Squash and the Olympics
Since 1986 the World Squash Federation has been working with the International Olympic Committee towards the target of Squash becoming an Olympic Sport.
The benefits to Squash of being on the programme are enormous: we would attract increased media coverage; make the sport accessible to a new generation of players; generate new development revenue and bring more nations into the Squash family as National Olympic Committees recognise the attributes of the sport and the opportunity for Olympic medals. Squash had high hopes for inclusion in the Sydney Games but sadly the host city elected to choose Taekwondo instead.
2020 The Process for Inclusion
Squash now gears up to try to persuade the IOC that our sport would be a valued addition to the Olympics in 2020, having missed out for Rio 2016. We learned at SportAccord in London in April that the decision date will be September 2013 when the IOC meets in Buenos Aires. The procedure involved was also clarified at SportAccord.
The starting point will be a ‘short’ questionnaire that will go to the current sports on the programme and those like us knocking on the door. It will request any new information we want to provide about innovations and general changes that are taking place within the sport.
After review, the IOC Programme Commission will then recommend to the IOC Executive Board the sports which they believe should be short-listed…….. and we will hear whether squash has made it when the list is finalised at the IOC Congress in Durban, South Africa in July this year. The one current medal sport to come out for 2020 will be announced then too.
The next stage will be a revised questionnaire for each sport which will feature full information, including seven more criteria that we shall have to cover.
Stages three and four will be presentations; the first to the IOC Programme Commission and the final one to the IOC Executive Board.
Then we hold our breath hoping that the decision in Buenos Aires goes our way!
But of course in addition to the required formalities we shall be developing a strategy, materials and pressing our case of what we bring to the Games via meetings, media and the presentation of the World Championships and PSA/WISPA Tour events. We will invite guests and hope that the Olympic Movement will attend these events in person as well as seeing squash’s television output.
The push starts now!