Squash banks on universality to make Olympic cut
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Every day of the London Olympics, a new photograph of Nicol David appeared on her Facebook fan page. Each time, it showed the world's number one women's squash player trying out a new Olympic sport. One day, the Malaysian was slugging it out against a punching bag, and the caption read, "Glad it doesn't hit back!" Another day, she was perched on top of a racing bike, asking her fans, "Is this bike too big for me?" Each time, the caption also included the hashtags #WishIWasThere and #BackTheBid2020.
Men's number one James Willstrop, meanwhile, was writing a regular blog on the Huffington Post, titled 'A Squash Player's Olympic Diary'. In one post, he wrote about a dream, in which International Olympic Committee (IOC) chairman Jacques Rogge had called an emergency meeting. "Squash was called in to London at the last minute," Willstrop wrote. "The dream then had me driving down a street in Leeds, where hoardings of Ennis, Daley and Adlington were dispensed with, and replaced by adverts of myself and Jenny Duncalf, Nick Matthew and Laura Massaro, the top four British players."
Squash's best players have all campaigned aggressively in support of the sport's bid to be included in the 2020 Olympics. Squash is competing against baseball, karate, roller sports, softball, sport climbing, wakeboarding, wushu and beach soccer for one slot in 2020. The IOC will make their decision during their 2013 Buenos Aires Summit.
"The strengths of our bid are many and we hope we will be found to be compelling," says N Ramachandran, president, World Squash Federation (WSF). "They include the universality of squash — which is played in 185 countries and has had world champions from every continent. Also, one of the pillars of the Olympics is that the event should be the pinnacle of achievement for the athletes, and it certainly would be for our squash players. Nicol David has said that she would trade her six World Open titles for just one Olympic Gold medal. That sums it up."
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