Why is squash not in the Olympics?

When it comes to a sport which is popular globally, who else do we have that is firmly in the “tersohor” category? The best is perhaps “terbilang” category: LCW has his bogeyman Lin Dan, Pandelela has her nemesis Chen Ruolin. But Nicol stands alone as the undisputed greatest ever female squash player who ever lived – as a Malaysian, even thinking about that is mind-boggling.

Many Malaysians would say that if squash was an Olympics sport, Nicol David would’ve earned our first gold medal years ago.

She was recently quoted to have said that if squash makes it to the Olympics in 2020, when she’ll be 37, she said she won’t miss it for the world and will ensure she’s ready for it.

But why not yet?

According to what I read, squash has been trying to be included in the Olympics for “many years”, but failed because, according to the IOC:

- not TV friendly enough i.e. ball cannot be seen. Solution: HD cameras
- rampant arguments between referee and players. Solution: now have 3 referees.
- issues with scoring system. Solution: adjust the system.

Together with karate, it was put forward for 2012 after baseball and softball where ejected, but failed to get the IOC’s two-thirds majority vote.

For Rio 2016, it failed again as the IOC decided to add golf and rugby sevens instead.

In September 2013, the 125th IOC Session in Buenos Aires will vote on whether to include one of the following sports for the Olympics: floorball, baseball, karate, roller sports, softball, sport climbing, squash, wakeboarding or wushu. Looking at this rather long list, one could be forgiven for thinking that for some athletes, the very idea of competing in the Olympics is so far-fetched that their only chance to be in one is by being one of the volunteers, doing Computer repairs of the games’ PCs.

2 thoughts on “Why is squash not in the Olympics?

  1. FIDE says chess is a sport too, but sport of the mind. If chess is accepted, that will open the floodgates – all similar boardgames will want in too. Eg, the World Bridge Federation (WBF) wants the card game of bridge to be included.

    One reason is that the IOC wants to control the number of sports because the Olympics is simply getting too big/too many events i.e. difficult to manage. When Jacques Rogge became IOC president in 2001, he limited the number to 28 sports.

    Even arguably more established sports than squash like rugby, golf, baseball and karate are not in the Olympics. It’s going to be tough.

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