Hashim Khan

Hashim Khan (Urdu: ہاشم خان ) is a former squash player from Pakistan. He won the British Open seven times between 1951 and 1958. He is widely considered to be one of the greatest squash players of all time, and was the first great player to emerge from a Pakistani dynasty of squash players which dominated the international game for decades.

Hashim Khan was born in Nawakille (sometimes spelled "Noakili"), a small village near Peshawar, in British India. The year of his birth is usually reported as 1916, though this has been disputed (some believe that he may have been born as much as five years before this). Hashim's father, Abdullah Khan, was the Head Steward at club in Peshwar where British army officers stationed in the area played squash. As a youngster, Hashim served as an unpaid ballboy at the club, retrieving balls that were hit out of court by the officers. When the officers had finished playing, Hashim and the other ballboys would take over the courts.

In 1942, Hashim became a squash coach at a British Air Force officers' mess. In 1944, he won the first All-of-India squash championship in Bombay, and successfully defended this title for the next two years. When Pakistan became an independent state, Hashim was appointed a squash professional at the Pakistan Air Force, and won the first Pakistani squash championship in 1949.

In 1950, Abdul Bari, a distant relative of Hashim's who had chosen to remain in Bombay after the partition of India and Pakistan, and who Hashim had beaten in several tournaments in India before partition, was sponsored by the Indian Government to play at the British Open where he finished runner-up to the great Egyptian player Mahmoud Karim. (The British Open was considered to be the effective world championship of the sport at the time.) This spurred Hashim to seek backing to compete in the British Open the following year.

In 1951, Hashim travelled to the United Kingdom to play in the British Open, and won the title beating Karim in the final 9-5, 9-0, 9-0. He again beat Karim in the final in 1952 9-5, 9-7, 9-0. He won again for the next four consecutive years, beating R.B.R. Wilson of England in the 1953 final; his younger brother Azam Khan in two tight five-set finals in 1954 and 1955; and Roshan Khan (another Pakistani who was a distant relative of Hashim and Azam's) in the final of 1956. Hashim was runner-up to Roshan in 1957, and won his seventh and final British Open title in 1958, when he beat Azam in the final.

Hashim also won five British Professional Championship titles, three US Open titles, and three Canadian Open titles.

In his later years, Hashim has settled in Denver, Colorado, and has continued to appear in veterans' matches at the British Open.

Hashim had a total of 12 children. His eldest son Sharif Khan became the dominant player on the North American hardball squash circuit in the 1970s, winning a record 12 North American Open titles. Four other sons – Aziz, Gulmast, Liaqat Ali ("Charlie"), and Salim ("Sam") – also became top-level hardball squash players.

British Open final appearances

Wins (7)
Year Opponent in final Score in final
1951 Mahmoud Karim 9-5, 9-0, 9-0
1952 Mahmoud Karim 9-5, 9-7, 9-0
1953 R.B.R. Wilson 9-2, 8-10, 9-1, 9-0
1954 Azam Khan 6-9, 9-6, 9-6, 7-9, 9-5
1955 Azam Khan 9-7, 7-9, 9-7, 5-9, 9-7
1956 Roshan Khan 9-4, 9-2, 5-9, 9-5
1958 Azam Khan 9-7, 6-9, 9-6, 9-7
Runner-ups (1)
Year Opponent in final Score in final
1957 Roshan Khan 6-9, 9-5, 9-2, 9-1

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