WSF begins latest quest to get squash into Olympic Games
The World Squash Federation has formally begun the long process to finally get the sport on to the Olympic Games programme for Paris 2024.
Squash failed to be included in the International Olympic Committee’s shortlist of sports for the programme of the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, the first games where the host city was able to recommend sports for inclusion.
At the WSF annual general meeting in Marseille this weekend, held alongside the WSF Men's World Team Championship, plans were discussed for squash's efforts to secure a place on the 2024 programme.
The sport's bid may be aided this time around by the fact that the WSF's French president Jacques Fontaine is a board member of the CNOSF, the French national Olympic committee.
Fontaine told WSF members: "We know that squash would bring something different and special to the Olympic Games through our wonderful youth, our professional athletes and great staging options.
"So every single player, official and stakeholder should take every opportunity to promote squash to their national media, sports officials and especially influencers. WSF and PSA will lead but it is the sea wave of the whole of squash repeatedly landing that will make the difference."
In September, the WSF and the Professional Squash Association, which oversees the men's and women's tours, signed a memorandum of understanding to work together to develop squash in “unison” and “on a global scale”.
The PSA said the partnership will focus on the development of a “global strategy” for the sport, with securing a place in the Olympic Games one of the central objectives.
Squash's chances of inclusion in Paris are strong if the result of a poll conducted by L'Equipe are anything to go by. The French newspaper ran an online poll between 28 November and 3 December asking readers what additional sport they would like to see in 2024. Squash received 19 per cent of the vote, ahead of sport climbing (17 per cent), karate (16 per cent), surfing (11 per cent) and boules (10 per cent).
At its session in Lima, Peru in September, the IOC membership backed an executive board proposal that the 28 sports on the programme for Rio 2016 will be replicated in Paris, meaning a third successive games for golf and rugby sevens.
The Paris 2024 organising committee is now permitted to begin discussions about which additional sports it would like to add to the programme, and present these to the IOC executive board. The members will then be asked to back those sports' inclusion at the 2019 IOC session in Milan, Italy.