As part of the
International Olympic Committee (IOC) process to determine
which of the sports it has shortlisted should claim a place on
the programme for the
each of the seven candidates sports are due to receive an IOC
‘inspection’ at one of their high-profile events over the final
few months of 2012.
In squash’s case the event that has been chosen is the
Hong Kong Open,
which is being held from
25th November to
was an honour for us to be chosen as the IOC inspection event,”
Mr David Mui, MH, JP,
Chairman of HK Squash, “but with that comes a responsibility to
present the tournament, and the sport, in its best possible
light to the IOC delegation to ensure that squash gets the
chance we all feel it deserves to become part of the Olympic
“Hong Kong Squash is very proud to hold the Hong Kong Open for
the 27th time,” added Mr Mui. “All have been sponsored by
Pacific and recently
Sun Hung Kai
Financial, and the
tournament is a major sporting event in Hong Kong each year and
presents the very best players in the world.
“The waterfront setting really shows the world the spectacular
Victoria Harbour. We bring squash to the people rather than
bringing people to squash.
“We look forward to welcoming the inspectors from the IOC to our
championships and can assure them that they will enjoy Hong
Kong, and that they will see another great year of the Hong Kong
One of the longest-standing events on the world scene, the Hong
Kong Open has been held since 1985 and is one of the few
tournaments which brings the world’s best men and women together
in two top-tier tournaments - the equivalent of one of tennis’
Grand Slam events.
Kong Squash Centre,
located in the Central district on the edge of the beautiful
Hong Kong Park, provides the ideal venue with its abundant
glassback courts and a three-glass-walled Centre Court that
provides a unique atmosphere and has been the scene of many a
dramatic match in front of a passionate and knowledgeable
In recent years the venue for the final stages - semi-finals and
finals - have been alternated between two equally spectacular
Shopping Mall in Kowloon,
its central plaza with three tiers, provides a great view of
world class squash for Hong Kong’s many aficionados and for
thousands of passers-by .
The ‘other’ location provides one of the most spectacular venues
for any sporting event. Sitting alongside
Cultural Centre on the
harbour front Piazza, world class squash is played out to the
backdrop of Hong Kong Island across Victoria Harbour, with the
spectacularly lit skyscrapers, seemingly nestling at the foot of
the mountains, providing an awe-inspiring sight for players,
spectators and passers-by alike.
And that's where this year's event will be concluded.
the great names of the sport have played in Hong Kong, but two
names dominate recent events - Amr
Shabana won five
successive events including the second of his four World Open
titles from 2005 to 2009, while Malaysian superstar
has won seven in a row and will start hot favourite for an
eighth title this year.
We’ll be talking to those and other players in future articles
in this series as the event draws near, but for now attention is
focused on preparations for the IOC inspection.
was a mixture of delight and apprehension when we were told that
we were to be the inspection event,” said
Executive Director of Hong Kong Squash.
“On the one hand it was an honour to feel that the Hong Kong
Open would be used as a showcase event, but on the other we know
we have to make every possible effort to make this year’s event
special with a hope that the whole sport can look forward to
being part of a wonderful occasion every four years.
“The balloons, the rattles and an extra large supply of Hong
Kong’s famous custard tarts are already ordered,” added Mak,” a
combination which the IOC delegation surely won’t be able to
As a centrepiece in the World Squash Federation’s bid for
Olympic inclusion, after narrow failures in the last two
processes, the sport’s governing body is confident that Hong
Kong can deliver:
couldn’t have been happier that the IOC selected Hong Kong for
the squash leg of its inspection tour,” said WSF CEO
Andrew Shelley. “The
tournament and the venue have long been recognised as one of the
favourite and best organised events, and we have every
confidence that the Hong Kong Squash team will do us proud once
“All the elements that have made the sport so much stronger in
recent years will be in evidence in Hong Kong - the all-glass
court, video review system, vastly improved streaming and TV
coverage, and we’re confident that the event will be exactly
what the IOC are looking for in a candidate sport.
“We’ve filled in the questionnaire, we are preparing our
presentation to the Programme Commission, we have produced a
stunning bid video. We've done our bit, and now we look forward
to the show in Hong Kong,” concluded Shelley with a wry grin ...