#Vote4Squash campaign goes viral worldwide

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While everyone you’ve ever met is upset about wrestling being ousted from the 2020 Olympics Schedule, and the sport’s governing body is going through the painstaking process of attempting to get it reinstated through two IOC votes, squash is the little engine that’s making a strong argument to take wrestling’s spot in the Games.

The World Squash Federation already released its bid video starring world champs Nicol David and Ramy Ashour explaining why squash deserves its chance in the Olympics, and now it’s hoping to continue the worldwide viral campaign on Twitter with the #Vote4Squash hashtag.

“The next few months are crucial to our bid and using social media to demonstrate the huge passion there is for Squash to become part of the Olympic Games is important as we head towards our presentation to the IOC Executive Board in May,” WSF President N. Ramachandran told Around the Rings.

The hashtag has been trending in nations where the sport is popular, like Malaysia, the UK, and Egypt, and tennis star and Olympian Roger Federer is showing his support for his brothers and sister of the racquet by holding up a “Back the Bid” sign on which he’s written, “I am, are you?”

“This is a great initiative and there is a real buzz among all the players competing on the Tours about our Olympic bid,” current world No. 2 Nick Matthew added. “We want to demonstrate to the IOC the global popularity and reach of Squash and I’m sure this online call to action will help to do this.”

Squash will face off against wrestling, karate, wushu, sport climbing, roller sports, and baseball/softball in an IOC executive board vote this may in St. Petersburgh to determine which sports will be brought to a final vote when all the IOC members are on hand for a meeting this September in Buenos Aires.

We dare you not to enjoy this video:

WATCH LIVE: London Marathon

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Watch the world’s best distance runners chase world records at the London Marathon, live on NBCSN and commercial free on the NBC Sports Gold “Track and Field Pass” for subscribers on Sunday at 3:30 a.m. ET.

NBCSN coverage also streams on NBCSports.com/live and the NBC Sports app for subscribers.

WATCH LIVE: London Marathon
NBCSN coverage — STREAM LINK
NBC Sports Gold commercial free — STREAM LINK

Sunday’s race start times (ET)
3:55 – Elite Wheelchair Races
4:00 – World Para Athletics Marathon World Cup ambulant races
4:15 – Elite Women’s Race
5:00 – Elite Men’s Race, Mass Race

The men’s field features arguably the two greatest distance runners of all time — Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge and Ethiopian Kenenisa Bekele.

Kipchoge, the Rio Olympic marathon champ, ran the fastest marathon ever recorded — 2:00:25 in Nike’s sub-two-hour attempt last May in non-record-eligible conditions.

Bekele is the second-fastest marathoner in history under legal conditions, having run six seconds shy of Kenyan Dennis Kimetto‘s world record of 2:02:57 from 2014.

In the women’s race, Kenyan Mary Keitany, already the world-record holder in a women’s-only race, looks to take down Brit Paula Radcliffe‘s world record with male pacers set in London 15 years ago. That time is 2:15:25.

Keitany is challenged by Ethiopian Tirunesh Dibaba, the third-fastest female marathoner in history behind Keitany and Radcliffe.

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Teddy Riner, dominant judoka, to skip 2018, 2019 Worlds

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French judoka Teddy Riner, arguably the world’s most dominant athlete, will reportedly skip the next two world championships before the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

French coach Franck Chambily said Riner will compete a light international schedule the next two years ahead of what would be his fourth Olympics, according to Agence France-Presse.

Riner, a 29-year-old, 6-foot-8-inch native of Guadeloupe, is undefeated since 2010 with a reported 144-match winning streak. That includes Olympic titles in 2012 and 2016 and world titles in 2011, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2017.

Before the streak, Riner also earned world titles in 2007, 2009 and 2010, plus an Olympic bronze at age 19 in 2008.

He could compete through the 2024 Paris Games.

“When I am invincible, I will stop,” Riner said in 2013, according to The Associated Press.

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