Olympic dreams are squashed

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 03 January, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 03 January, 2012, 12:00am

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'Squash has the credentials to become an Olympic event ... We are working towards this and will keep trying even if our bid is not successful.' - Jahangir Khan, retired squash champion

Squash and the Olympics

Before the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, the world's greatest squash player, Jahangir Khan, had high hopes that squash would be included in the line-up for the Games. He was bitterly disappointed when the International Olympic Committee (IOC) did not include it on the list. Hopes were now pinned on the 2012 Games.

Since Beijing, Khan and other top squash players have lobbied long and hard for their speciality to become an Olympic sport. Back in 2005, the IOC had voted two sports - baseball and softball - off the programme for 2012. Surely this was a golden opportunity for the IOC to recognise the growing popularity of squash.

Another Olympic letdown

The IOC's plans for London 2012 provided a chance for two newcomers to be brought into the Olympic programme. Five sports - squash, golf, rugby sevens, roller sports and karate - were up for consideration. Committee members finally chose squash and karate as potential Olympic sports. Olympic rules and regulations are strict, and a sport has to have the backing of two-thirds of the IOC to be included in the programme.

To the disbelief of squash fans, their sport did not achieve the required support from committee members. Neither did karate. Squash was returned to the Olympic sidelines, and the game's supporters were once again left wringing their hands in frustration.

What is squash?

Squash is a high-speed, high-energy racquet sport for two or four players. It is played in a closed, four-walled room called a court. A squash court is 4.88 metres high, 5.64m wide and 9.75m long. A service line is painted on the floor, and there is also a service line on the front wall. The game is played by hitting a small, soft ball onto the front wall with a racquet. A squash court is 4.88 metres high, 5.64m wide and 9.75m long. A service line is painted on the floor, and there is also a service line on the front wall. The server has to hit the ball onto the front wall above the service line, making sure it comes back into the opposite service area in the court. A points system decides the winner.

Squash players have to be fit and agile, and because of the high speed of the game, it is very exciting to both play and watch.

And finally ...

Complete this passage by choosing the correct words in brackets.

Squash? What sort of a (name/country) is that for a sport? Isn't a squash some sort of vegetable? What has that got to do with a game? Well, nothing.

The name 'squash' comes from the 'squashy' (racquet/ball) first used in a version of the sport played at Harrow School in Britain in the second half of the 19th century.

Most sports are played with a (blow-up/hard) ball, but the students at Harrow used a small, soft ball that (players/teachers) could 'squash' in the (soles/palms) of their hand.

'Squash' was a (surname/nickname) for the game that the boys played, but it stuck as the game became (popular/expensive), eventually becoming the (unknown/international) sport it is today.

Answers:

name/ ball/ hard/ players/ palms/ nickname/ popular/ international