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Olympic Squash


"The squash world is getting geared up for the push to get included in the Olympic roster of sports, which will be decided in Copenhagen later this year. There is a task force in place and a plan of action moving forward to prove to the IOC that squash deserves to be at the Games in 2016. There will be more to follow and all I ask is for your support in whichever way you can help".

Following extensive global campaigning by the World Squash Federation since the sport narrowly missed out being added to the London 2012 programme, the WSF has received news from the IOC that Squash has been included on the shortlist of sports under consideration for the 2016 Olympic Games.

In a letter to Jahangir Khan, IOC Sports Director Christophe Dubi congratulated and thanked the WSF President "most sincerely for the tremendous work you accomplished in order to complete the questionnaire for IOC Recognised International Federations".

Squash has been selected along with Baseball, Golf, Karate, Roller Sports, Rugby and Softball.

Played by around 15 million enthusiasts on all five continents, Squash has been vigorously campaigning to join the Olympic Games programme for many years.

In 2005, Squash was voted into the London 2012 Olympic Games ahead of Karate, Roller Sports, Rugby and Golf - but then failed to achieve the two-thirds majority required to become ratified as an Olympic sport.

"I am confident that the reason why Squash was chosen ahead of other sports in 2005 is down to its image as an intensely athletic, healthy, universal, inclusive and exciting world sport," said the WSF President. "This image is the result of decades of positive development."

Khan was delighted to receive the IOC letter, only days after being the final torchbearer in the Beijing Olympic Torch Relay in Islamabad, the capital of his home country Pakistan.

"This is truly excellent news for our sport," said one of the sport's most distinguished players, with six World Open titles and record ten British Open trophies to his name. "We will be working very hard to convince the IOC that Squash deserves a place on the Olympic Programme."

Following the 2005 IOC meeting in Singapore, the WSF lobbied for a change in the Olympic charter which would reduce from two-thirds to a simple majority the voting policy for ratification as an Olympic sport - thus aligning the threshold with the existing policy for Olympic sports. This decision was duly taken at the IOC session in Guatemala in July 2007.

Squash presents a compelling case for inclusion on the Olympic Programme after experiencing significant global growth since being voted the No1 sport at the 2005 IOC Session in Singapore:

•Squash is primarily a ‘participant sport’, as the vast majority of people associated with it actually play, leading to real health/recreational benefits to society

•The sport is played by an estimated 15 million people in over 155 countries - with more than a quarter million registered athletes, plus over 600 professional athletes.

•Juniors are an area of rapid growth: The 2008 World Men's Junior Championships in Switzerland boast a record entry. The WSF has not only recently decided to make its World Junior Championships an annual event due to demand, but will also create a new Juniors Committee and a global ranking system. The flourishing European Junior Circuit featured 20 tournaments in 17 different countries in the 2006/07 season, with a record number of entries.

•Squash enjoys a solid spread of talent: All continents were represented in the top six positions at the 2007 World Men’s Team Championship and top 11 at the World Women’s Team Championship in 2006.

•The WSF now has 138 Member Nation Federations (up from 125 in 2004) and more than 80% of all MNFs organise an Annual National Championship across gender and all age groups

•Women account for approximately 30% of all recreational players and 37% of professional athletes. Furthermore the WSF board boasts a 60/40 male/female breakdown.

•The sport is played in over 20 multi-sport Games including the World Games, All-Africa Games, Asian Games, Pan American Games, Commonwealth Games (in which it has been named as a 'core sport'), World University Championships and World Masters Games. This compares to just two events in 1991!

•Squash is also a “high value” sport for Organising Committees as facilities required for an Olympic event are both economical and temporary.

•TV production technology has developed positively in the past few years - and Squash is now regularly featured on TV in more than 125 countries across all continents

•Web streaming has taken off over the past three years: The last two World Championships each reached audiences in over 75 countries while has over 30,000 paid subscribers in only two years of operation

24th April 2008
By Ben Taylor