Real work ahead for squash's Olympic Games bid
Having survived the first phase, the sport battles two rivals for inclusion in 2020
The real work of making squash an Olympic sport still lies ahead, the game's Asian head, David Mui Ying-yuen, warned yesterday.
The IOC vote this week in St Petersburg, Russia, saw wrestling and baseball/softball win the right to be considered for reinstatement as Olympic sports and for squash to be considered for inclusion for the first time.
Mui, the chairman of Hong Kong Squash, who is also president of its Asian federation, said: "This is just the beginning and we believe more hard work will be required for another hard battle."
The sports are vying for a single slot in the 2020 Olympic Games programme, which is to be voted on by a full session of the IOC in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in September.
"We are facing two strong opponents as only one of the three will be at the 2020 Games. But getting the job done in St Petersburg is already a great step forward and we are confident of success in the end."
After eliminating five sports - karate, roller sports, sport climbing, wakeboarding and wushu, the IOC full membership will now meet for the 125th Session in the Argentinian capital from September 7 to 10 to vote on which of the three sports to add to the programme of the 2020 Games.
The Games' hosting city will also be decided at the same conference. Tokyo, Madrid and Istanbul are the three candidate cities.
"As the Asian federation president, I will do my best over the next couple of months to lobby our regional counterparts," said Mui. "We will also work closely with our international federation and follow their strategies."
There are more than 20 IOC members out of a total 100 from Asia, including Hong Kong's Timothy Fok Tsun-ting and three members from China. There are also Asian members from squash heavyweights such as Malaysia, Pakistan, Kuwait and other Middle East nations.
Mui said as far as he understood, a simple majority of more than 50 per cent will be required if squash wants to win the bid in the first round.
If not, the sport with the lowest votes will be first eliminated, to be followed by a battle between the two survivors.
The official remained upbeat about their chances, saying the whole process was intended to bring in new sports to provide added value to the Olympic Games.
"The two other competitors have been part of the Olympic programmes before but were rejected for failing to reach the required IOC criteria," said Mui. "Squash can certainly give some new dimensions to the Games and I am sure this will be seriously considered by the members."
Already there are 27 sports programmes for the 2020 Games.