Concerted Efforts by Pak Navy, Jahangir Khan and Combaxx Sports to regain past glories in squash
Though squash is not our national game, the game has become our source of recognition in sports at the international level as our legendary players remained unbeatable at the world level for decades, winning a record number of titles, trophies and World Championships for the country.
Players like Hashim Khan, Roshan Khan, and Jahangir Khan have become our national pride and a source of recognition and honour at the international level. Sports like squash have helped us improve our positive image at the international level. However, against this backdrop of a glorious past, the game of squash is at its lowest ebb in the country for the last many years and needs concerted efforts to bring back the past glories and that can be done with the production of world-class players by providing them with latest training and skills at par with international standards. It is good to see that institutions like the Pakistan Navy, Combaxx Sports, and former legends of the like of Jahangir Khan are making continuous efforts to achieve this goal. The recently-held Combaxx Roshan Khan National Team Men and Women Squash Championships, named after Roshan Khan, the father of former world champion Jahangir Khan, a great squash player of the past, is a case in point. It was held in collaboration with Pakistan Navy and Combaxx Sports at the Pakistan Navy Roshan Khan Jahangir Khan Squash Complex in Karachi, recently, in which men and women teams participated. Born on 26 November 1929 in the Nawan Kali area of Peshawar, Roshan Khan was very attracted towards squash from the early days. In the first Pakistan Open Squash Tournament in 1949, Roshan Khan reached the final, after which he won the Pakistan Open title for three consecutive years. In 1953, Roshan Khan joined the Pakistan Navy, Qualified for the final of the British Open where he was defeated by his compatriot Hashim Khan, but in 1957 British Open final, Roshan Khan defeated Hashim Khan to win the title for the first time. Khan also had the honour of winning the US Open three times and the Canadian Open twice. Roshan Khan retired from the Navy in 1986. Pakistan Navy, in recognition to his outstanding national services, started the construction of the Roshan Khan Jahangir Khan Squash Complex in 1989, which was completed in 1991. On January 6, 2006, Roshan Khan passed away at the age of 77. Jahangir Khan, the great squash player in the world and the son of Roshan Khan said that his father Roshan Khan played the most important role in bringing him to this position in squash. “He was my mentor. The purpose of organizing the event named after him is to pay tribute to Roshan Khan as well as to provide maximum opportunities for the young players to play the game of squash so that they can become world-class squash players”, he said. In the championship, Pakistan Army’s women and men’s teams won the titles by showing excellent performance. In the men’s final, Army outclassed WAPDA and defeated them 2-1.
In the men’s event, Pakistan WAPDA got the second position while Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab got the third position, Balochistan got the fifth position, Pakistan Navy got the sixth position and Sindh got the seventh position. In the Women’s final, Army beat Wapda 2-0 to win the title while WAPDA emerged as the ultimate runners up and Sindh and Punjab won the third position in the event. Pakistan Army achieved the honour of winning the event for the first time. The special guest of the prize distribution ceremony was the squash legend and former world number one Jahangir Khan, along with the CEO of Combaxx Sports, Omar Saeed, who distributed medals, and trophies among the players. While the gold medals were distributed among the members of the organizing committee, Pakistan Squash Federation Vice President Adnan Asad, Lieutenant Commander Rehmatullah, General Manager Combaxx Sports Zubair Macha, Tournament Referee Naveed Alam, and Tournament Director Tahir Jameel Khanzada were also present.
The tournament was a thumping success as a record number of youngsters participated and featured in the game with a zeal which is a testimony to the fact that our youth are keen to regain past glories in squash and keeping in view their passion and enthusiasm, one can hope for the best. Not only boys, but our girls are also very keen about their focus on the game and a day is not far off when these players will shine as world-class players and win laurels for the country.
Published in The Daily National Courier, March, 29 2023
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