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Pakistan wins World Junior Squash Championship

Hamza Khan becomes the first Pakistani to win World Junior Squash Championship on 23 July 2023, since 1986, thereby ending a draught of 37 long years. Hamza defeated Egypt’s Mohamed Zakaria 3-1 during the tournament which was held in Melbourne, Australia. It was a win for a Pakistani borne player after 1986, when legendry Jansher Khan lifted the title, although Amir Altas made it to finals in 2008 and lost to Egyptian born Mohamed Elshorbagy. The history of Squash in Pakistan revolves around an area in Peshawar and a family or clan of that area. Nawa Kalay is home to squash players who have won more than three dozen titles. Located in the suburbs of Peshawar, the area has produced eight world-class squash champions. A documentary is available on YouTube which was produced on 29 November 1986, by Face Films for Channel 4 Television titled THE KHANS OF PAKISTAN - A SQUASH DYNASTY, featuring Jahangir Khan. Pleas watch it here

The documentary records the hard work, passion and desire to rise to the top of ladder by a player and his saga of a true champion. The rise of Hamza Khan narrates the same story, although there is a long way to go as he has only won the junior title and the legendary Khans have won the Men Titles many times over. Hamza Khan reflects the strong pedigree of the same above mentioned Nawa Kalay, Peshawar. He is related to legendary Qamar Zaman. In an interview with Eos, he said “My father had represented Islamia College and the Peshawar University in inter-college and inter-university sports. He used to take me to the Hashim Khan Squash Complex where he would coach me. I usually practiced for half an hour like the other visitors there. Then, I appeared in the U-11 trials for the PAF Academy Peshawar, which took place at the same complex. I defeated all the other seven boys, including the then Pakistan U-11 champion, and got selected.”

The story of a champion will always be of hard work and continued struggle, so is Hamza Khan, who said, “We used to undergo intense physical training under an instructor in the mornings. Then after school it was back to the academy again, and from 2pm to 6pm it was all training and practice matches.” He further added “When I won the Chief of Air Staff U-11 in 2016, I was called by the Pakistan Squash Federation [PSF] for training in Islamabad.” A rising star must set his goals high so has Hamza Khan, who said “My ultimate goal is to bring back the big titles (to Pakistan as his predecessors had), the British Open and the World Open, to Pakistan.” Pakistan has ruled the world of squash since Hashim Khan’s British Open Title in 1951, to another five in next seven years. Now we have another star in the making, Hamza Khan, who is determined to climb the ladder in the footsteps of his legendary fore fathers.

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