Squash Starts the World Over

April 7, 2009

Jacques Rogge, IOC President, has recently cited “universality” as a quality that he’ll be seeking in sports bidding to become part of the 2016 Olympic Programme. Squash has always claimed universality as a strength, and this month the sport enjoys another boost with 17 different countries, the highest number ever, represented in the PSA’s top 40 men’s ranked male players. This means that the sport has top players from across the globe and representing all continents except Antarctica! WISPA the women’s squash equivalent is only just behind the men with 16 different countries featured in the top 40.

Mexican player Eric Galvez brought the record number to 17 countries by re-entering the top 40 this month. He joins South American player Miguel Angel Rodriguez from Colombia who is ranked No 23. Spanish player Borja Golan has achieved a personal best of No 12 and also puts Spain into the top 40 for the first time in more than 15 years. Another country enjoying new success is India, represented by Squash 2016 Ambassador Saurav Ghosal, the county’s highest ranked player at No 31.

Egypt dominates the top of the table, filling all of the first three spots. Amr Shabana was the first Egyptian to play his way to the number one spot in April 2006, and is now ranked at No 2, and fellow countryman Karim Darwish followed in his footsteps and in January 2009 became the second ever Egyptian player to reach No 1, a position he maintains this month. Squash 2016 Ambassador Ramy Ashour completes the trio at No 3.

Other countries represented high in the rankings and helping to prove that Squash is a global sport are France, Malaysia, Netherlands, England, Australia and USA.

The Squash 2016 team has been working hard on the bid, with World Squash Federation (WSF) past President Susie Simcock, along with WSF Vice President Gerard de Courcy and Oceania Squash President, Col Clapper, making a presentation to the important Oceania Olympic Committee general assembly in Queenstown, New Zealand, last week. Squash, along with four of the other six sports vying for a spot in the 2016 Olympic Games, outlined the reasons behind its bid, paying particular reference to the fact that the sport is played by almost 20 million people in 175 countries and would be a very economical addition to the Olympic Games programme.

Simcock had a busy week, having come directly from Sportaccord In Denver, USA. The international sporting event was a resounding success for squash. It proved to be the perfect venue for many of the most important people in the squash world to come and boost the campaign for the sports inclusion in the 2016 Games.

The President of the World Squash Federation (WSF) N Ramachandran led the team and along with Simcock took the opportunity to meet a number of VIPs from the world of sport. N Ramachandran and the team undertook a number of interviews with international media and were filmed for the Olympic Magazine show on EuroSport. Sporting legend and WSF Emeritus President Jahangir Khan also joined the stand to discuss and promote the bid and participated with other members of the bid team in a phone interview with the BBC in London. They also did interviews for the Olympic publications Inside the Games and Around the Rings and with Denver and Chicago based newspapers.

The Squash 2016 stand was ably manned by squash players past and present, happy to share their love of the sport and hopes for Olympic inclusion with the large number of visitors. Current world No 2, Natalie Grainger and fellow WISPA player, Suzie Pierrepont, were on hand to represent female players while South African, TG Raubenheimer, was joined by ex player Mark Chaloner, the former PSA President, on behalf of the men’s game.

HRH Prince Tunku Imran of Malaysia, WSF patron, was a regular visitor to the stand, and spoke to a number of VIPs and media. The Squash stand was visually enticing with large plasma screens showing off some of the best squash action. The team gained the attention of many key figures from the sporting world, with visitors including Olympic medalist and Head of the IOC Athletes commission Frankie Fredricks and Sir Philip Craven, MBE amongst other IOC members who took an interest the stand.