point mention his name. When I jump in a London cab and tell the driver I'm a squash player, they have heard of Jahangir.
His legendary athleticism was spawned from a training schedule that would frighten most people to death: his long early morning runs were merely gentle precursors to the day's activities. He didn't even consider it part of the training, merely an add on.
Squash has been lucky to have such a legend. Legend in the true sense of the word.Suggest a correction