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Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Squash is “ready to walk through Olympic door”

Alan Thatcherhttps://squashmad.com
Founder of World Squash Day, Squash Mad and the new Squash 200 Partnership, building clubs of the future. Founder of the Kent Open and co-promoter of the St. James's Place Canary Wharf Classic. Author and Public Speaker.

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WSF pins hopes on IOC review of flawed voting process

WSF boss Ramachandran with Nicol David and Ramy Ashour in Buenos Aires
WSF boss Ramachandran with Nicol David and Ramy Ashour in Buenos Aires

The World Squash Federation (WSF) say that squash is ready to “walk through the door” should the IOC offer a place in the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo. 

Despite suffering a devastating rebuff in the most recent bid for a place in the Games (in Buenos Aires last year), the WSF has continued to lobby the IOC and has been encouraged by moves set in motion by new IOC president Thomas Bach.

The new IOC chief was embarrassed by the voting system that allowed wrestling to enter a selection process that had been set up to allow “a new sport” into the Games. 

This was clearly a contradiction of their stated position and squash is hoping for a quick change of heart. A review process called “Olympic Agenda 2020” has been in place since last December and, 12 months on, the IOC is ready to debate the findings of the various reports.  

Following a hugely successful Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Squash Mad revealed the fact that a review process was in place that could finally deliver a deserved place in the Olympics for the sport.

Golden Games gives squash an Olympic boost

The latest WSF Update reveals the following: 

The squash bid for a place on the Olympic Games, Tokyo 2020 concluded in Buenos Aires in September 2013 when wrestling was voted back in.

bachiocHowever, that gathering also saw the election of Thomas Bach (right) as President of the IOC, taking over from retiring Jacques Rogge. Since then there has been change in the air.

Last December ‘Olympic Agenda 2020’ was put in place so that all elements of IOC business could be reviewed. There have been IOC Commission and Olympic Summits, as well as an IOC Session where discussions have been had and fourteen Working Groups were set up to bring forward recommendations.

These Working Groups’ findings were presented to the IOC Executive Board during October and will be voted upon by the membership during the IOC Extraordinary Session in Monte Carlo on 8 / 9 December, having been reviewed by the IOC Executive Board on 23 / 24 October.

The relevance for squash is that among the reported 40 recommendations, which are understood to broadly cover sustainability, credibility and youth, are the way that the programme of sports and events are developed and how access will take place in the future.

We don’t know what they are at present as they will not be made public for some weeks, but it is thought that the emphasis will change from a cap of events to a cap of athletes, and that additional sports could still be added to increase flexibility.

It is also clear that, given host city approval, the sports programme for 2020 can be altered despite it already having been fixed.

Due to the assiduous efforts of WSF President Ramachandran throughout this period, our case for inclusion has been vigorously made and the strength of it recognised by key IOC people.

The door is now ajar again. If it opens further in Monte Carlo, in advance of a final decision next year, squash is ready to walk through it.

See also, Inside The Games

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1 Comment

  1. The 32 Draw proposed will be affected by the “maximum of two players from any one Nation” factor. This means that at least 16 nations will compete, probably more than 20. Selection will be difficult for some, Egypt and Great Britain for example, with their top players in the Top 20 World Rankings. Periods lost through injury affect rankings, injuries can also affect those who will have been selected during the run-up to an Olympic Games. With this in mind, I feel that a 64 Draw would be a fairer event, and the very least that the sport deserves.

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