IOC officials are at the Hong Kong Open this week to determine whether or not squash is worthy of the one available spot open on the Olympics competition schedule in 2020.
The sport is going up again heavy hitters like baseball and softball – both voted out of the Games in 2005 – as well as karate, wushu, roller sports, wakeboarding and sport climbing, but world No. 1 Nicol David thinks that the dusty country club stigma against squash is outdated, and believes the sport has been modernized for the Olympic audience.
“We have become more fan-friendly,” David told Reuters. “In the past squash was regarded as a bit too sterile where you couldn’t cheer. But now if there is a great shot and the fans cheer, the rally will continue. The players won’t stop playing, we have to move with the times and we have adapted.
“This is partly due to the fact that the game is now being taken to the fans. We are playing in shopping malls and in outdoor courts in exotic locations like the Hong Kong harbor or Grand Central Station in New York.”
World Squash Federation President Rami Ramachandrans explained last month that squash has added glass surrounded courts, lighting, music, and video review to make the sport cooler and more spectator friendly.
“Courts can be placed in amazing iconic locations – in front of pyramids, harbor side, in museums or anywhere else to really bring a host city to life,” Ramachandrans said of the opportunities to display squash at the 2020 Olympics. ”It would also create a real squash sporting legacy for that host city.”
The IOC won’t decide which sport is added until a meeting in Argentina next September, but the baseball and softball federations have joined forces in their bid and have already met with IOC officials.