Just ahead of the IOC Executive Board decision in Berlin on which sports to recommend to the IOC for inclusion in the Olympic Games from 2016, the bodies which govern and manage Squash – as well as the sport’s top players – have reaffirmed their commitment to the bid for Squash to become an Olympic sport.
The Professional Squash Association (PSA) and the Women’s International Squash Players’ Association (WISPA) – the organisations which run the professional men’s and women’s tours, respectively – led by the World Squash Federation (WSF), the sport’s governing body, are all united behind the campaign.
Natalie Grainger, the WISPA President who is ranked two in the world, said: “There could be no greater achievement for Squash than to become an Olympic sport. Squash is primed and ready to take advantage of such a wonderful opportunity of becoming part of the Olympic movement. Squash has produced some great athletes, all of whom are crying out for that sacred moment to compete on the greatest of sporting stages, hoping for glory – the Olympic Games.”
Women’s world No1 and Squash 2016 Ambassador Nicol David, the Malaysian who recently won gold at the World Games, said: “Just having competed in the World Games has whetted all our appetites for the chance to compete in the Olympics, the greatest sports event on earth! If we get selected – as we hope so much that we will – the seven years until 2016 will fly by. I am ready to start my training programme now!”
Alex Gough, PSA Chief Executive Officer and a former world No5, added: “Squash is a vast and ever-growing sport, played by 20 million people in 175 countries. We at the PSA represent those at the top level of the game, but there is no doubt that being an Olympic sport would resonate with everyone who plays, especially the young players across the world who would have something amazing to aim for and aspire to.”
Nick Matthew, the current men’s world No5 and World Games gold medallist, said: ”Standing on the podium at the World Games in Taipei, being presented with the Squash gold medal, emphasised – even more than before – what it must be like to win a medal at the Olympic Games. The feeling at a multi-sport games is somehow different to a normal world ranking event and it would be just amazing if we were included.”
WSF President, N Ramachandran, concluded: ”The entire sport of Squash is united behind the bid for inclusion in the Olympic Games. The professional tours would change their schedules in Olympic years to ensure that the Olympic Games would be in its rightful place at the very pinnacle of sporting achievement possible.
“On behalf of Squash players the world over, I hope that the IOC sees the potential of our wonderful sport.”