Squash has taken a substantial leap forward in the race for inclusion in the 2020 Olympics following presentations by the eight bidding sports to the IOC Executive Board in St. Petersburg, Russia, on May 29.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced that the three sports shortlisted for a final vote during their meetings in Buenos Aires in September are wrestling, baseball/softball and squash.
“We are obviously pleased that squash is still in the running,” said Kevin Klipstein, CEO of U.S. Squash.
“Collectively the sport has made significant progress recently, so for that to be recognized is nice.
“Now is the time for us to be ‘all in’ as a community to make sure we do whatever we can to effect a positive outcome in September.”
Board Chair of U.S. Squash, Peter Lasusa, added how pleased he was to learn of the decision.
“In my opinion, under the leadership of World Squash Federation President N Rami Ramachandran, along with outstanding work by our bid management consultants Mike Lee and his team at Vero Communications in London, our sport has done an excellent job distinguishing itself from other contenders by undertaking significant innovation combined with strong communications about how the attributes of our great sport fit perfectly with the IOC’s expressed vision for the Games.”
“Today’s announcement represents important progress for our Olympic aspirations and our sport overall, and shows that people are starting to notice.
“Over the last two years U.S. Squash has been working very closely with the leadership of the WSF on fund-raising, communications,and lobbying. We will be very focused between now and decision day in September on making sure squash’s bid moves across the finish line with continued professionalism and strength.”
“This is a huge milestone in our quest to join the Olympic Program, and I would like to thank the Executive Board for the faith it has placed in Squash,” said Ramachandran, who led Squash’s presentation team.
“It was fantastic to have the women’s and men’s world number ones on our presentation team, and Nicol and Ramy were passionate about what it would mean to them to have the chance to compete in the Olympic Games.”
Women’s World No. 1 Nicol David, seven-time World Champion, said: “This is a great day for Squash as it takes us one step closer to realizing our long-held ambition to join the Olympic Games.”
Ramy Ashour, men’s World No. 1, added: “Being part of our presentation has fueled even more my dream to compete in the Olympic Games, and I really do pray that this journey leads me to the Olympic Games in 2020, where I can make my country proud and win Gold for Egypt.”
IOC President Jacques Rogge said that all eight presentations from the bidding sports were excellent.
“It was never going to be an easy decision but I feel my colleagues on the Board made a good decision in selecting baseball/softball, squash and wrestling to be put forward in Buenos Aires,” said Rogge.