Squash and the Olympics
13th August 2009, Decision Day ...
Letter from Jacques Rogge ...
Programme – Games of the XXXI Olympiad in 2016
Dear [WSF] President,
Following the meeting of the IOC Executive Board in Berlin
held today, we would like to inform you that the IOC
Executive Board has decided to present the sport (in
alphabetical order) of Golf and Rugby to the 121st IOC
Session in Copenhagen. The decision of the IOC Executive
Board was taken by secret ballot, in order to ensure an
equal chance for each sport.
On the occasion of your presentation to the Programme
Commission and the Executive Board, we have been most
impressed by the professionalism and thoroughness of your
proposition. Upon review of your documents, we certainly
noted progresses on many fronts since 2005, and you should
be commended for this positive evolution. We are convinced
that your dedication will further contribute to the
development of your sport.
Once more, on behalf of the IOC Executive Board and the
Programme Commission, I would like to thank you and the
entire Squash family for the work engaged and the excellent
collaboration we have enjoyed throughout the 2016 Programme
"Squash ticks all the boxes and this time we put together a
fantastic campaign. The IOC were looking for certain
criteria and we feel we fitted the bill really well.
"But I really feel for the athletes - it would have been the
pinnacle of their career to have competed in the Olympic
Games in 2016. I'm devastated on behalf of the whole sport.
"But we're a growing sport, with two tours that are going
from strength to strength, and we're getting more and more
people playing Squash."
news is really upsetting to all those who have supported our
bid and especially the players.
"Although the bid for 2016 didn’t go our way we do have the
2010 Commonwealth Games to look forward to and will
certainly push for inclusion of squash in the 2020 Olympics,
as we believe that it should be recognised as a mainstream
"Squash is played by men and women of all ages and is an
extremely athletic and fast paced sport with both health and
President, England Squash
"Forgive them, for they know not what they do." Poku Salo
"Breaking News 3016: Squash finally makes it to the
Olympics !!!!!!...... "Wait a second.......
"Nope sorry a slight mis-understanding it's Squach
the new sport where players pick an IOC member and kick his
ass to score ..." Tarek Momen
"Lost all faith in the olympics ... golf and rugby
sevens voted over squash.
"They may as well have put darts and short tennis in!" Joe Lee
"Very disappointed & sad for our great athletes that
deserve the Olympic stage. No way a Squash player would win
a major at 59!" Chris Walker
"Golf????? And Rugby 7's?? That'd be like having Mini Squash
as an Olympic Sport!!!!!!!!!!" Andy Holland
"Looking forward to seeing John Daly at the Olympics in
2016, smoking and hungover....the perfect Olympic
athlete!!!" Ramon Chan-a-Sue
How can you put an offshoot of a sport to the olympics????"
ps golfers aren't athletes. Kasey Brown
"At least I can now retire before I'm 36...
I'm off to get good at golf for 7 years' time ..." Nick Matthew
"Dear IOC, upon inclusion of the pastime/game/leisure
activity of golf please remove the term "athlete" from all
Olympic reference material." Brad Burke
"We have to work much harder to raise the profile of squash
if we are to mount a new bid for 2020." Alan Thatcher
World Squash Day
"Squash won't be olympic in 2016... Golf and rugby
at 7!!! May be we can try to play squash at 7 on the court,
we might have more chance..." Celia Allamargot
"Requiring immense skill, stamina and courage, and
being played and represented globally by some of the fittest
sportsman in the world, most people believe that squash is
already in the Olympics because it’s the sort of sport that
should be!" Phil Nightingale
"Sick of squash being considered a second class
sport. Does Tiger Woods really need an Olympic Gold?"
"Gutted Squash has not made it into the Olympics,
where is the logic? Answer: these people do not know what
they are doing!"
"Quitting squash to take up golf, maybe I'll get to
play that in the Olympics when I'm 80. Get real IOC...
Golf???? HONESTLY???" Melody Francis
bitterly disappointed at the decision to recommend golf and
rugby 7s for inclusion in the 2016 Olympic Games ahead of
"I remain firmly of the belief that squash is far better
suited to the Olympic Games than either of the other two
"Squash has invested heavily in developing the sport over
the past four years and has greatly improved the game both
for players and spectators.
"Squash players are renowned for their endurance abilities
and their fighting qualities, and I’m sure everyone involved
will stay focused on the ultimate goal of becoming an
"We are fully deserving of being in the Olympic Games."
Chief Exec, Squash Australia
Golf's Olympic nod
is travesty Brian Viner,
Independent, 15 August 2009
Never mind the furore over women's boxing, it is the
admission of golf as an Olympic sport that depresses me. I
love golf, but as a general rule of thumb, no sport should
be admitted into the Olympic Games if there is negligible
chance of an Olympic gold medal ever representing its most
Thus, tennis has no place in the Olympics, and nor does
golf. It is sad, if not downright pathetic, that the
International Olympic Committee pandered to the powerful
golf lobby while again overlooking the claims of karate and
squash, to name but two examples of globally popular sports
that would benefit immeasurably from the IOC's endorsement.
hearing the news that squash has not made the final two for
inclusion in to the 2016 Olympic games I think it is fair to
say the whole squash community is devastated.
"Maybe to some people squash being part of 2016 was nothing
more than a pipe dream, but I can tell you many people have
worked tirelessly trying to make all our dreams become a
"Everyone involved (far too many to mention, but you know
who you are) deserve much praise for the effort they have
put in over the past six months in order to give ourselves
the best possible chance of getting in and I think that is
exactly what we did, give ourselves the best chance, but
unfortunately on this occasion we came up short.
"The WSF has to learn from the experiences of the last four
years, put together a strategic plan and most importantly
make sure the right people are in the right positions to
make things happen.
"People who genuinely love the game of squash don’t give up
and never will, there has to be a period of reflection on
what went right and what went wrong but make no mistake,
when that period is over we have to come back bigger and
stronger than ever before.
"We will raise the profile of the game, we will raise the
profile of the players and we will give this sport the
‘commercial value’ that seems to be so important to the IOC.
"With or without the Olympics our sport needs to improve its
commercial value and this is something the IOC’s decision
has clearly highlighted.
speak for the whole sport when I say that we are hugely
disappointed that the IOC Executive Board have not selected
squash to face the wider IOC vote in Copenhagen in October.
"I believe that squash has come a long way in the last four
years, not just in order try and gain Olympic inclusion but
for the benefit of the sport as a whole.
"We have invested in developments and listened to players at
all levels in order to help progress the sport. I believe
that through this we have been able to take squash to a new
"Although we will not see our dream of being part of the
Olympic Games from 2016, we will continue to improve the
sport wherever possible, and will not give up on the belief
that squash is deserving of and ready for Olympic status."
Squash: 'Nul Points'
It actually took six regular rounds of voting to determine
the winners. Rugby made it with the necessary majority
of nine votes in the second round after receiving seven in
the first round in which Squash and Roller Sports
received no votes at all.
Golf started with only one vote in rounds one and two,
received three in the third round and made the
necessary nine votes in the sixth round after receiving six
and seven respectively in between.
Karate came closest to joining Rugby, actually leading the
first round with five votes, gaining five votes in the third
round, four each in rounds four and five –but only three in
final round. Softball was the only other sport to make it to
the final round, steadily receiving two points from the
second through to the sixth round.
So squash got one vote, but we thrashed
Roller Sports in the playoff ...
"Golf & Rugby will be a great addition ... it came down to
adding value ..."
and rugby will be a great addition to the Games”, Jacques
Rogge said after announcing the IOC Executive Board’s
decision to propose to the Copenhagen IOC Session in October
to vote for GOLF and RUGBY to be added to the program of the
2016 Olympic Games in London.
The IOC president saw reason to have it stated in a press
release he “elected not to take part” in the secret vote.
“All seven sports made a strong case for inclusion, and the
EB carefully evaluated them in a transparent and fair
process. In the end, the decision came down to which two
would add the most value,” said Dr. Rogge.
After referring to the key factors in determining a sport’s
suitability for the Olympic programme include youth appeal,
universality, popularity, good governance, respect for
athletes and respect for the Olympic values, he added: “Golf
and rugby scored high on all the criteria.
“They have global appeal, a geographically diverse line-up
of top iconic athletes and an ethic that stresses fair
All changes to the sports programme for 2016 are provisional
and will be reviewed after the 2016 Games.
disappointment. We’ve done more than we’ve ever done and
it’s a gut-shot. Squash deserves on paper to be an Olympic
sport but with the IOC have a set of criteria and by their
choices it is quite obvious that we have some work to do in
terms of our governance and the exposure of our sport.
“Rugby and of course golf are another world. They are
machines. I don’t think we are looking to compete with them
but I think we can show we can bring something to the
“In terms of athleticism, skill and universality we deserve
to be there. However we have some work to do on how we
approach the bid and what we can do to make our sport more
of a commercial vehicle.
“I felt like I have put my heart and soul into this bid and
personally I am gutted. I think we have some very exciting
things coming up and some joint ventures with WISPA and the
PSA which is essential going forward.
“If we keep pressing on I think we will get seen. If we make
the right decisions and we treat it much more like a
business and get much more corporate we will be able to do
some wonderful things. This is a terrific game and people
“I think it is going to be a bit of a wake-up call for the
WSF. They really need to sit down and take a hard look at
what was and wasn’t done. We need to start working much more
together and we can’t hide behind political this and
political that. We need to take a hard look at ourselves and
not just think we deserve something.
“We work our arses off to compete and I think we need to
work our arses off to get into what is the biggest sporting
event in the world – the Olympic Games. Resting on our
laurels and leaving it too late has possibly been to the
detriment of squash.
“We need to find out what it is that the IOC really want. I
think getting no votes from the executive board in the first
round - that’s unbelievable to me. That we could be so far
off – thinking that we were potentially in the top three for
inclusion but we were nowhere near.
“Looking at it then it seems it was always going to be golf
and rugby sevens. When you then examine what we were up
against you get an understanding of where we need to get to
if we are serious about getting into the Olympics. Golf and
rugby sevens know about the corporate world and they know
about business and that’s what it is.”
World #2, WISPA President
Sevens? Why not Olympic pitch and
putt? Des Kelly, Daily Mail, 15 August 2009
Having already delivered one excruciating verdict, the
Olympic committee are now trying to pass two more decisions
that I hope hurt more than kidney stones. They plan to add
golf and rugby sevens to the already overblown Games
itinerary by 2016.
Quite simply, golf has no place at the Olympics.
Advocates point out it is a very popular participation
sport, but then so is fishing and I don’t see anglers being
ushered to the podium.
The rule for the Olympics should always be: ‘ Is winning
gold the pinnacle of the sport?' If not, it shouldn’t be at
No golfer will ever care more about winning an Olympic gong
than the Open Championship. It’s the same with tennis and
football; two more sports that have no place there.
As for rugby sevens, it’s just an artificially truncated
version of a proper game. What next, Olympic five-a-side
football? Or how about pitch-and-putt instead of golf, just
to be consistent?
Sevens chiefs insist a huge number of countries take part,
but here’s a list of every World Cup finalist since the
inception of the competition: England, Australia, South
Africa, New Zealand, Wales, Fiji and Argentina.
Add France, Ireland and Tonga to the list and you’ve
basically named the entire ‘rugby world’.
The truth is rugby sevens is only being introduced to enable
organisers to fill stadiums left empty until the athletics
starts in the second week.
Golf is only being courted because it attracts juicy,
big-name commercial sponsors.
The Olympics is meant to be about gold, silver and bronze.
But these days they prefer cash, thanks very much.
Today marked a crucial step for the sport of squash in its
bid for inclusion in the Olympic Games from 2016. A team of
six squash representatives made their most important
presentation so far to the International Olympic Committee
(IOC) Executive Board in Lausanne, Switzerland. But it was
the youngest member of the group, 13 year old Hanna
Fekede Balcha, who was the star of the show.
Hanna is Ethiopian, but her family moved to San Diego, USA,
when she was nine years old to build a new life for
themselves. Hanna was accepted to the Surf City squash
program in San Diego which enables students to play squash
alongside their studies.
Through a structured programme which promotes hard work,
both academically and physically, Hanna has progressed to
being a Grade A student as well as Under 15 Urban Squash
Champion. Her aspirations are now to push boundaries even
further in becoming the first member of her family to go to
university but also, at 20 years old, her dream is to
represent Ethiopia at the Olympic Games in 2016.
Hanna joined the team consisting of IOC Member and Squash
Patron, HRH Prince Imran of Malaysia, President of
the World Squash Federation (WSF), N Ramachandran,
women’s world No 1, Nicol David of Malaysia, former
world champion, Frenchman Thierry Lincou and the up
and coming South African, Siyoli Lusaseni.
Prince Imran introduced the team, and the Executive Board
was then shown a spectacular video, highlighting a number of
the key areas that squash believe make them a worthy
candidate for inclusion.
Among these were the progression the sport has made to be
easier and more enjoyable to watch on television, the pledge
that the top athletes would compete, the range of
nationalities that would be represented (current rankings
show there would be 30 different countries involved) the low
cost and accessibility of the sport around the world.
President Ramachandran went on to explain how the WSF has
improved the infrastructure of the game, and the way in
which the professional organisations work to ensure that
squash is totally ready to be easily incorporated into the
He also talked about the ease and low cost addition of
squash as well as how the sport can easily be hosted in any
of the four 2016 bid cities. The players each outlined why,
as athletes, the Olympic Games are so important to them
personally, and the many benefits which squash can bring to
people’s lives, and to the Olympics.
was really nervous but enjoyed doing the presentation today.
It has been amazing to travel to Switzerland and meet my
"I feel like squash has given me so many opportunities that
I wouldn’t have had otherwise that when I was asked to take
part in this presentation I jumped at the chance.
"I would be so happy to compete at the Olympic Games."
am very proud of the presentation we have put together and
what we have achieved in getting this far.
"I believe that we have showed squash to its full potential.
"I know that we have much to offer the Olympic community,
and I hope that the IOC will see the merits of our
New Squash 2016 Video
Thierry Lincou, Nicol David, N Ramachandran, Hanna Fekede
HRH Tunku Imran, Siyoli Lusaseni, Scott Garrett
The Presentation: Rami
introduction, Nicol, Siyoli ...
HOT OFF THE LINCOU PRESS…
just got out, we are all still like shellshocked, but also
like freed, the pressure, a positive one, and now, the
relief. Tears were running, tension just disappeared, the
feeling of a great team work well achieved… It’s just an
amazing moment we just all lived through.
It has to be noted that we were last on, so, we told each
other that we had to be really stunning, as all the
committee members must have been a bit tired, listening to
the six previous presentations…
I must admit that I’ve done a few presentations in my
career, and I have felt great emotions, but when I entered
that room, when I saw the distinguished audience… you know
you are about to talk to la crème de la crème, you know you
are entering a different dimension.
And not only I could feel my heart beating like never
before, but I swear I could hear it beating, resounding,
boom boom, boom boom, it was impressive!
It was all about the team work we had to do, the
responsibility I was carrying, the message I was trying to
transmit, but all about the implication and the repercussion
of the words that I, as part of the team, was about to
But really, it must be stressed that the star of the show,
the one that impressed me, and all in the room, was Hannah,
the little girl from Ethiopia. At 13, her poise, her calm,
her speech and delivery were impressive, and everybody fell
under her charm.
To the point that when Jacques Rogge, at the end, asked if
there were any questions, nobody raised their hand. It was
like nobody dared break the spell.
From my own point of view, I never felt such pressure. Now,
we have done our utmost best, our destiny is within their
hands… To win our bet, we had to play the Perfect Match, we
didn’t have the right to a single tin.
And I truly believe that is what we did…
THE FRENCH VIEW
may not know this, but Thierry Lincou was playing on Sunday
for his Marseille Team in our French Team Championship.
Normally,we would have played the final around 14.00, maybe
Well, thanks for the Presentation, Thierry had to be in
Lausanne at 17.00 that day. Mmmmm.
Only solution, to play his match at 10am, for him to catch
the 12.30 train from Aix, to get a car from Lyon and then
drive to Lausanne.
I can’t tell you how glad we were all to be following a
final at 10 freeking am!!!!
But then, it was for the best reason of them all, our
possible inclusion to the Olympics.
Right after the presentation, Thierry expressed the emotions
he felt throughout the “show”.
Emotions, yes, I guess that’s the right term for it….
PS. And Marseille did win the title, for the first time in
their long history… Could that be an omen?
The Presentation: Thierry,
Hanna, Rami conclusion.
to reports on "Inside
the Games", it looks likely that after today's
presentations only two sports will be put forward to the
whole IOC assemble in October.
There had been speculation that three, or four, may be put
forward to give the assemble choice, but those hopes were
dashed today when IOC President Jacques Rogge made
clear at the end of the presentations that it would be a
choice of two.
Rogge said: "All seven sports made interesting and
informative presentations. All have something to offer. In
the end, the decision will come down to which are the best
fit for the Olympic programme."
Christophe Dubi, the IOC's Sports Director, said:
"They were asked what value added do you think you will
bring to the Games and the Olympic Movement and in return
what will the Games bring to your sport. They have all done
this exercise with different arguments."
All the sports emerged from their presentations professing
confidence about how well they had done. But the feeling
remains that golf and rugby sevens remain the strong front
runners, reported Duncan Mackay in Lausanne for Inside
In a new twist, the IOC said that even those five sports
which fail to make the cut in August will be invited to
If the two recommended sports fail to win majority approval
from the IOC assembly, it's possible the other five could
still get a chance to be voted onto the program, IOC sports
director Christophe Dubi said.
As part of the bidding process, squash was invited to send a
representative to the recent 4th International Athletes
Forum, the meeting of the IOC Athletes’ Commission in
Alex Gough, CEO of the Professional Squash
Association, attended on the sport’s behalf and took part in
valuable discussions with a variety of Olympic sports and
was a really valuable experience, and I felt that we made
some very good input across the board as well as learning
from sports who have enjoyed Olympic status for years.
"In particular, squash players are very well represented by
our professional bodies, and a number of sports were very
interested in how we do this so successfully," said Gough.
11-Jun-09: ‘Low-Cost High-Impact’ Squash
prepares for Presentation of a Lifetime The
Squash 2016 bid team is making final preparations for its
presentation of the low-cost high-impact sport to the
International Olympic Committee (IOC) Executive Board in
Lausanne, on Monday 15 June, in its endeavour to have
squash included in the Olympic Games from 2016.
All seven bidding sports will make presentations, and squash
believes that it has all the right attributes to make it
worthy of a spot. The bid team will have 30 minutes to prove
its worth to the Executive Board. The team of six will be
led by IOC Member, HRH Prince Tunku Imran of
Malaysia, and will include N Ramachandran, President
of the World Squash Federation, and women’s world No1,
Nicol David, along with three other players from across
As well as debuting a brand new video that highlights just
how good squash looks on television, the team will also talk
about the impressive universality of squash, and what a
low-cost addition to the Olympic Games the sport would be.
Just two glass squash courts would be required to stage the
competition, and the WSF has pledged to donate these to the
host city. The courts can be placed almost anywhere and
importantly their donation would be permanent, so squash
would leave a lasting legacy in Chicago, Madrid, Rio de
Janeiro or Tokyo.
The players will explain how an Olympic medal would be the
highest honour within the sport; all the top squash athletes
in the world have pledged to be there and to compete. Squash
has champions in territories that aren’t typically
successful at the Olympic Games, and is the only sport to
have enjoyed World Champions, men and women, from every
team has put an enormous amount of work into Monday’s
presentation, which is a reflection of how important Olympic
inclusion is to the whole of squash.
"We are looking forward to the opportunity to address the
Executive Board and highlight the many ways in which squash
fulfils the criteria to become an Olympic sport."
seven shortlisted sports (Squash, Karate, Golf, Rugby,
Baseball, Softball, Roller Sports) make their presentations
to the IOC Executive Board next week.
The board will then decide on up to two sports to be put
forward to the full IOC in August, where a simple majority
vote will be required for the chosen sports (if any) to be
included for 2016.
squash puts it case to the ICO in June, one of the big
selling points will be its universality - the questionnaire
presented to the IOC said it's played in 175 countries, but
we suspect it's more.
The Olympic Bid Team would love to hear of courts in places
we didn't know about, so that they can tell the IOC that
it's even more universal than we thought.
So, if you know of any courts in farflung locations - the
table on the right shows some of the counties and info we're
looking for - please let us know, and you can be
responsible for helping Squash into the Olympics ...
The winners of the European Junior U19 Team Squash
Championships in Germering, Germany, have all put their
names to the Squash 2016 bid, citing winning at the Olympic
Games as the greatest sporting achievement imaginable.
Second seeded team Germany shocked the crowds by
beating England, seeded number one and Championship
favourites. This was the second time in four years that
Germany has won the European Squash Federation title.
The individual element of the Championships was a different
story with England clinching both the men’s and women’s
number one spots.
know I speak for all my team mates when I say that as
athletes, the chance to compete in the Olympics would be a
great goal for us all.
"As U19 champions we now have some idea of how good victory
feels, but the chance to win an Olympic medal for Germany
would be incredible.
"We should all be at the top of our game in 2016 and the
perfect age to compete; I only hope we get the chance to
Germany, individual bronze, team champion
2016 I’ll be 26, which would be the perfect age for me to
compete in the Olympics.
"I really hope that this dream can be achieved and squash
gets a chance to show what an amazing and diverse sport it
European Junior Champion
2016 I’ll be 26 when I should be at the peak of my squash
career. Being the U19’s European champion is fantastic and I
now can’t wait to make my mark on the senior circuit.
"My biggest ambition would be to get an Olympic medal, it’s
the ultimate goal and nothing else could come close."
30-Mar-09: Squash and the Olympics -
There is little time to rest for New Zealander Susie
Simcock as the bid continues for squash to be included
in the 2016 Olympic Games.
The World Squash Federation's Emeritus President has just
returned from the United States, where she has been on the
campaign trail at SportAccord in Denver. However, the
stop in Auckland has been short lived, with barely enough
time to re-pack her bag before whistling off to Wellington.
Ms Simcock will attend a Parliamentary reception for IOC
President Jacques Rogge tonight. The reception will be
hosted by New Zealand Prime Minister John Key, himself a
former top squash player. Mr Rogge is in New Zealand for
this week's Oceania Olympic Committee (ONOC) General
Assembly in Queenstown.
Seven sports are vying for two spots available at the 2016
Games, with Squash, Golf, Rugby, Roller Sport, Softball and
Baseball on the shortlist.
The squash fraternity has lobbied long and hard after
missing out on the vote for the 2012 Games, with
administrators and players united in the belief that the
sport is a perfect fit for the Olympics.
They will get their chance to state their case yet again in
Queenstown tomorrow, when the rival sports will all give
presentations at the ONOC general assembly. WSF Vice
President Gerard de Courcy, also a New Zealander,
will present the case for squash, with Susie Simcock and
Oceania Squash President Col Clapper in support.
Representatives of the Tokyo, Rio de Janeiro, Chicago and
Madrid bids will also make presentations, ahead of voting
for the 2016 hosting rights later this year.
19-Mar-09: Squash will take
into new markets ... Richard Eaton reports
Squash would take the Olympics into new markets if it were
to succeed in getting into the 2016 Games, according to one
of its all-time greats, Peter Nicol, who won four
Commonwealth gold medals and was world number one for a
total of 60 months - but was denied the chance to play in an
The sport-in-a-room should score heavily in the votes to be
announced in October because it is well represented in
developing parts of the world, and in Asia, and among Muslim
women, says Nicol, who is an ambassador for his sport's bid
and was making a presentation at the
ATCO Super Series
finals at Queens Club.
among the top players in the world there is a huge variety
of countries not necessarily going to be in the top part of
the Olympic medal table.
“Nicol David has been world number one for nearly three
years and could win a gold medal for Malaysia which would be
the first Olympic gold Malaysia has won.
“Egypt currently has three men in the world's top four, and
Mexico has Samantha Teran who is highly ranked now.
“We have got players from all over the world achieving great
things in squash, which is appealing to the Olympic
“We can take the Olympics into new markets, and the Games
would do the same for us. Countries not well repvesented in
the medal charts would succeed.”
Squash also considers its
strengths to be maximum impact at$minimal cost. It can place
a portable court at any venue in almost any place, and
especially where there is a spectacular backdrop, attracting
television and enhancing a city's profile.
It is also economical, leaves no waste, and will create a
legacy of courts to the host country, Nicol pointed out.
Squash's long-term weakness, not televising well, has been
largely eradicated by new technology which makes the ball
much more$visible. It can also claim to be one of the
healthiest of sports and would offer the organisational
advantage of having minimal athlete numbers at the Games.
It was also the new sport which got the closest to inclusion
for the London 2012 Games. However it faces tougher
competition this time from six sports – golf, baseball,
softball, rugby sevens, karate, and rollers sports.
A decision on which of these sports should occupy two places
available for 2016 will be made in Copenhagen in October.
At a packed press conference in Kuala Lumpur (does anyone have any
email@example.com ), Nicol David, the Women’s World
No1 from Malaysia, announced that she is to become an ambassador for
Squash 2016, the sport’s campaign to be included in the
Olympic Games from 2016. An additional four top athletes have been
added to the list of three players already announced, meaning the
bid team now have eight sporting Ambassadors flying the flag for the
sport the globe over.
Nicol, who has been ranked No1 for an incredible three years,
highlighted how important the Olympic Games are to her: “For an
athlete there is no higher pinnacle of sporting achievement than an
Olympic medal. No Malaysian has ever won a gold medal, and I would
like to be the first. Squash is really strong in Asia, and making it
an Olympic sport would give all Asian women something incredible to
The other new ambassadors for Squash 2016 are: Rebecca Chiu,
Hong Kong’s top female player; Siyoli Lusaseni, the South
African player; Saurav Ghosal, Indian No1; and Englishman
Alister Walker, winner of three PSA titles.
They are joining the initial three ambassadors: former world
champion Thierry Lincou (France); world number three and
current World Open Champion Ramy Ashour (Egypt); and
Samantha Teran, the first Mexican woman to earn a world top 20
Natalie Grainger, Squash 2016 Bid Team member and World No4,
also spoke at the press conference, saying: “Squash is a sport with
worldwide appeal, and the fact that the two top players in the world
come from Malaysia and Egypt mean that as a sport we can help take
the Olympic Games into countries that don’t typically produce
“As a player I’m so excited about this opportunity and we’re
determined to help it happen,” added the Pan American Games
Squash, played in 175 countries by over 20 million people, is
bidding against six other sports for inclusion in the Olympic Games.
The IOC Executive Board will meet to assess submissions from each of
the sports in June, before the final vote by all of the IOC voting
members in October.
Ziad Al-Turki, Peter Nicol, Thierry Lincou, Natalie Grainger, Ramy
Ashour, Samantha Teran, Lee Beachill, Alex Gough
27-Jan-09: World Squash Athlete
Ambassadors rally in New York
Grand Central Terminal in New York provided the perfect platform for
the first meeting of Squash’s Olympic Athlete Ambassadors, a
select group of leading players nominated by the PSA and WISPA as
the sport's two international player bodies rallied to the call from
the World Squash Federation to spearhead the sport’s bid to join the
Olympic Games programme in 2016.
Both organisations have pledged their full and unwavering support to
the WSF-led campaign.
“We are working very closely with both PSA and WISPA – both of whose
boards and membership are totally supportive of the Olympic
campaign,” said the WSF’s Olympic Bid Manager Scott Garrett.
“The purpose of appointing Athlete Ambassadors is to have real,
live, participating athletes to represent the sport to the IOC and
any interested parties seeking information about the sport regarding
the sport's efforts to get into the Olympics," added Garrett.
Natalie Grainger, ranked four in the world and President of
WISPA, echoed the WSF's commitment: "We have come together because
we fully represent what Squash is all about: we are not only
eloquent, and span a broad mix of cultures, but we are passionate
about Squash becoming an Olympic sport,” said the new Athlete
"For us, and all elite players, the Olympic Games would be the
absolute highlight of the Squash calendar," added Grainger.
The initial line-up of Squash’s Olympic
Athlete Ambassadors is:
Natalie Grainger (USA), the WISPA President and former world
number one who is the reigning Pan American Games champion
Lee Beachill (England), the PSA President; a former world
number one and two times Commonwealth Games gold medallist and
three-time British National champion
Peter Nicol (England), a board member of the PSA and former
world champion who has won four Commonwealth Games gold medals and
has held the world number one ranking for 60 months
Thierry Lincou (France), a former world champion and world
number one, currently ranked seven in the world, who has been French
National champion a record ten times
Ramy Ashour (Egypt), the 21-year-old world number three and
reigning world champion who became the first player to win two
successive world junior men’s titles
Samantha Teran (Mexico), a three-time winner of the Pan
American championship and the first Mexican woman to earn a world
top 20 ranking