Squash a 2020 Olympic Sport? : IOC Decision this Sunday 8th Sept.
As a retired professional squash player myself, I have had countless conversations with friends and acquaintances who argue with me that Squash is already an Olympic sport, surely, I mean, why wouldn’t it be? They almost don’t believe me when I say that it is not yet an Olympic sport. It’s frustrating on many levels for all of us, passionate and convinced of its validity.
So I am relieved to know that by the end of this week, all squash enthusiasts will know whether their sport has made it into the 2020 Olympic Games or has failed to impress the IOC for the third time.
I hope this time it’s different and campaigners have posted the highest profile campaign yet. The IOCs decision in Buenos Aires of whether to admit squash, rather than wrestling or softball/baseball into the 2020 Olympics will have huge consequences for the sport. The bid has not only cost squash millions financially over two years but also hours of tireless promotion, presentations and worldwide travel by our federation and many of our leading professional players.
Both world number 1 players, Egyptian Ramy Ashour and Malaysia’s Nicol David have given up hours and days of their time selflessly promoting their sport in an attempt to persuade the Olympic committee that squash is the right sport to be included in 2020.
Nicol’s statement, that she would ‘swap all seven of her World Championship titles for one Olympic gold’ demonstrates the passion players feel about squash being part of the world’s greatest sporting event. Squash fulfils the strict criteria set down by the IOC, ie it’s global and has gender equality. Squash is also easy to integrate into the games with its portable glass courts, which showcases the dynamic sport in spectacular locations around the globe, for example; Grand Central Station, alongside the Pyramids and earlier this year inside Hull City’s KC stadium.
All this, yet it’s still missing the biggest showcase of all – the Olympic Games. An important point that has been pushed by the World Squash Federation in lobbying for the final place against wrestling and softball/baseball is that squash is the only truly ‘new sport’ in contention.
Wrestling was omitted for Rio, which seems to have stunned the sport into modernising and softball/baseball were dropped in 2008. The squash world will wait with baited breath on Sunday in hope that the discreet voting of the 104 delegates will swing our way and include squash into the 2020 Olympics, the most prestigious and lucrative investment in sport. It’s way too late for me, obviously and it will even be too late for Nicol and Ramy but for future generations we’re all holding our breath. Lisa Opie MBE, MOst, BSc HonsEx World no 1. First British female to win the British Open title in 30 years in 1991
Follow Lisa on Twitter @osteopathwestTagged in: 2020 Olympics, Lisa Opie, olympic bid, squash
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