IOC shorlists squash for 2020 Olympics: WSF

Chennai:Chances of inclusion of Squash as a sport in Olympic Games has brightened after the International Olympic Committee shortlisted it for the 2020 edition, World
Squash Federation chief N Ramachandran said on Friday.

"Squash is shortlisted for the single slot of 2020 Games. Hopefully it is India at that point of time to host the Games. A review of the existing sports would also be decided by
2013," Ramachandran, who was re-elected WSF President, said.

"There could even be more than one slot. If a sport is dropped, it might be given to other sports. I would be pushin for inclusion of squash," he said.

Ramachandran said he was disappointed when squash was not included in the 2016 Olympic Games when WSF bid for it last time.

"When we bid for it last time, IOC was going through a bad phase because of recession in Europe and they needed additional revenue. Thus, rugby was included.

"There is participation of men and women in Golf whereas there is no women in Rugby. At the same time, where is the universality in Golf and Rugby as compared to Squash wherein you have five continental champions. Rugby and Golf cannot match the widespread activity of Squash," he said.

Explaining the procedure as per the IOC Charter, Ramachandran said, "Last time we gave two presentations to Olympic programme commission and Executive Board of the IOC. This time, there might not be any need for such elaborate presentation. It will only be a questionnaire about 18 months before the IOC Board decides. The IOC Executive board would take a decision," he said.

"After having fulfilled every criteria except the added value by Rugby, we did not get Squash included in Olympics and we are disappointed," he said.

The complaint was that the squash ball was not visible when played but Ramachandran said in the just-concluded Commonwealth Games, the ball was seen clearly in photographs taken besides in television footage.

"This has been sorted out now and with the high definition cameras available these days, the ball was seen very clearly on televisions too," he said.

Chennai will host Squash World Cup from March 8 to 12 next year and Ramachandran said the USD 125,000 prize-money event will be to be held at Express Shopping Mall to increase awareness of squash among the public and to bring in TV revenue too.

?We need to have events of our own. WISPA OR PSA. With World Cup, we will surely get more mileage and brand the sport better. Like the ATP and WTA Tour for the tennis
professionals, we will have non-stop events for the players each year by the WSF for next five years?, Ramachandran said.

World Cup was introduced ten years ago in Holland. 2011 on, World Cup would have countrywise teams --two men and women- and it is a good concept wherein men and women playing together for their country in best of three games format."We would also have World Cup Doubles events from 2012."

He said the World body Management Committee meeting would be held in Sri Lanka in January next year.

Ramachandran was elected unopposed after his challenger Ms.Natalie Grainger of Australia withdrew.

She was proposed by USA. In the elections for Vice Presidents, Chris Stahlk (England) and Heather Deaton (Hong Kong) were re-elected, while Mohd Al Menshawi of Egypt
defeated Gerad Decousy of New Zealand.

The AGM also amended the constitution as per the IOC Rules making the term of office of President as two four year terms of eight years and that of the Vice Presidents to four
two year term for eight years.