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Joey Chan receives her Most Valuable Player award at Hong Kong Squash 60th anniversary celebration. Photo: Chan Kin-wa

Squash faces battle to be included in 2025 National Games

  • Chief Executive Carrie Lam says it will be difficult to add the sport to the programme but will try to help
  • Retired squash player Joey Chan receives Most Valuable Player award at ceremony
Annie Au

Hong Kong Squash is trying to include their sport at the 2025 National Games but know they face an uphill battle to gain acceptance.

The city will co-host China’s sporting showpiece with Guangdong and Macau in four years’ time and Hong Kong Squash wants to part of the programme, given the sport’s outstanding record at Asian Games and other championships.

At the association’s 60th anniversary celebration held at the Convention and Exhibition Centre in Wan Chai on Wednesday, Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, who was a guest of honour at the ceremony, said she had received the request to make squash a medal sport at the National Games. But she told squash officials that it would be hard to pull off after consulting the Home Affairs Bureau.

Most of the National Games medal programme follows the Olympic Games criteria, but unfortunately squash is still not part of the Olympic Games despite trying for more than two decades.

Joey Chan receives her Most Valuable Player trophy from Chief Executive Carrie Lam. Photo: Hong Kong Squash

However, Hong Kong Squash chairman Duncan Chiu said he would continue to press ahead to have the sport included at the National Games.

Squash mixed doubles to make Asian Games debut in Hangzhou 2022

“We also understand the Games rules but because Hong Kong will be the co-host for the 2025 Games, it is only natural to make such a request as squash has performed very well over the years,” said Chiu. “We will try other ways to convince the authorities. We are worthy to be a medal sport at the National Games and hopefully we can get some positive response.”

While the 2025 Games is still four years away, the 2022 Asian Games is around the corner. Squash has been part of the Asian Games programme for many years and the event has included mixed doubles in their medal programme for the first time.

Hong Kong Squash chairman Duncan Chiu. Photo: Hong Kong Squash

“Hong Kong has been a major force at the Asian Games. We won two gold and two silver medals at the last Games in Jakarta,” said Chiu. “Now there will an additional medal up for grabs and of course we will also target [winning] it.”

The association also announced three Most Valuable Athlete awards at the anniversary, with 2018 Asian Games women’s team members Joey Chan Ho-ling, Ho Tze-lok and Lee Ka-yi being named the recipients.

Annie Au celebrates after defeating Laura Massaro of England after reaching the World Championships quarter-finals. Photo: Handout

The team won gold along with Annie Au Wing-chi, but Au had already received the same award on previous occasions.

Only Chan, who retired last year, turned up at the function as the two other players are playing in the pro tour around the world, with October’s US Open in Philadelphia their next target.

Start of a new era as players try to become the next Annie Au

Chan is now working in the high performance division at the Sports Institute and hopes the new generation of players can take up the baton.

“The players are experiencing a special period due to the pandemic outbreak as many of the tournaments have been called off or postponed,” said Chan. “They can only keep training with no competition. They also need to go through some quarantine requirements if they go overseas. If they can overcome all these difficulties, they can grow tremendously.”

The city’s flagship event, the Hong Kong Squash Open, which was scheduled for November this year, has been postponed for the third year in a row since 2019.

This article appeared in the South China Morning Post print edition as: Quest to be included at National Games in 2025