- Associated Press - Friday, August 1, 2014

AURORA, Colo. (AP) - Hashim Khan’s family really has no idea the exact age of their father since he never had a birth certificate.

Best guess? He turned 100 on July 1 - that’s what they celebrated anyway. He also could be older, some say even as old as 104.

Just another intriguing layer to the lore of Khan, one of the greatest squash players to ever lift a racket.

He’s the patriarch who got the ball rolling on Pakistan’s squash supremacy, winning his first British Open title in 1951 at an age when most retire and then six more championships after that. He later traveled to America to raise a family of 12 and help hook a younger generation on a sport that resembles racquetball.

Over the last six months, his health has drastically deteriorated. Hospice workers are now providing around-the-clock care for him at his home. His family remains by his side, too, using this as a chance to reminisce about the person who’s been referred to as the “Babe Ruth of squash.”

The tales they tell: Like how he started out playing squash barefoot. Or how the spirited player once went through a player’s legs to get to a ball near the front wall.

Or how they heard Buckingham Palace built a squash court just to watch their father’s flair.

“Just a rumor,” said Gulmast, one of Khan’s seven sons who all played on the professional level.

Another interesting element to his age-old story - even if no one really knows his true age.

“I like the concept that his age is shrouded somewhat in mystery,” his son, Sam, said. “He’s a whirlwind who comes out of the distant Himalayan mountains and conquers the world. Nobody knows where he came from or even when he came from. It’s sort of fitting that it would be that way.”

Around his house, Hashim Khan doesn’t have many traces of the trinkets he acquired throughout the decades. There’s a framed picture of him shaking hands with Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh. And on a table by the couch, an encased picture of him on the cover of Squash Magazine. Another of him posing with a racket.

His awards are displayed inside the Hashim Khan Trophy Room, which is a squash court the members at the Denver Athletic Club converted into a shrine to him.

Three of his friends stopped by Thursday, just to pay their respects. When they started talking squash, his eyes lit up.

“Remember your rules for squash? Snap your wrist, don’t hit the tin … fight like a tiger,” said Marshall Wallach, who started a foundation in Khan’s honor.

Khan beamed.

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