Thursday, May 23, 2013

Squash group on final push for Olympic bid

On a mission: Nicol David (front) and the Squash 2020 social media team striking a pose. On a mission: Nicol David (front) and the Squash 2020 social media team striking a pose.
PETALING JAYA: It is a just a week away before squash knows its Olympic fate with the bid for the 2020 Games rapidly gaining momentum.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) will meet on May 29 at St Petersburg, Russia, to shortlist two or three of the following sports – wrestling, karate, baseball-softball, wakeboarding, sport climbing, wushu, roller sport and squash – for the final selection of the last available slot in the 2020 Olympic Games.

The final decision will be made during the full IOC session at Buenos Aires, Argentina, in September.
Wrestling, which was controversially dropped from the Games last year sparking a global outcry, is among the frontrunners to make the final cut-list, with squash and karate also in the fray.

Nevertheless, squash has garnered the support of several top athletes such as tennis greats Roger Federer, Andre Agassi, Kim Clijsters as well as badminton’s world No. 1 Lee Chong Wei.
And with the sport’s future still in the balance, the Squash 2020 social media team has called for more people, Malaysians in particular, to come out and show their support for the bid.

“We have a pretty active follow-ing and a strong support but the number on the Facebook page (Squash 2020) and Twitter (@vote4squash) is still quite low compared to other sports bidding for a place in the Games,” said team leader Elaine Tan.

“We need to show the IOC that we have the public’s popular support so it is important that we boost these numbers.

“We are looking at achieving at least a million supporters on Facebook, as everyone is on social media today, so you can be certain that the IOC board members are also watching and listening.
“But we have limited fundings to run and advertise on these social media sites so it’s up to everyone out there to show the IOC that squash has the public’s support.

“It is as simple as following our Squash 2020 Facebook page or Twitter account (@vote4squash) and be as active as you can because every comment and shares help our case,” added Elaine.
Currently a public poll on
has shown that wrestling is currently the popular choice with 40.2% of votes, follow- ed by squash with 33.6%. Karate is the third popular choice with 17.4%.

Men’s and women’s world No. 1 – Egypt’s Ramy Ashour and Malaysia’s Nicol David – will be tasked with the daunting task of presenting squash’s bid to the IOC next week, alongside World Squash Federation (WSF) president N. Ramachandran and chief executive officer Andrew Shelley.


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