The Day the Jaz Stopped

Earlier this month the story of Ajaz Karim finally reached its terrible conclusion. Karim, sixty-three, was sentenced to ten years in jail for indecent assault.

The assaults happened between 1985 and 1993 at a private school outside London. Karim, of course, was not the first squash coach to be jailed  for preying on his pupils. The saga of James Civello, the Shipley School squash coach caught sleeping with one of his players, has stretched for over seven years now.

Karim was well-known in British squash circles. I first met him when we both worked at a squash camp in Virginia in 1996. The next year we met in New York one day to talk about a squash coaching video he wanted to make. “Jazsquash: The Game for Life” came out in 2000 and featured Vicky Botwright, Daniel Ezra, Paul Johnson and Chris Walker.

He had an interesting backstory: born in Uganda, he had fled with his family after Idi Amin kicked out all Asians in 1972. He landed up in England. After leaving the private school where the assaults occurred, Karim coached squash at top-shelf London-area institutions including Eton College, Queen’s Club and Hurlingham, as well as a health club at Canary Wharf.