Blog: Squash leaders pledge positive future

September 9, 2013 - 5:19am
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So disappointed: Laura Massaro and Nicol David

So disappointed: Laura Massaro and Nicol David

The main squash governing bodies have all issued media statements since the shattering news of the IOC decision to keep wrestling in the 2020 Olympics and ignore, once again, squash’s bid for a place at sport’s top table.

The WSF were first out of the blocks with this release from Buenos Aires yesterday:

IOC Decision Is ‘Heart-Breaking’ Says WSF President

Sunday 8 September, Buenos Aires: World Squash Federation (WSF) President N Ramachandran, who led theSquash presentation at today’s IOC Session in Buenos Aires, admitted that he was heart-broken at the decision.

“Today’s decision is heart-breaking for the millions of Squash players around the world, particularly given the 10-year journey we have been on to join the Olympic Games Sports Programme,” said President Ramachandran.

“As the only new Olympic sport on today’s shortlist, we believed Squash offered something for the future and I still hope that our inclusion may still be possible.

“The feedback we have received from many IOC members for our campaign and our presentation has been very positive and I am encouraged by the vote we received today. We have much to offer the Olympic Movement and I am hopeful that today is not the end of our Olympic journey.”

The WSA clearly had things well planned with this release being issued within an hour of the vote:

Women’s squash looks to bright future

Women’s Squash Association (WSA) players and administrators believe that the sport will build on the Olympic bid process and continue to grow in strength and depth after narrowly missing out on a chance to be part of the 2020 Olympic Games.

Squash was voted onto the International Olympic Committee’s shortlist in May, alongside Softball/Baseball and the successful bid by Wrestling. It was the only sport of the three which had never previously featured at the Olympic Games.

Please find below quotes from WSA Chairman Ingrid Lofdahl-Bentzer and some of the world’s top women’s squash players in reaction to today’s decision:

Ingrid Lofdahl-Bentzer, Chairman of the WSA:

“We would like to congratulate wrestling on its successful bid to be in the 2020 Olympic Games. I am personally very proud over the effort from squash and in particular from our players. We are all desperately disappointed but very optimistic about the growth of our sport and the future of squash. Women’s squash will continue to develop.”

Nicol David, Malaysian and World No.1:

“It is disappointing but what we’ve done over the last few years, with the campaign, has really made women’s squash stronger and it’s brought the whole squash community together in a huge way. We’ve proven that we can be up there as an Olympic sport and the fact that we were shortlisted shows what a great sport we are. We need to use that and move forward.”

Laura Massaro, World No.2 and England No.1:

“It is really disappointing news to hear that squash has missed out on being part of the 2020 Olympic Games. Everyone involved in the sport is extremely upset that we won’t be part of the games in 2020. We will carry on learning from the bid process in the hope we can make Olympic status one day in the future.”

Samantha Cornett, World No.31 and Canada No.1:

“Every player around the world gave everything we have to show how our sport can be an asset to the Olympic programme and how much the Olympics means to us.  However, we can take away positives from this situation.  I know that everyone involved in the bid is incredibly passionate about our sport, whether we are in the Olympics or not.  And the marketing and promotion of our sport has taken a huge leap forward.  Throughout this campaign we have touched people who haven’t heard of the sport, and encouraged people on its doorstep.  And we’ve got every squash fanatic like me even more involved!  Squash is growing, and it won’t stop.”

More player reaction quotes are available at www.wsaworldtour.com

The PSA release followed this morning:

9 September 2013

Despite being ‘devastated’ by the IOC decision to choose wrestling ahead of Squash as the ‘new’ sport to join the 2020 Olympic Games programme, the Professional Squash Association stresses that the sport has a ‘great future’.

“We are obviously devastated, not only for the whole sport and squash fans everywhere, but for the players, current and future that have worked so hard for this,” said PSA CEO Alex Gough.

“We can be very proud of the efforts of everyone and none more so than our world number one Ramy Ashour, who has put in so much time into the bid process.

It was at Sunday’s meeting of the 125th IOC Session in Buenos Aires that Squash – shortlisted with wrestling and baseball/softball as one of three sports being considered for addition to the 2020 Olympic Games programme, and the only one never to have been in the Games before – lost out to wrestling.

“The presentation in Buenos Aires yesterday was something we can all be proud of – and shows the great future that squash has, with or without the Olympics.

“Our sport has much to offer the Games – let’s hope that this is not the end of our Olympic journey.”

Among numerous reactions from PSA members across the world, England’s former world number one Nick Matthewperhaps summed up the feelings: “Despite today’s disappointment the World of Squash can be massively proud of its efforts over these past 4 years.”

England Squash and Racketball filmed video interviews of leading players at the National Centre in Manchester, which were published on YouTube yesterday afternoon, followed by a release this morning.

Manchester, Monday 9TH September 2013:

English squash remains upbeat about the future of the game this morning, despite the heartbreaking decision of IOC members to overlook its Olympic credentials in Buenos Aries on Sunday.

With the AJ Bell World Championships in Manchester in November, Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in 2014, the respective World Series tours by the PSA and WSA and the successful grass roots drive of The Big Hit (www.thebighit.net) squash is in good shape. The reaction to the news by some of England’s leading players can be downloaded directly from Dropbox here: PLAYER REACTIONS .

 

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