Δυστηχώς για άλλη μια φορά το άθλημα μας δεν τα κατάφερε να συμπεριληφθεί στο πρόγραμμα των Ολυμπιακών αγώνων, αυτή την φορά σε αυτούς του Τόκιο του 2020. Ήταν η τρίτη αποτυχημένη προσπάθεια με προηγούμενες αυτές για τους Ολυμπιακούς του Λονδίνου 2012 & του Ρίο 2016. Αντί αυτού η οργανωτική επιτροπή του Τόκιο 2020 εισηγήθηκε τα μπέιζμπολ/σόφτμπολ, καράτε, αναρρίχηση, σέρφινγκ και σκέιτμπορντ. Ο Πρόεδρος της Παγκόσμιας Ομοσπονδίας WSF N Ramachandran δήλωσε :
“After our 12-year journey to join the Olympic Games programme, and the opportunity of a ‘second chance’ after the heart-break of missing out in our first 2020 bid in Buenos Aires two years ago, I am utterly devastated on behalf of our great sport that our dream of taking part in the Tokyo Games cannot now be realised,” είπε ο Ramachandran.
“I don’t believe we could have done more to get our message across to both the Tokyo 2020 Games hosts and the IOC of how Squash could bring something special as an addition to the Programme.
“I know I speak on behalf of the millions of Squash players around the world for whom the opportunity of seeing their sport participate in the Olympics has been an absolute priority – and, like me, they will be heartbroken.
“However, this is not the end for Squash,” πρόσθεσε ο Ramachandran. “Our sport, played by vast numbers week in and week out, flourishes at every level from recreational to events around the world. We will go from strength to strength while we continue to target participation at a future date in the Games.”
Η PSA μέσω του διευθήντη της Alex Gough εξέδωσε την παρακάτω ανακοίνωση :
“The Olympic Games should be the pinnacle of any athlete’s career and inclusion in the Tokyo 2020 Games would be a defining moment for squash and our athletes and to know that dream is once again out of reach is naturally a difficult proposition for the sport,” said Gough.
“But I feel we can take a lot of positives from the huge ground we have made as a sport over the last decade – transitioning into a bourgeoning global sport that is now broadcast in almost 100 countries worldwide and which has witnessed increases in player earnings by over 20 per cent so far in 2015 alone.
“As a sport squash is committed to driving forward equality, both in revenue earning potential and playing opportunities across both sexes, having already made huge strides towards parity over the past 12 months and as one of the cleanest drug records of any professional sport in the world, which is played in over 180 countries – boasting a truly global footprint that many other sports cannot match – everyone in the sport can feel truly proud of where we are.”
Squash was one of eight sports alongside baseball/softball, bowling, karate, roller sports, climbing, surfing and wushu vying for a place at the Games in the latest round of protracted lobbying following the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) decision to drop the cap on sports last year.
While Tokyo 2020’s decision not to include squash in its list of recommendations is a blow to the sport’s hopes of Olympic inclusion, a glimmer of hope still remains as the ultimate decision will be taken at the 129th IOC Session in Rio, Brazil, in August, 2016.
“Our players, who regularly cover over four kilometres per match, are amongst the fittest athletes in the world and as a sport that can be enjoyed equally at beginner level and elite, we feel that we perfectly epitomise the characteristics desired by the IOC of an Olympic sport,” added Gough.
“And as a cost effective sport, requiring just 64 athletes across both a men’s and women’s event and with the ability to be played in any location, we would have had a limited impact on the Games’ budget and offer Tokyo the opportunity to showcase their city in a way unmatched by any other sport.
“Through three previous failed attempts to gain inclusion into the Games we have addressed all the issues and concerns the IOC have had regarding the sport and while it is difficult to accept that work will not lead to inclusion at the ultimate sporting event, we are buoyed by the strides the sport continues to take and we continue to work tirelessly to ensure the sport earns the global recognition it truly deserves.”