Squash’s top stars urge caution over LA 2028 Olympic bid

April 24, 2023 - 3:20am
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Watch: squash stars on squash’s LA 2028 Olympic bid

Squash will discover the fate of its latest bid for Olympic inclusion this autumn – but some of our sport’s biggest names are wary of viewing the Games as a panacea.

Squash is competing with cricket, motorsport, karate, baseball/softball, lacrosse, breakdancing, kickboxing and flag football for a place on the programme at the 2028 Games in Los Angeles – although it is not yet known how many (if any) new sports will be included. 

The outcome will be announced at (or possibly before) the International Olympic Committee’s 140 session in Mumbai, India in September or October (full details here). 

However, when Squash Mad caught up with three members of the PSA World Tour men’s top 10 at the recent Canary Wharf Classic, there was caution about placing too much emphasis on the Olympic Games as the solution to securing squash’s future prosperity. 

I think there’s a fixation around the Olympics,” said Wales’ world no.10 Joel Makin, who would be 33 by the time of the LA 2028 Games. 

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“Everyone has been so disappointed over the years [by repeated IOC rejection]. We need to focus on how we present our sport to other people and try to get much more exposure without needing the Olympics.” 

Former world champion Mohamed ElShorbagy, who is about to represent England at a major team event for the first time at the forthcoming European Team Championships, agrees with Makin.

“I think we should focus on improving the sport, not on getting into the Olympics,” he told our reporter Camille Serme.  

“As a sport, we have everything to be there, but we didn’t get there. I don’t think it’s because we have problems in our sport, I think there are a lot of politics around it.” 

Egypt’s former world champion Tarek Momen will be 40 in 2028, so arguably has less of a vested interest in the forthcoming Olympic bid result. 

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He highlights the IOC’s seeming obsession with sports that appeal to young people – see the controversial inclusion of breakdancing at Paris 2024 and the addition of skateboarding, surfing, sport climbing, 3×3 basketball and BMX freestyle at Tokyo in 2021. 

“The young guys are in charge right now!” said Momen. “We need to find ways to market the sport and make it more appealing to the youngsters to take up a racket, go on a squash court and try to hit the ball.” 

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