The 95-year-old Azam, who received 4 consecutive British Open titles between 1959-62, examined constructive for COVID-19 final week and breathed his final London’s Ealing Hospital.
His son Wasil Khan, a former British junior champion, informed that the hospital authorities knowledgeable the household about Azam’s demise on Saturday afternoon.
“All of us here in London are in isolation,” mentioned Wasil.
Azam, who had settled in Britain again within the sixties, is among the outstanding members of the good Khan dynasty which dominated worldwide squash many years.
His elder brother, Hashim Khan, was the primary Pakistani to win the British Open again in 1951.
Azam was 11 years youthful than Hashim, who was nearly like a father determine to him. Ever since their father’s demise when Azam was nonetheless an toddler, Hashim had taken him beneath his wings.
In 1953, Hashim took Azam to Britain with him. Azam had been coaching laborious for months however had little match follow when he landed in Britain.
He acquired his first style of actual competitors quickly after arriving in London when he performed for the professionals in opposition to the amateurs. He acquired a match in opposition to one of the best participant of the rival workforce, Roy Wilson. Azam misplaced that match however not earlier than stretching Wilson to full 5 video games.
The Skilled Championship was adopted by the all-important British Open. Hashim had introduced Azam to characteristic on this prestigious occasion. However at the moment, the British Open, which was essentially the most prestigious occasion in world squash, was restricted to the highest 16 gamers. Since Azam was a newcomer, he was denied entry to the occasion.
In these days there have been no qualifying rounds. Nonetheless, one factor went in Azam’s favour. He had featured within the remaining of the Professionals championship and thus deserved to participate within the British Open. It was determined on the final minute that he would get a shot at incomes a spot within the attracts of the British Open. A trial match was organized on the London Membership in opposition to main British newbie, Brian Phillips. Azam defeated him to get an entry within the match.
He made it into the semi-finals of the match. The opposite three within the final 4 have been defending champion Hashim Khan, his brother-in-law Safeerullah Khan and Roy Wilson. Sadly, Azam was pitted in opposition to Hashim whereas Safeer confronted Roy. Safeer fell to the Briton whereas within the different semi-final Hashim defeated Azam 9-6, 4-9, 9-7, 8-10, 9-Four to enter the ultimate.
Azam could not have featured within the British Open remaining however everybody within the squash world knew that Hashim has managed to organize a worthy successor. After his loss to Roy Wilson within the Skilled vs Amateurs match, Azam was by no means crushed by a non-Pakistani participant in his whole profession. Most of his defeats got here by the hands of Hashim both within the finals or semi-finals of main worldwide tournaments.
Azam continued to characteristic in all main occasions and his first British Open title lastly got here in 1958 when Hashim was pressured to tug out of the match due to an harm. Azam went on to win three extra British Open titles however was pressured to name it quits after snapping an Achilles tendon in 1963. He was nonetheless younger sufficient and will have made a profitable worldwide comeback however an incredible tragedy struck when his eldest son died. After his son’s dying, Azam misplaced curiosity in life and gave up any plans he had of returning to skilled squash.
Throughout an illustrious profession, Azam featured in seven British Open championships and was thought to be one of many world’s greatest shot-makers and strategists. Even the mighty Hashim Khan may by no means beat a British Open remaining opponent the way in which Azam routed compatriot Roshan Khan within the 1959 finale. He received 9-1, 9-0, 9-Zero to the dismay of an indignant gallery which was left astounded by the short end result of the title match.
Azam’s squash expertise was inherited by his son Wasil, who was a British junior champion throughout his schooldays. However squash wasn’t a ardour for Wasil, who at this time is a profitable businessman, primarily based in London. Whereas Wasil didn’t pursue squash as a career, his daughter Carla did carve a profitable skilled profession. Carla rose to turn into a top-20 participant on the earth and received a number of worldwide titles together with the Pakistan Open, El-Salvador Open, Ottawa Open, and the Iranian Open.