London 2012 - Squash to make big changes to get in Games

Mon, 07 Nov 18:52:00 2011

World squash officials are set to make radical changes to the sport as a strategy to win a spot on the 2020 Olympic programme.

Squash generic - 0

After two unsuccessful bids and complaints from the International Olympic Committee, who claimed the public couldnt see the ball and the competition format was not television friendly, the World Squash Federation are now ready to break more new ground.

A glass floor with thousands of LED light bulbs, where advertisers will be able to display their commercials between games, is the latest innovation and will be seen in February, at the Under-21 World Cup in Chennai, India. 

We are not scared of making changes, we look forward to innovate and we look forward to change the game to suit the Olympic needs," said WSF president N Ramachandran.

I can put the glass court in front of Buckingham Palace and can have the event. We can put them anywhere you want that showcases a city.

In Egypt, it is in front of the pyramids, in Hong Kong in the waterfront, in India in February is going to be in a shopping mall.

Other improvements implemented over the last two years include a wireless electronic three-man refereeing system, aimed to avoid players complaints, and video reviews using high-definition cameras, which allow match officials to study decisions.

The WSF has also learned another important lesson from the last two Olympic defeats: being inventive on the field of play is easier than changing the minds of IOC members.

That is why as soon as squash was on the shortlist for Olympic inclusion in 2020, they hired the man who seems to be an IOC mind reader.

Mike Lee was a consultant for the London 2012, Rio 2016 and Pyeongchang 2018 successful Olympic Games campaigns and advised Qatar on their bid to stage the 2022 World Cup. Lee also helped rugby sevens earn their Olympic status from 2016.

And he now thinks it is time to show squash to the world.

I feel that squash has got a strong and powerful case. I think it is a question of learning from previous campaigns. You have got to show what squash brings to the Olympic Games, which is really what it is all about, said Lee, during the announcement of the campaigns new slogan - Squash sport at its best.

Clearly for the athletes, for squash players and for the sport, it would be something great. We have seen with rugby that the number of rugby unions who are now getting help from government funds and are going into schools is increasing dramatically as a result of the Olympic inclusion.

"Clearly this is an opportunity for squash.  

Great Britain currently boasts the men's world number one, Nick Matthew, and women's number two, Jenny Duncalf, and number three Madeline Perry.

Being at the Olympics would be the absolute pinnacle of our careers, said Northern Ireland's Perry.

Squash is in every multi-sport games apart from the Olympics.

"Nicol David, the number one player in the world, won the world open title in Rotterdam and said in an interview afterwards that she said she would trade all the world titles she had won for one Olympic gold. I think that sums up what all players feel.

The bid winner will be known in a gathering in Buenos Aires in 2013, when the 2020 host city will also be announced. Squashs rivals for a spot are baseball, karate, roller sports, softball, sports climbing, wakeboard and wushu.

There are currently 28 sports on the summer Olympic programme, the maximum permitted. One would need to be excluded to allow any of the shortlisted sports a chance and the IOC will start examining possible eliminations after the London 2012 Olympic Games.

Sportsbeat / Eurosport

Not already a Yahoo! user ? to get a free Yahoo! Account