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Thursday, December 1, 2022

Squash and the Olympics: D-Day is looming

Lee Horton
Lee Hortonhttps://squashmad.com
Former Sun, Mirror, People and Sunday Express sports executive. Knows a bit about newspapers and the art of talking a good game. Brighter than some but a way to go to match others.

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Thomas Bach meets squash players in the Pan-Am Games
IOC chief Thomas Bach meets squash players in the Pan-Am Games

Tokyo countdown to 2020 Olympic hopes

Squash hopes to take another step closer a place in the Olympic Games on Monday (September 28) when the Tokyo 2020 management team announce their list of proposed additional events.

Squash is one of eight sports bidding for a coveted place, and the Tokyo panel have the freedom to choose as many as they wish.

If squash does receive a nomination, the agonising wait will continue for another 11 months, because the final decision on admitting new sports will be taken at the 129th IOC Session in Rio in August next year, ahead of the 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil.

The seven other sports hoping to join the Olympic Games in 2020 are baseball-softball, bowling, karate, roller sports, sport climbing, surfing and wushu.

Nicol David and young Japanese players Satomi Watanabe and Ryunosuke Tsukue
Nicol David and young Japanese players Satomi Watanabe and Ryunosuke Tsukue in Tokyo

Nicol David took centre stage in squash’s recent presentation in Tokyo, alongside two young Japanese players.

In previous bids, Ramy Ashour and Sarah Fitzgerald have also delivered persuasive arguments for squash’s inclusion, although events were overtaken by the unseemly politics surrounding the decision by the IOC to throw wrestling out of the rings only to allow them back into the voting process following intense international lobbying led by Russia and the USA.

With baseball hugely popular in Japan, the joint bid with softball is believed to be the hot favourite. But the absence of an upper limit could work in squash’s favour, with the IOC known to be sympathetic to the sport’s position following the wrestling debacle in Buenos Aires.

New IOC chief Thomas Bach made a point of popping in to watch the squash in the recent Pan-Am Games in Toronto, where the athletes were more than happy to urge him to support the bid for squash’s inclusion.

Let’s hope their persuasive arguments, and Bach’s promise to have a transparent, fair-play voting system, will give squash the green light.



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