Yesterday's media launch of Jahangir: 555 was attended by leading members of British squash journalism as well as key individuals in the game who are keen to bring back the glory days of the 1980s.

 

The event at Wimbledon Racquets and Fitness Club was given a great boost by the presence of Zubair Khan – Jahangir's cousin and a former world No.8 – who joined Ross Norman for a Q&A with Wimbledon members. Following yesterday's launch, many other clubs are planning to hold 80s themed events coupled with book signings.   

 

Historical note: Friday November 11th is the 30th anniversary of Ross Norman’s famous triumph in the final of the World Open in Toulouse, France, that brought a dramatic end to Jahangir Khan’s amazing five and a half year unbeaten run.

 


At last night's launch, Ross Norman paid tribute to his great rival.

 
He said: “Every new era takes any sport forward, but where previous champions like Geoff Hunt may have moved the game forward by, say, 10 per cent, Jahangir made enormous changes to the way the game was played. He absolutely ripped things up and changed the game by 20 per cent. 
 
“He was fitter, faster, more powerful than everybody else and anyone who fancied taking him on had to work incredibly hard. 
 
“For me, it was all about respect. Jahangir was respected by everyone and I wanted the same from him. Even if I was being beaten I wanted Jahangir to come off court and know that he had to play very well to beat me. 
 
“If you set your sights any lower than that then there was no point in going on court. The thing was, he was constantly improving and evolving as a player throughout that five-year unbeaten run. He was getting better all the time.
 
“For me, he was the greatest player squash has ever seen. And the run of 10 consecutive British Open wins will never be beaten.”


 

Look out: for Zubair Khan hosting a special book sale/signing at the Cumberland Club in Hampstead during the London Open being staged at the club in two weeks' time when Jahangir will be flying in from Pakistan. A Khan family reunion thanks to 555 – now that would be special!

 

Who’s Who: Back row (left to right): Stuart Brodkin (Express Newspapers), Mark Kelly (Squash Link Ireland), co-author Rod Gilmour, former England international Jane Courtney, co-author Alan Thatcher, Simon Scott (Harrow Rackets and Cambridgeshire SRA), Stuart Courtney (former England Squash Chief Executive and England international). Front row: Joel Durston (The Sport Review), Ian McKenzie (Editor of Squash Player magazine), Howard Harding (World Squash Federation Media Director). With thanks to photographer Patrick Lauson.

 

In the first book to be published on his career for nearly 30 years, 555: the untold story behind squash’s invincible champion and sport’s greatest run, co-authors Rod Gilmour and Alan Thatcher have aimed to recreate that magical period. Speaking to a raft of Khan’s fellow professionals, the book chronicles:

 

  • The longest unbeaten run in any sport as Jahangir won every match for 5½ years;
  • Why the record books will have to be amended over Jahangir’s magical ‘555’ unbeaten figure;
  • Why Jahangir was such an imposing presence during his amazing unbeaten period.

 

Click here for more information, or to read a sample from Jahangir: 555.