Jahangir Khan praises ‘amazing’ Commonwealth Games atmosphere
Pakistani legend Jahangir Khan has hailed the wonderful atmosphere that has greeted the players during the Commonwealth Games this week at the University of Birmingham.
Khan is one of the sport’s greatest ever players, with six World Championships to his name, and the 58-year-old is no stranger to playing in front of a packed crowd.
Speaking ahead of tonight’s action – which will see the destination of the gold medals in the Singles event decided – Khan said he was impressed with the amount of people who have turned up to watch the incredible feats of athleticism from the Commonwealth’s leading squash players.
“It’s been wonderful, it is amazing to see something like this,” said Khan.
“When you are getting 2,000 spectators every day, I think this is unique for the players and it was a great atmosphere. So far, I’m really impressed with the environment here and the attendance.
“England have always been very supportive for the game. I’m really pleased to be here for these Games with the spectators who are cheering on the players, I think it is just tremendous.
“When you see all the top players in the final rounds, for medals as well, I’m sure they will put in a good performance. I’m sure it will be a good day for everyone.”
As well as the bronze medal matches, there are two thrilling gold medal battles in store as England’s home favourite Georgina Kennedy takes on Hollie Naughton of Canada, before New Zealand’s Paul Coll aims to go one better than his silver medal in 2018 when he locks horns with Welshman Joel Makin.
Khan is eagerly anticipating another evening of world-class squash and said: “They’re all top-ranking players. Paul Coll is there and playing Joel Makin. They know each other on the circuit and they have played many times, but playing for your country at the Commonwealth Games gives you different pressure. I think it will be a good match between them.
“There was a big upset yesterday [in the women’s event] and I’m sure everyone is looking forward to it. It’s going to be a good game because she [Kennedy] is going to play against someone who beat the No.1 seed. Let’s see how they handle the pressure.”
Khan’s legendary 555-match unbeaten run saw him dominate the 1980s and early 90s, winning 10 straight British Opens in addition to his World Championship triumphs and remains an immensely popular and recognisable figure amongst squash fans.
Khan, who arrived in Birmingham earlier this week and will present the men’s medals, explained that he had been stopped a number of times by fans eager to discuss the Pakistani legend’s career, something he that had made him feel very welcome.
He added: “Being an ex-squash player, people always appreciate it when you come to the squash. It was amazing to see that people still followed my career and it was nice to come back, I have good memories from when I used to come here in the 1980s.
“England has always been my second home, really.”
Khan will be in the crowd to watch tonight’s Commonwealth Games action. The gold medal matches begin at 18:00 (GMT+1) – Click here for the full schedule and live results as they happen.