Asian champion Au wants to keep playing until Olympics
Hong Kong star is prepared to delay her retirement if sport is included in the Games
Newly crowned Asian champion Annie Au Wing-chi insists age won't prevent her from fulfilling her Olympic dream should squash be selected for the 2020 Games later this year.
Au, who returned from Pakistan yesterday after beating Low Wee Wern of Malaysia in the Asian championship final on Sunday, will be 31 when those Games are held but insisted thoughts of retiring from the sport would be put firmly to one side if squash wins its bid.
"There are still a few more years to go before the 2020 Games, but I am sure I would hang in there for a longer period if squash were selected," said Au, who became Hong Kong's first women's Asian champion, having previously lost to world number one Nicol David of Malaysia in the final two years ago. "The Olympic Games is always the biggest and no one would want to miss it."
Squash and seven other candidates - baseball/softball, karate, roller sports, sport climbing, wakeboarding, wrestling and wushu - are vying for inclusion as an additional sport on the 2020 and 2024 Olympic programmes.
They will make a presentation to the International Olympic Committee when its executive board meets in St Petersburg, Russia, on May 29. The board will then decide which of the eight sports to recommend for inclusion with a final decision to be made in September.
Au, whose world ranking has dropped to 13, said Sunday's victory would boost her confidence for next year's Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea. "This is my first major win of the year and I hope to build on it as I start my preparations for Incheon," said Au, who aims to get back to the top 10 as soon as possible.
Head coach Tony Choi Yuk-kwan said he was confident squash would make it to the Olympic programme.
"The opponents are not as strong as before when we lost to golf and rugby for the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro," said Choi. "Squash is played by people in five major continents and there is no reason we cannot be represented in the Olympics."