LONDON: Azam Khan, widely regarded as one of the greatest squash players of all time, passed away in London on Saturday after being infected with the novel coronavirus.
The 95-year-old Azam tested positive for COVID-19 last week and breathed his last London’s Ealing Hospital. His son Wasil Khan told media that the hospital authorities informed the family about Azam’s demise on Saturday afternoon. “All of us here in London are in isolation and the news has come as a big jolt for us,” said Wasil.
Azam Khan won four consecutive British Open titles between 1959-62 and was featured in seven championships during his illustrious career. He was regarded as one of the world’s best shot-makers and strategists in the game that could not even be matched by the legendary Roshan Khan.
Azam settled in Britain back in the sixties and is one of the prominent members of the great Khan dynasty which ruled international squash decades. His elder brother, Hashim Khan, was the first Pakistani to win the British Open back in 1951. Azam featured in all major events and his first British Open title finally came in 1958 when Hashim was forced to pull out of the tournament because of an injury.
Azam went on to win three more British Open titles but was forced to call it quits after an injury in 1963. Azam routed compatriot Roshan Khan in the 1959 finale winning 9-1, 9-0, 9-0 to the dismay of an astounded crowd over the quick outcome of the title match. He did not make a successful comeback as tragedy struck when his eldest son died.
His son Wasil is a former British junior champion and a successful businessman based in London. Wasil’s daughter Carla had a successful professional career, becoming a top-20 player in the world and winning several international titles including the Pakistan Open, El-Salvador Open, Ottawa Open, and Iranian Open.