BSRA delighted as squash makes Olympic shortlist
Bermuda Squash Raquets Association (BSRA) president Patrick Foster was all smiles yesterday as squash beat off five other sports to remain in contention to be added to the Olympic Games programme in 2020.
Squash, along with baseball/softball and wrestling, were shortlisted for final selection for 2020 Games after the International Olympic Committee (IOC) trimmed the candidacy yesterday.
The IOC met in St Petersburg, Russia to go over the sports competing for the sole spot to be included in the spectacle.
Squash, wrestling, karate and sport climbing were among the favourites to progress to the three-strong shortlist, while wushu, wakeboarding, roller sports and baseball/softball also submitted their bids.
Ultimately, it was squash, wrestling and baseball/softball who got the nod.
Foster was delighted to see his sport make the final three, and felt the sport will be helped by this news regardless of entry or not later this year.
The global squash community is very close knit and following this process on Facebook and twitter weve been able to feel like we are right there in St Petersburg helping with the presentations, Foster told The Royal Gazette.
Obviously it is a massive moment for squash and what a place in the 2020 Olympics would mean is hard to describe. At this point we are now all crossing our fingers and toes and hoping for a good result in September.
One thing is for sure that being part of the Olympics in 2020 would be the absolute pinnacle of our sport and would give the sport of squash a massive global boost.
Fosters delight was echoed by Laura Massaro, the current British Open champion.
"We deserve to be included and it was almost painful to watch London 2012 with no opportunity to be part of the nation's success," said the 29-year-old.
"All of the other notable racquet sports are in the Games already — tennis, badminton and table tennis — but squash has been overlooked in the past and it has been tough to take when you compete at the highest level on the world stage."
A spot on the Olympic programme came up for grabs when wrestling was initially dropped in February. However, a high-profile global campaign has raised the prospect of a surprise reprieve.
The IOC are due to make their final pick in September, when they will also decide which city will host the 2020 Games.
Istanbul, Turkey, Madrid, Spain, and Tokyo, Japan are the candidate cities.
Karate and wushu didnt make the final cut for selection, but Bermuda Sanshou Association president Garon Wilkinson felt the bid should go to wrestling which was controversially taken off the list of sports.
This is obviously disappointing but I figured it would have been a long-shot considering the other sports we were up against, said Wilkinson. I was in disbelief when wrestling was removed from the Games and I do feel that they have the best shot of getting back in. The sport has been around for thousands of years.
The International Wushu Federation spent a lot of time and money on their bid so I can just imagine the disappointment the executive team must be feeling right now. At the end of the day, this is a growing sport but it is still greatly dominated by most of the Asian countries as it is Chinas national sport.
Even in the upcoming World Games, most of the athletes who made the qualifying spots were from the Asian countries. The good thing is that the other continental federations have put many initiatives in place, such as international coaching and judging courses which will positively impact the level of sport in the respective regions.
Bermuda is right in the mix with these developments and we are positive that they will bear fruit soon.
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