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07-Jul:
Jahangir makes the
case on NZ Radio


The WSF delegation is in Singapore to press the case for squash in Friday's IOC vote, and President Jahangir Khan took time out for a radio interview with Willie Lose [pronounced LO-say] on New Zealand's Radio Sport.

Thanks to Gary Denvir of NZ squash for arranging the interview.

Listen to the interview
  
Jahangir: "forget my British and World titles"
  

Friday 8th ... Decision Day

The IOC session in Singapore concludes on Friday with votes to determine the sports to participate in the London 2012 games.

All 28 current sports require a majority vote from IOC delegates to remain on the programme, and if any are dropped one or more of the sports on the 'waiting list' will be voted on.

Full vote procedure

MORE OLYMPIC STORIES

Nicol David in Singapore

Asian squash superstar Nicol David joins World Squash Federation President Jahangir Khan in Singapore this week for the sport's final period of lobbying for inclusion in the 2012 Olympic Games.

David would be a natural contender for the sport's first Olympic Gold medal. The 21-year-old from Penang created history in July 2001 when she became the first player to win the biennial World Junior title for a second time.

The Asian senior champion since 1998 - when aged just 14! - Nicol won her first WISPA Grand Prix title earlier this year. The success took David to a career-high No3 in the world rankings - a feat which was hailed in her home country as "the best ever position by a Malaysian sportsperson".

Jahangir Khan and Nicol David are in Singapore with WSF Chief Executive Christian Leighton and the Federation's Emeritus President Susie Simcock.

"The WSF is lobbying for change in the sports programme, and has been meeting and lobbying with IOC members," said Leighton. "It has been particularly pleasant to meet with IOC members that have sent notes of support to squash in the recent past," added the WSF chief.

Channel News Asia TV screened an interview with Jahangir Khan at prime time on Tuesday, after the key speeches in the Opening Ceremony of the 117th IOC Session.

A live poll being conducted by CNA, asking which 'new' sport should be included in the 2012 Olympic Games, shows Squash clearly in the lead - with 43% of the votes!
 

Four sports
under threat ?

  
Taekwondo, baseball, softball and modern pentathlon are facing possible elimination from the Olympics in 2012 when the International Olympic Committee has its meeting in July in Singapore, according to a number of reports in the online press.

The IOC will hold a sport-by-sport secret ballot to determine which among its 28 sports it may eliminate to cut down on the size of the Summer Olympics, while increasing global interest for the games.

However, no sport has been dropped from the program since polo in 1936, and the existing sports are urging the IOC to leave the program as it is ...
  

Full details
of the
 117th IOC  Session in  Singapore

The vote for the sports to be included is on Fri 8th July.

THE IOC VOTES:

FIRST ROUND: IOC members will vote by secret ballot on each of the 28 sports that were in the programme for the 2004 Athens Games. The results of the vote will be announced at the end of the proceedings.

SECOND ROUND: If one or more sports is not admitted to be part of the programme because they do not obtain a majority (more than 50% of the votes), this sport will remain an Olympic sport: it will remain on the list but will not be on the programme for the 2012 Games.

THIRD ROUND: If one or more sports is not admitted to the programme of the 2012 Games and therefore the total limit of the 28 sports on the programme has not been reached, another sport(s) will be put on the programme. The executive board will then propose the sport(s).

FOURTH ROUND: IOC members will then vote by secret ballot on the proposal of the executive board. In order to become an Olympic sport, a two-thirds majority is needed. In order for an Olympic sport to be included in the sports programme, a simple majority is needed.
   
08-Jul:
Aussie stars back Olympic bid

On the day that could see squash admitted into the Olympics, David Palmer and Anthony Ricketts told the Sydney Morning Herald about squash's appeal ...

London Olympics calling as once popular pastime set for big revival
By Aaron Timms

In the days when shorts were short, squash was big. But as shorts have grown increasingly long over the past two decades, the game of squash, as if compelled by an invisible hemline, has retreated further and further from the public eye.

David Palmer and Anthony Ricketts are cases in point.

They're at the top of their sport, ranked No.3 and No.7 in the world respectively, but most Australians would struggle to identify them.

Meeting them in an anonymous suburban squash centre seems to illustrate the point nicely: they're elite athletes, but they have to compete with 10-year-olds for court space. It'd be like asking Roger Federer to train against the wall at the local primary school while a game of handball was being played around him.

But today squash stands on the brink of a brave new era, with the International Olympic Committee set to announce this afternoon whether the sport has been successful in gaining inclusion at the 2012 Games in London.

Understandably, Palmer and Ricketts are excited about the prospect of being able to compete for Olympic gold.

"Getting selected for the Olympics will give us the opportunity to take the sport where it deserves to go," Ricketts said.

"It'll help us get better TV slots, and that'll help us pull more people to the sport. So, yeah, it's going to be an important day for everyone involved in squash."

To win, squash will need to fend off competition from four other sports - karate, golf, rugby union and "roller sports". Not surprisingly, Ricketts thinks his sport enjoys a number of advantages over its Olympic rivals.

For a start, it's a truly international game and, unlike some professional sports represented at the Olympics, the best players would all be keen to compete.

But the real thing that sets squash apart, according to Ricketts, is the extraordinary level of fitness and conditioning needed to play it.

"It's a bloody hard sport to play," he said. "There wouldn't be many sports where you have to train as hard as in squash."

Still, even if the votes don't fall squash's way later today, the game's administrators could do a lot worse than listen to Palmer's novel idea for how to develop the sport in Australia.

"I think squash is really a social sport and we really have to build the social side of it," he said. "All the clubs in America all do well because of the social side of it. You don't just come for a game of squash. This [complex] would be the perfect example - you'd have a bar in the centre, you'd have saunas and steam rooms and gyms and it would be an all-in-one type of complex.

"So you don't just come for squash. You'd come and meet a mate and have a drink beforehand, play your squash, go sit in the jacuzzi or sauna, and come out and maybe have a meal while watching other people play.

"I've always thought that if I was going to run a squash club back here, the first thing I would do would be to put a bar in it, just to make it more sociable. And I think that would work."

At least the players wouldn't have to compete with 10-year-olds for bar service.

Original article from the Sydney Morning Herald
  
Jahangir:
"Forget my British and World Titles ..."

If squash makes the Olympics this week it will be squash's greatest ever player's greatest achievement, Jahangir tells Reuters today in an interview ...

A dream long held by squash great Jahangir Khan could be fulfilled in Singapore this week if his sport finally gains official Olympic recognition.

Jahangir won 10 British Open titles and six World Opens in a career of unprecedented dominance but an Olympic breakthrough by squash would rank as his proudest achievement.

"If we get it, then forget about my British Opens, forget about my world titles," the 41-year-old Jahangir told Reuters in an interview.

"It would be a great achievement for the sport as a whole.

"I was fortunate to enjoy a magnificent career in squash and the only regret I have is that I never had a chance to compete for an Olympic gold medal.

"If I could help achieve this for the next generation of squash players, it would be my proudest moment," added Jahangir who, as president of the World Squash Federation (WSF), has led the sport's bid to join the Games programme.

"It would be a lifelong dream come true for me."

Squash has been shortlisted with golf, rugby, roller sports and karate for possible inclusion at the 2012 Games and could be added to the programme by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in Singapore on Friday.

Majority vote  

All 28 Olympic sports will face the vote and must win a majority from IOC members to avoid being dropped from the list. If a sport is axed, the IOC executive board will select a replacement from the five applicants.

The sport recommended by the executive board to replace an outgoing sport would first need a two-thirds majority to become an "Olympic sport" and would then need a simple majority in a second vote to be admitted to the 2012 Games programme.

Jahangir believes squash is ideally suited to the Olympics.

"It's really surprising we haven't been there before, particularly as we fulfil all the criteria," he said.

"The sport is all about sheer athleticism. At the highest level, it requires a remarkable combination of power, speed, flexibility, agility and instant reflexes.

"And let's not forget squash's trademark -- outstanding endurance, both muscular and cardiovascular. Surely the Olympics are principally all about superior athletic performance?

"Plus squash is truly global. It is played in more than 150 countries and is spreading across Africa, the Americas, Asia, Europe and Oceania.

"We have between 15 and 20 million players worldwide while the number of national federations affiliated to the WSF has doubled in the past 15 years to 125."

Greatest player  

Jahangir, widely regarded as the greatest squash player in history, knows all about the challenge of sport, the hard work required to succeed and what it means to shine at the highest level.

In a glittering career that ended in 1993, he was ranked in the world's top two for a decade, never failing to reach at least the semi-finals of any tournament in that period.

While his 10 British Open titles will surely never be eclipsed, perhaps his greatest on-court achievement was staying unbeaten for five years, seven months and one day between 1981 and 1986. Only once was he extended to five games.

The Olympics, however, were always foreign territory for him. While racket sports such as badminton and tennis gained IOC recognition, squash stayed outside the ropes.

Jahangir, possibly more than anyone, knows what it will mean to squash players if their sport gains IOC acceptance in Singapore.

"I have spoken to all our leading players and they are all dying to be there," he said. "I don't know which of them will still be around in 2012, but all of them would want to be there, to be part of the Olympics.

"Competing in the Games would be the highest honour and the top priority. It would be the pinnacle of a squash player's career."
     
 

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