Sunday, February 25, 2024

Coronavirus: Jahangir Khan leads the way as squash rallies round to help communities

Jahangir Khan (left) distributes aid parcels in Karachi

JK on the front line to get aid through in Pakistan
By ALAN THATCHER – Squash Mad Editor

Jahangir Khan, the greatest player in the history of squash, is helping to distribute aid parcels to families in Pakistan in response to problems caused by the Coronavirus pandemic.

Jahangir is a  leading supporter of the Shahid Afridi Foundation, founded by the former Test cricketer to provide aid and education to underprivileged Pakistani communities the world over. 

The Foundation has been delivering aid across various parts of the country for the past week with Jahangir wearing a face mask as he handed over the parcels.

Like every nation, Pakistan is experiencing problems with the distribution of basic food and resources.

I wonder how many people realised that one of the world’s most successful sportsmen, who won 10 consecutive British Open titles, was the man handing over the supplies. 

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Don’t get court short by the virus

Ingenious players, both professional stars and those at club level, have posted a collection of fun games and fitness routines to social media, showing how we can all stay fit while confined to our homes.

As well as videos posted by Nick Matthew, Amanda Sobhy and Daryl Selby, one family in America has even built a makeshift squash court in their basement!

Many have simply gone back to the ultimate basic requirements of a “rebound” sport like ours: A ball, a wall and a racket.

Garages and garden sheds are being turned into mini gyms and any spare wall is all you need to hit a ball against.

Most heartening are the tales of clubs who are providing all kinds of free services to their local communities, and those who are offering their premises to the authorities. One club is emerging as a local Covid-19 screening centre. It is already offering showering and changing facilities to the emergency services, and putting empty courts at the disposal of the authorities to store equipment and medical supplies.

I won’t name this club because I don’t want to alert anyone with less than honest intentions.

But rest assured, once this is over, we will be compiling an Honours Board listing all those clubs and individuals who have given time, energy and care to deserving causes.

As of this morning, more than 30,000 people worldwide have died (20,000 in Europe) after contracting Covid-19, from more than 660,700 confirmed cases. 

The number of victims continued to rise in Spain, with a further 838 dying over the past 24 hours. That brought the total number of deaths in Spain to 6,528, according to the country’s health ministry.


Fort Stamford Health and Fitness club in Plymouth, England, have launched a wide-ranging community project. They sent this email round to members.

This is just a quick email to make sure that you are aware that you have someone to reach out to if you find yourself in a situation of need over the coming weeks. Not everyone has family and friends who are able to help, so if that’s you and you want help, make sure you email us at the following address: [email protected]

Whether you want a helping hand shopping for food (if you’re self-isolating), need an emergency plumber, electrician, medical advice or simply someone to talk to, make sure you contact us and we will do everything we possibly can to help. Don’t think twice, just email us!

To this end, if you are fit, healthy, willing and able to volunteer your time should a need arise, please let us know, again by contacting the above address (and let us know what your skillset is!)

If you, or a neighbour, are struggling financially, there is a small local support group who are coordinating a food bank. We can contact them for you if you wish (not everyone does Facebook) or you can contact them direct through their Facebook page ‘Plymstock: Help a neighbour’.

This community group comprises of a wonderful team of volunteers who are willing to home deliver. We encourage you to join their group and spread the word! Anyone who feels able to donate non-perishable goods to this cause are encouraged to do so.

Finally, please continue to follow Government guidelines: Stay at home. Save the NHS. Save Lives.


Mike Dale writes: Chapel Allerton Tennis, Squash and Gym Club is donating all its bar food to NHS staff at Leeds General Infirmary. The junior coach Carrie is doing squash-based, live online fitness classes for kids and adults.

We would love to hear from other clubs who are doing something similar.


American journalist James Zug, the game’s most eloquent historian, has published a column on SquashWord about the last time the game shut down in the States … following the attacks on Pearl Harbour.

He wrote: It reminds me of the last time squash more or less stopped: the Second World War. In America, squash limped along. Famously, the news of the attack on Pearl Harbor reached the Gold Racquets tournament during the Sunday luncheon before the finals. Ray Chauncey, the tournament director, announced the news to a suddenly somber room.

Many tournaments thereafter were immediately cancelled. Some clubs temporarily shuttered; others remained open with a skeletal staff. Nearly all women’s squash in the U.S. stopped, except for inter-club matches in Philadelphia. US Squash waived dues. NY Squash hosted five tournaments in 1942-43—all entry fees and spectator tickets were donated to the Red Cross and the winners received Red Cross certificates.

The Red Cross sponsored an informal Red Cross National Singles for men in 1943, but no one considered the winner, Sherman Howes, a national champion. US Squash hosted the men’s National Singles in the spring of 1942 and then cancelled theirs until 1946; the U.S. women’s association cancelled theirs after Pearl Harbor and didn’t resume until 1947.

Full article here


Still in America, one squash mad group of four brothers, from the Joyce family in Philadelphia, built their own makeshift squash court in the basement so they can carry on playing! Watch a clip of them in action on Instagram. It’s a quality rally, too! 


With UK schools shut down, many parents are turning to remote learning. Squash player Alex Preston, who owns a data company, wrote: “We began to set up impromptu online education sessions to understand the challenges of remote learning. Led by a teacher with a clear vision in mind, we found that up to four kids led by one energetic and engaging teacher seems to be the best formula.

“We needed a way to organise ourselves into schedules and lessons and we are building our platform in a way that can now be shared with the wider community in the hope that we can harness the strength of our community to help each other.”

Contact details here


Alison Avil, chair of Market Harborough Squash Club, writes: We’ve sent out today our membership proposal which was to decrease membership payments by 50% whilst the lockdown is on but if members couldn’t manage that to get in touch and we would suspend their membership, but also if people wanted to keep their membership at 100% we would be extremely grateful as this would help us to maintain the club.
The members so far have responded amazingly with over 30 members immediately coming back saying to keep it at the full price, plus two of our corporate membership companies saying they wanted to continue to support us. We have received some terrific comments including one that simply said they wanted to keep it at 100% as we are all in this together, we are “club”.
Our social nighters have also held their first quiz night…online!
We are also using the time to improve our website, spring clean our database and work with our brilliant website providers to get a new look online league system in place for when we are back.

The Guardian just reported further restrictions for people in Australia. Surfers and many squash players had ignored earlier government advice about self isolation and safe distancing. Australia’s prime minister Scott Morrison has announced further restrictions for the population, including limiting public gatherings to just two people.

People should only leave their homes for essential reasons, and those over the age of 70 should stay home, he said.

All playgrounds and outdoor gyms and skateparks in Australia will close from Monday. Bizarrely, one-on-one personal training sessions are still permitted.


Please add to the above stories. Post your comment below or email a report to [email protected] 


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