Bengaluru, July 19: The World Squash Federation (WSF) and the Professional Squash Association (PSA) have welcomed the International Olympic Committee's (IOC) latest decision regarding the new sports selection procedure for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.
At the IOC Executive Board Meeting in Lausanne, recently, IOC had clearly laid down the criteria for the inclusion of additional sports, and that gives squash a distinctive advantage over other disciplines.
IOC announces the principles for Paris 2024 Olympic Games event programme: https://t.co/u7ECpy7Y5G— World Squash (@WorldSquash) July 19, 2018
France has a number of strong medal contenders such as Gregory Gaultier (current world number 1), Camille Serme (current World number 3), Thierry Lincou (former world number 1, now retired), Mathieu Castagnet (former world number 5, current 26), Gregoire Marche (current world 25), Lucas Serme (current world 41).
Squash, which had previously lost out on Olympic inclusion in 2012 and 2016, now has a better chance of getting the nod for 2024 Paris Games, especially considering the new IOC criteria.
"Squash has a vibrant and real forward-looking vision rooted in constant innovation, striving for more inclusiveness and sustainability across all our activities on and outside of the court. We truly believe that we can seamlessly integrate the Olympic programme with a minimal investment and an optimised gender-equal pool of participants, while bringing a lot of additional excitement and spectacular action to the very heart of the host cities," said WSF President Jacques Fontain, who incidentally hails from France.
Fontain's sentiments were shared by PSA Chief Executive Alex Gough.
"The whole sport is truly united in our desire to participate in the selection process and to show the strong attributes that squash can bring to the IOC and to Paris 2024 in the context of the on-going New Norm and Agenda 2020 reforms," Gough said.
🗣 “The whole sport is truly united in our desire to participate in the selection process and to show the strong attributes that squash can bring to the @iocmedia and to @Paris2024." - PSA Chief Executive Alex Gough & @WorldSquash President Jacques Fontaine. pic.twitter.com/SORcZLLC2r— PSA World Tour (@PSAWorldTour) July 18, 2018
Squash has already been included for the 2018 Youth Olympics to be held in Buenos Aires and Gough hopes it will be a good dress rehearsal for its inclusion for the 2024 Paris Games.
"We are preparing for the Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympic Games, where squash will be participating as a showcase sport and will be represented by a selection of juniors from around the world on glass courts with impressive interactive features. We are looking forward to giving the Olympic family first-hand experience of what our sport offers," Gough added.
In the past, squash has made many attempts to get into the Olympic Movement and it ran an extensive campaign spearheaded by leading lights Ramy Ashour and Nicol David. Even tennis great Roger Federer had endorsed the campaign and it looks as though the long wait is nearing its end.
(With PSA/WSF inputs).