In 1951, a squash player with the strength of a warrior and the heart
of a champion won the British Open and changed the sport of squash forever.
He also introduced the fledgling nation which he proudly represented to sports
Rarely there comes into our midst extraordinary athletes whose talents take
them beyond the boundaries of their sport. Icons like Pele and Muhammad Ali…and
Hashim Khan. An extraordinary champion who is now 92-years-old, Hashim’s
passion for squash has taken him on an eight-decade journey crossing economic,
geographic and generational boundaries and transcending social, cultural and
Hashim’s story is one of struggle, determination, confidence and contribution.
He was born in 1914 in Peshawar, a region of India that later became Pakistan.
It was marked by British rule and a violent struggle for political/ religious
independence. A British Army base in the region had courts for squash, a racquets
game first played in England in the 1800s.
Hashim’s first job, at age 12 after his father had died, was as a ball
boy at the open-roofed courts. A bare-footed Hashim spent hours on the court
- “Hashim playing Hashim” - perfecting the skills that would carry
him to seven British Open titles, make him a Pakistani hero and introduce him
to fans around the world.
Hashim’s story coincides with the break-up of the British Empire and
the independence of Pakistan and India, offering the opportunity to re-visit
a time in history that has come to have significant impact on today’s
world. When Hashim talks about his Islamic religious beliefs or a young journalist
in Landikotal near the Afghan border talks about his strong tribal heritage,
a different light is shed on the modern geopolitics of a region of the world,
currently under great scrutiny, than that of the media news sound bites. Hashim’s
adult children reflect on the immigrant experience of moving to America and
facing the conflicts inherent in adapting an old world culture to a modern
society. Finally, there is the sport of squash as a unifying element that transcends
national, religious and cultural boundaries.
Keep Eye on Ball: The Hashim Khan Story is the multifaceted, timely
portrait of a sports icon and extraordinary man.