By LEE HORTON
SQUASH is facing another Olympic-sized kick in the teeth after it was revealed that rivals Baseball and Softball are being considered for a place in the 2020 Tokyo Games.
The squash bid for 2020, which cost the sport in excess of £1m, was rejected at the IOC meeting earlier this year when wrestling won the vote leaving squash and baseball/softball frozen out.
Now, in a remarkable about turn, IOC president Thomas Bach said on Wednesday that bringing back the baseball and softball, which were dropped from the Olympic programme after 2008, is a hot-button topic in baseball-mad Japan.
Baseball-softball finished second in the three-way ballot, with squash third, two votes behind.
And Bach admitted“Personally I am open to more flexibility in the programme for the Olympic Games,but we must see what my colleagues are thinking about this.”
Baseball and softball were on the Olympic programme from 1992 to 2008 but voted out in a secret ballot in 2005, becoming the first sports to be removed since polo in 1936.
Bach, who was elected president at the same September IOC meeting where Tokyo was chosen to be the first city in Asia to host the Olympics for a second time, is expected to push through changes and has said there should be flexibility about the number of Olympic sports.
On Wednesday, he said the case for baseball/softball would be taken up at upcoming IOC meetings, including in December and in February.
It will be a staggering blow for squash who put together a superb campaign bid but became victims on IOC politics after wrestling was ejected from the Games, then re-instated after heavy pressure thought to come from Russia and the USA.