Squash legend Jahangir Khan’s has largely been regarded as the greatest Squash player of all time. In 1981, Pakistani Jahangir Khan became the youngest world champion at only 17 years of age. From the years 1981 to 1986, it was estimated that Khan had a winning run of 555 matches in a row over the span of those five and a half years — a huge accomplishment and a record in any sport.
However, with the release of a new book, it is suggested that his long-standing winning streak could be lower than estimated. This new book, written by Alan Thatcher and Rod Gilmour; the co-author of “Jahangir Khan: 555,” has questioned this seemingly accepted record. Rod Gilmour has stated that “We believe that it could be significantly lower.”
What Does Jahangir Khan Have to Say About It?
The ex-world Number One player, Jahangir Khan, now 52 years old, has actually responded that the number is not inflated, but the opposite — that it could in fact be more than 555 consecutive games.
Khan said that “The 555 figure should only be my tournament matches. I played invitational, exhibition and challenge matches. It could be between 600 to 700 matches if you include the others. Because I wasn’t losing those either.”
The Uncertainty in Numbers
The authors of the new book, “Jahangir Khan: 555,” Thatcher and Gilmour, have evidently researched everything from magazines, newspaper reports, record books, annuals, and more to collect the data for their book.
However, even as they have stated, “There were no statisticians at the time chronicling his matches and not once has the figure been highlighted in press reports as the time,” Gilmour said.
The real figure may be difficult to pin down, but it could be lower than 500, which could mean that Esther Vergeer could lay claim to the record. The Dutch wheelchair tennis great won her fourth consecutive Paralympic singles Gold in London at the 2012 Paralympics and was unbeaten for an entire decade. She won 470 matches before retiring in 2013.
More About Jahangir
The Squash legend won the World Open six times and the British Open Championship 10 consecutive times between the years 1982 and 1991.
His epic winning streak was ended by a loss to Ross Norman in 1986 at the World Championship.
Regardless of the final number and who is technically the all-time most winning Squash player, it is certainly undisputed that Jahangir Khan is the King of Squash. Even co-author Rod Gilmour has said that growing up, Khan was an almost mythical and magical figure to him.
As opposed to wanting to destroy Khan record, Thatcher and Gilmour state that they don’t want to dispute the time frame of Khan’s incredible series of victories, but to “solve [it] for accuracy’s sake.” The final tally may never be known, but with more attention being paid than ever to Khan’s record, perhaps additional data can be collected to update Khan’s record to a specific number.
For now, Jahangir Khan will always be known as Unsquashable.