Google Doodle is paying homage to Pakistani squash player Hashim Khan, widely regarded as one of the sport’s greatest players of all time.
Khan won the British Open Squash Championships on this day in 1951, propelling him from relative obscurity into the status of an international icon.
Founded in 1914, Khan was born in a small village in what was then India, in Nawakilli, Peshawar. His dad worked with squash courts at a British officers ‘club, where Khan apprenticed as a ball boy.
Learning the ropes of the sport in his free time, Khan was playing barefoot at the rugged brick courts of the club — an early testimony to his tenacity. He became a squash pro by the age of 28 and soon thereafter a national sport champion.
After winning three All-of-India titles he was selected by Pakistan’s newly independent government to represent the country at the British Open in 1951.
Khan reigned during the British Open, considered at the time the world championship of squash, and went on to take the grand prize home.
He returned a national hero to Pakistan, saluted by a million people upon his arrival.
The historic triumph has become the first hurrah of the squash dynasty of the Khan family. Within the next 46 years, either Khan or one of his relatives won the tournament 29 times, including renowned players Jahangir Khan and Jansher Khan.
Establishing a career that earned him a place in the US Squash Hall of Fame, Khan has earned seven British Opens, five British Professional Championships, three US Opens and three Canadian Opens.