Friday, December 1, 2023

Olympic Bites: ‘Inclusion is sense of validation for squash’

After squash was confirmed as one of five new sports that will be introduced to the LA2028 Olympic Games, US Squash president and CEO Kevin Klipstein and star player Nouran Gohar have had their say.

“It’s extremely significant for squash to be part of the Olympics,” Klipstein said. “It’s a certain sense of validation for the sport to say we belong on the world’s brightest sports stage.

“It’s an incredible milestone, just a huge breakthrough for the sport. We couldn’t be happier. This is going to increase and be a catalyst for people’s awareness of the sport and how great it is.

Klipstein said that opening up the sport further would propel the sport.

“It’s then our jobs to help provide them access so that they can tap into all the great benefits of participating in the sport,” he added.

“We work with the Parks and Recreation department in Los Angeles, with the PlayLA program doing outdoor squash, so we’re really looking forward to continuing to develop Los Angeles and access to the sport.

“The Olympics will leave a huge legacy there because we’ll be leaving courts behind – outdoor courts, exhibition courts – so there’ll be a great legacy for the community in Los Angeles, both the squash community but also beyond it in terms of access to the sport.

The PSA, WSF and US Squash joined at the hip over a year ago as they sought to work with the LA Olympic committee.

LA organisers presented squash as one of five new sports in 2028 PIC: IOC

World No.2 Nouran Gohar and her husband Ziad Elsissy have set their sights on becoming the first married couple to win medals for Egypt at the same Olympic Games.

With a World Cup bronze medal, as well as a gold medal in the individual sabre event at the 2022 Mediterranean Games, Elsissy harbours ambitions of competing for medals at both the upcoming Paris Games and in Los Angeles in 2028, with Gohar looking to participate.

“That’s the goal, to push each other to firstly qualify for the Olympics, and then compete for a medal,” she said.

“I think we are both capable of doing this, but we know at the same time how many sacrifices, how much hard work, and how many tough times we are going to face, but I think it is worth it and it is worth every one of these struggles and sacrifices.

“I think we are very willing to be doing this and it is going to be a dream for our family.”

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