Huffpost UK Sport uk
The Blog

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors

James Willstrop Headshot

Squash for the Olympics: Decision Time

Posted: Updated:
Print Article

On 8 September the IOC will be making its decision to admit squash, wrestling or baseball/softball in to the Olympic Games for 2020.

This is a huge moment for squash; the decision of one committee of people has the potential to affect the sport in ways we can barely conceive. After years of disappointment, I shudder at the thought.

All professional squash players will have seen all the athletes soaking up that exposure for their respective sports, competing at incredible levels in London last year.

When you love a sport so much, that its best exponents are excluded from competing on the greatest sporting platform on earth is tough to take.

For this year's bid, our priority has been to convince the IOC squash is the right sport to be included. We have promoted and presented the cause until we are blue in the face. We have tweeted and facebooked to the hilt, we've had sporting celebrities publicly back our bid, we've made flashy videos and raised awareness in every possible way. All the best players are behind the bid. Nicol David is one of the greatest women athletes of all time and has said she would give all her world championship titles for one Olympic gold, tirelessly promoting the campaign and even organizing her own flash mobs. For today's generation of players 2020 could come too late, but it is vitally important we help make the sport a part of the biggest of all sporting events.

One last plea to the IOC then: Squash is amongst the great sporting tests of all round athleticism and skill. It is one of the most popular participation sports, played in 200 countries around the world, because it is easy to take part and there is no need for fancy equipment. I learnt by simply playing for hours on end on Sunday afternoons against brick walls.

We want the Olympics to be squash's ultimate sporting event. We have a spectacle to offer, which will provide millions more people an opportunity to discover and take part in a fun, sociable and healthy sport.

We have left it all out there now. Our cards are on the table. We've little else to give. Please, IOC, with a few weeks to go until the decision, make the dream real for this marvellous sport...
And to think that in such a scenario I will have answered the question: 'Why isn't squash in the Olympic Games?' for the very last time!

James' book 'Shot and a Ghost' is available at willstrop.co.uk or on kindle.

Around the Web

Baseballsoftball squash and wrestling make cut for IOC Session ...

Wrestling, baseball and squash on IOC shortlist to be included in ...

Which sport do you think the IOC should vote to include on the ...

Wrestling, baseball and squash make IOC shortlist for inclusion at ...

IOC's 2020 Olympic shortlist includes wrestling, squash, baseball ...

Making a case for wrestling, squash in Olympics - USA Today

Could Squash be an Olympic Sport?