Squash has been played for over 140 years in 180 countries, boasting a truly global footprint. In recent times is has grown sensationally, there are many squash clubs such as in Berkhamsted, with the sport being popular in schools as well. At Berkhamsted, we have both boys and girls teams in many age categories just showing its popularity.
Squash narrowly missed out being instated in the 2012 London Olympic Games, and didn’t appear in Rio this summer. In Rio, we saw the introduction of golf and rugby sevens as part of the Olympic Program. Plans for the sport to be part of the Olympic Games have also been scrapped for Tokyo in 2020. In Tokyo, the sports of baseball, karate, skateboarding, sport climbing and surfing will make an appearance. The International Olympic Committee in Buenos Aires voted for wrestling instead of Squash.
The sport has been a regular feature at multi-sport events in the past like the Commonwealth Games, Asian Games and Pan American Games since the 90s so it is surprising that in the Olympics it does not feature. The Olympic Games is perhaps said to be the pinnacle of an athlete’s career, and to deny that opportunity to many gifted sportsmen and women is frustrating. Squash has one of the cleanest drug records of any professional sport in the world which surely should be considered as part of the process for deciding which sports appear at Olympic Games. Authorities and players of squash have long campaigned for Olympic status but have yet to reach their goal. A new bid is expected to be launched for the 2024 Olympics, when the time comes.
It is worth mentioning the success of British Squash with Britain’s most decorated squash player, Nick Matthew. Turning pro in 1998, he has succeeded in winning the British Open and the World Open, three times each. He reached a career-high world ranking of World Number 1 in June 2010, and for his services to squash he was awarded an OBE. Matthew is a fantastic role model for young players around the world and an outstanding ambassador for the sport.
In future, it is hoped that squash will feature on our television screens as part of the Olympics where Britain can be as successful in this sport as it has been in others. Players around the world will keep campaigning for their chance to show the world their talents.
Original image by the Faulkner Family