Squash Hopes Raised By IOC Report
The report is the culmination of intense work by the IOC since the World Squash Federation (WSF) received news in September 2004 that Squash - alongside golf, roller sports, rugby and karate - would be "studied further" with a view to inclusion in the Olympic Games programme for 2012.
The report has been distributed to all IOC Members that will vote on the sports programme of the 2012 Olympic Games at the 117th IOC Session in Singapore from 6-9 July. Jacques Rogge, IOC President, has urged all IOC Members to vote "based on the technical merits of a sport as analysed by the experts and noted in this report".
Christian Leighton, Chief Executive of the WSF, said: "The report on our sport is very strong. Squash meets all criteria to become an Olympic sport and receives excellent marks on virtually all areas of the study.
"Amongst the highlights of the report are that Squash guarantees that the best athletes would compete in the Olympic Games, which would be seen as the pinnacle event in a squash athlete's career; the sport has 125 member national federations with a 'high' percentage of these being active; and it is present in all Major Games.
"Furthermore, the report pointed out that a 'high' number of countries broadcasted the last two World Championships; that venue options enable the host city to place the court in an iconic location with 'low costs'; and, importantly, that Squash's development plans were rated as 'strong', and female participation in the management of the International Federation is a benchmark among all IFs," explained Leighton.
In a letter sent to all Member Nation Federations, Leighton points out that the sport's bid and lobby process has emphasised the very strengths that the report underscores. "So it is reassuring to know that we have been using the right messages.
"The elite game has come of age in the past two decades and WSF is extremely excited at the possibility of bringing the world's best athletes and our limitless venue/setting possibilities to one of the bidding cities in 2012."
Leighton also concedes that "the outcome of the 117th IOC Session is difficult to predict, but Squash has received many notes of support from key IOC Members who love our sport and would like to see us become an Olympic sport.
"You should all feel very proud that our sport is so close to Olympic inclusion. This dream will not fade until we all achieve the objective," concluded the WSF chief.
Squash legend Jahangir Khan, the record ten-times British Open champion who is now President of the WSF, will lead the Federation's team in Singapore in July, joined by Leighton and Emeritus President Susie Simcock.
Issued on behalf of: WSF
For further information: Howard Harding
Tel: (44) 1737-243333 or (mobile) (44) 7773-325130 Fax: (44) 870-706 5253
WSQ 2830 Email: HowHard@aol.com 30 June 2005