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Toronto’s ‘Sheriff of Squash’ rose to dominate his sport. First he had to defeat his father

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He’s 73 years old now and slowed by a recent stroke. But the man who lives in a humble basement in-law suite near St. Clair Ave. and Dufferin St. was once the undisputed ruler of a booming sport.

They called Sharif Khan the “Sheriff of Squash”— hardball squash, to be exact, the North American varietal of the walled-in racquet game that enjoyed a rise in popularity during the fitness-club boom of the 1970s and 1980s. From 1969 and 1980, Khan won the North American Open, the top tournament on the continent, a dozen times. He was the subject of hundreds of newspaper stories and profiled in Esquire magazine. He rubbed shoulders with tennis stars John McEnroe and Bjorn Borg, once beating both in a made-for-TV competition to determine the greatest all-round master of racquet sports of the day.

A great of his sport, Sharif Khan, now 73 and slowed down a bit by a stroke, has told his story in a new memoir, “The Sheriff of Squash.”
A great of his sport, Sharif Khan, now 73 and slowed down a bit by a stroke, has told his story in a new memoir, “The Sheriff of Squash.”  (Rene Johnston / Toronto Star)

But his rise was hardly easy. Born in colonial India, in a small village near the Khyber Pass that would later become part of Pakistan, by age 11 Khan was shipped off to a boarding school in England to fulfil a destiny chosen for him. He’d never eaten with a knife and a fork and he didn’t speak English. But as the eldest son of a great squash champion – Hasim Khan, the patriarch of the so-called Khan dynasty that ruled the game for decades — he was expected to become one. Forced to cope with the realities of being a poor, brown boy at a rich, white school — saddled with a young life, not of his choosing, including an arranged marriage he would later call a “sham” — Sharif Khan ultimately thrived.

And now he’s told his story, with the help of squash writer Rob Dinerman and his third wife, Karen Khan, in a new memoir, The Sheriff of Squash.

“It’s a fascinating journey, and I’m amazed that I’ve done it,” Sharif Khan was saying in an interview one wintry recent morning.

But as much as Sharif Khan always told reporters his competitive drive came from his deep need to uphold his family’s great sporting tradition, there were moments he felt oppressed by it, too. The Sheriff of Squash details an exchange between father and son in the late 1960s, wherein Hashim Khan — a remarkable titan of the sport who won his first of seven British Open championships in his late 30s before carving out a life as a pro at a Detroit racquet club — reacts to Sharif’s announcement of his intention to move to Toronto, where, on account of the sport’s modest prize money he would teach lessons at various clubs.

“You’ll never be half of what I am,” Hashim says to Sharif, according to Sharif’s memoir. “Half, you’ll never be a quarter of what I am.”

Writes Sharif, explaining his side of the discord: “Is it too much to ask that a father should have some pride in his son? All along the way I have been set up by his plans, his rules, his customs, and yet he has never given me any support, let alone love.”

Imagine the tension, then, in the lead-up to Sharif’s quarter-final match at the 1970 North American Open. Sharif was the reigning title-holder after a breakthrough win the year before over his cousin, Mo Khan. But to earn the right to move into the semifinals, Sharif needed to beat a towering figure — his father, who was still defeating younger pros late into his late 50s.

Sitting in an easy chair in his living room, Sharif Khan remembered the psychological strain of the moment, the only time he and his father met in tournament competition.

Khan at home, in front of a photograph of himself in competition.
Khan at home, in front of a photograph of himself in competition.  (Rene Johnston/Toronto Star)

“I said, ‘What the heck do I do now? Where’s the psychiatrist? I need a shrink. I need someone to help me,’” Sharif said. “Because I was going against a giant, a legend. Plus, I was going against my father.”

As Dinerman writes in one of the dispatches that dot The Sheriff of Squash: “It was almost as though this endlessly wise patriarch of the Khan clan had decided his eldest son could not be entrusted with being handed the family torch without first being required to wrest it from his predecessor, who had carried this emblem so proudly for so long.”

The match lasted more than an hour, to Sharif’s recollection.

“It seemed like it lasted hours and hours,” Sharif said.

When it ended with the son the victor, three games to one, Sharif said he felt more unease than elation, even though he was on his way to another in a line of championships.

“I didn’t know how my dad would react to it all. Because it was a brutal, brutal match. I pushed out all the stops and hammered him,” Sharif said. “And he hugged me. Big smile.”

It was the first time his father had hugged him since he was a child. When Hashim Khan died in 2014, he was thought to be 100 and possibly as old as 104; he had no birth certificate to go by. Before the patriarch passed, Sharif Khan had the chance to speak with him in their native tongue of Pashto.

“I thanked him,” Sharif said. “I told him that without him incentivizing me, I could not have achieved what I achieved.”

Sharif Khan’s journey still comes with obstacles. He’s been enduring regular bouts of physical therapy to counteract the effect of the stroke he suffered. For a man once known for his superior athleticism, moving around isn’t as easy as it once was.

“My dream, and literally I dream this, is that I will be back on court one day and feel the weight of the ball against my racquet,” he writes in his autobiography.

The weight of the ball against a racquet, the weight of a familial legacy well upheld. In the beginning, Sharif Khan didn’t choose the game, it chose him. And all these years later, he’d give a lot to play another.

Dave Feschuk is a Toronto-based sports columnist. Follow him on Twitter: @dfeschuk



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These US entities partnered with the Wuhan Institute of Virology — time for a criminal investigation?

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(Natural News) The Wuhan Institute of Virology from which the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) is believed to have “escaped” has a number of questionable partnerships that are worth looking into in light of the pandemic.

Most of them are universities, including the University of Alabama, the University of North Texas, and Harvard University. There is also the EcoHealth Alliance, the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the National Wildlife Federation.

While the relationships between these entities and the Wuhan Institute of Virology may be completely innocent, there is no way to really say for sure without a proper investigation. And this is exactly what Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is calling for, as is the nation of Australia.

Pompeo and the folks down under, along with millions of Americans, would really like to know the true origins of the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19). An increasing number of people simply are not buying the narrative that the novel virus originated in bat soup at a Chinese wet market, and this even includes mainstream media outlets like Fox News.

The only way to really determine what was going on at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, and who else might have been involved. is to open the place up for an international investigation. But communist China is against this, of course, accusing Australia of “petty tricks” and collusion with the United States.

“Overnight, I saw comments from the Chinese Foreign Ministry talking about a course of activity with respect to Australia who had the temerity to ask for investigation,” Pompeo is quoted as saying in response to China’s aggression against a proposed investigation.

“Who in the world wouldn’t want an investigation of how this happened to the world?” he added.

As the U.S. aims to get back on track economically speaking, Pompeo believes that now is the time to hold communist China, the Wuhan Institute of Virology, and whoever else may have been involved accountable for unleashing this pandemic on the world.

“Not only American wealth, but the global economy’s devastation as a result of this virus,” Pompeo further stated. “There will be a time for this. We will get that timing right.”

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New U.S. analysis finds that lab in Wuhan, China was “most likely” origin of coronavirus release

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(Natural News) While American Leftists and most of the Democrat Party continue to serve as apologists for the Chinese Communist regime over its role in creating and then perpetuating the coronavirus pandemic, a new U.S. government analysis concludes that COVID-19 “most likely” escaped from a lab near Wuhan city.

The Washington Times reports that the analysis cataloged evidence linking the outbreak to the Wuhan lab and has found that other explanations for the origins of the virus are not as credible.

The paper reported:

The document, compiled from open sources and not a finished product, says there is no smoking gun to blame the virus on either the Wuhan Institute of Virology or the Wuhan branch of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, both located in the city where the first outbreaks were reported.

However, “there is circumstantial evidence to suggest such may be the case,” the paper says.

“All other possible places of the virus’ origin have been proven to be highly unlikely,” said the report, a copy of which was obtained by the Times.

ChiCom officials have claimed that the virus’ origin is unknown. However, Beijing initially stated that coronavirus came from animals at a “wet market” in Wuhan where exotic meats are butchered and sold in disgusting conditions.

Chinese officials claim that COVID-19 went from bats to animals sold in the market last year, then infected humans.

U.S. intelligence officials have increasingly dismissed that explanation, however, as attention has begun to focus on evidence suggesting that Chinese medical researchers were working with coronavirus in the country’s only Level 4 facility, which is in Wuhan.

U.S. Army Gen. Mark A. Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has said that intelligence agencies are investigating whether the virus escaped from a lab or was the result of a naturally occurring outbreak, but that analysts have ruled out reports that COVID-19 was manmade.

‘The most logical place to investigate the virus origin has been completely sealed off’

“At this point, it’s inconclusive, although the weight of evidence seems to indicate natural,” the general said on April 14, “but we don’t know for certain.”

The analysis said that the wet market explanation does not ring true because the first human diagnosis of coronavirus was made in someone who had no connection to the wet market in question. And according to Chinese reports, no bats were sold at that particular market.

At the same time, several questionable actions and a growing paper trail provide clues that the virus actually escaped from a lab, even as China begins to clamp down on those information streams.

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The biggest media lies about the coronavirus: Origins, treatments and vaccines

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(Natural News) If there is one thing that most everyone can agree on concerning the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, it is the fact that there is no shortage of conflicting information out there about the nature of it. And the mainstream media is certainly doing its part to steer the narrative as part of a larger agenda, using plenty of misinformation along the way.

The following are among the most commonly parroted lies about the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) that aim to distort the facts and deceive you into believing falsehoods about this pandemic:

Media LIE: The virus is not man-made

From the very beginning of this thing, the official narrative was that the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) came from a Chinese wet market where bats and other “exotic” animals are sold as meat. But the world later learned that it actually more than likely “escaped” from the Wuhan Institute of Virology.

The mainstream media and social media platforms went nuts trying to censor this information and even called it  “fake news.” But eventually it became undeniable that bat soup was not responsible for spreading the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) around Wuhan and eventually to the rest of the world – hence why we continue to call it the Wuhan coronavirus rather than just COVID-19.

We have even seen attempts by the media machine at making the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) a racial issue because there are supposedly more “people of color” coming down with it than people with fair skin, which further detracts attention away from the source of this virus.

Media LIE: Hydroxychloroquine is extremely dangerous and doesn’t work

The minute that President Donald Trump announced that hydroxychloroquine may be an effective, and very inexpensive, remedy for the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19), the mainstream media immediately began decrying this claim as fake news, even though Anthony Fauci himself praised hydroxychloroquine back in 2013 under Barack Obama as being some type of “miracle cure” for SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome).

There have even been studies conducted that were designed to intentionally smear the drug as both ineffective and dangerous, though one in particular purposely left out zinc, which appears to be a critical co-factor in supporting the effectiveness of hydroxychloroquine – in other words, politics as usual.

Media LIE: Only a vaccine can save us from coronavirus

Many politicians and public health officials are parroting the lie that the only way America can come out of lockdown and go back to “normal” is to get vaccinated with some future vaccine for the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) that does not even yet exist. A vaccine, we are repeatedly told, is the only thing, or perhaps some new “blockbuster” antiviral drug, that can cure the world of this scourge and make everything happy and wonderful once again.

Meanwhile, not a peep is being made about things like intravenous (IV) high-dose vitamin C, which is being successfully used in other countries to stem the tide of infections without the need for new drugs and vaccines.

By omission, nutrition is pointless

Speaking of natural approaches to overcoming the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) that are being systematically ignored by the mainstream media and most in politics, have you heard anyone mention the importance of nutrition in all of this? We did not think so, and this is intentional.

Regular readers of this site over the years should know by now that the single-most important thing you need to do to stay healthy besides exercising regularly is to feed your body the nutrition it needs to naturally ward off illnesses, including those associated with the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19).

Research compiled by the Lewin Group reveals that nutritional remedies such as calcium, vitamin D, folate, omega-3 fatty acids, lutein, zeaxanthin, and more all play a critical role in fortifying the immune system, which, if properly nourished, should have little problem fending off disease.

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