Saturday, January 05, 2008

a squash god lives on

As the dieting industry well knows, the new year usually gets people inspired to get their butts into the gym. My favorite way to work out is with a game of squash, racquetball's sophisticated older brother. So I was psyched and humbled to read a recent article about Hashim Khan, a squash legend and one of the sport's most revered spokespeople. I first found out about Khan when I was learning how to play the game myself. Already into his 80s at the time, Khan had amassed not only an impressive professional career, he was also well known for continuing to be a fierce competitor despite his advanced age and diminutive 5'4 stature. Now 93, Khan simply can't let squash go. The article describes how he recently hurt himself after falling on the court but refused doctors orders to hang up the racquet for good. If that's not inspiration for getting me out on the court, I'm not sure what is!

Sadly, Khan once again will not be watching nationally-ranked squash players taking part in the Olympics later this year. The drive to get squash accepted as an Olympic sport has been gaining momentum in recent years—but it's still got a ways to go. In 2005, it came agonizingly close to being voted in, but it fell short in a second round of voting by the IOC. Former pros like Peter Nichol and Jahangir Khan (Hashim's cousin's son) continue to lead the charge, believing they have a real chance of getting squash accepted into the 2016 Olympics in Singapore. I have a hard time taking seriously the process by which equestrian, in which a horse does most of the work, and kayaking and shooting—which may be nice hobbies but which really don't seem like sports—get picked over squash as Olympic events. Nevertheless, rules is rules. Hopefully, squash will get it's due very soon. It's just too bad that the sport's living legend won't get to see it. &infin

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