Jahangir backs inclusion of squash at 2020 Olympics

Legend feels the time is right for sport to be included at the Games.

Nabeel Hashmi May 30, 2013
Jahangir Khan believes it is now or never for squash to finally get a place in the Olympics. PHOTO: AFP

KARACHI: Pakistan legend Jahangir Khan was a pleased man as squash edged closer to be recognised as an Olympic sport after the International Olympic Committee (IOC) shortlisted it for a place at the 2020 Games.

Squash is due to fight it out with wrestling and baseball for a spot at the coveted event. It was a major breakthrough and renewed hope for squash, which lost a spot at the 2016 Olympics to rugby and golf.

The decision was taken by IOC on Wednesday night and now the three sports will be put to the vote at the IOC session in Buenos Aires in September with only one of them winning a place on the 2020 Games program.

Five other sports – karate, wakeboarding, sports climbing, wushu and roller sports – did not make the shortlist, which means their chances of Olympic inclusion were dashed for at least another four years.

“It’s now or never for squash to get into the Olympics,” Jahangir told The Express Tribune. “The campaign that has been run this time has been pretty active and I am hopeful it will reap fruitful results. There have been close calls on a couple of occasion but now the time is right to give squash a chance at the Olympics because all the other racket sports are a part of it.”

The 10-time British Open winner and six-time world champion said that it has been hard to see squash kept out of the mega event despite being one of the most actively played sports globally.

“It is ironical that despite being one of the most systematic and popular sports played around the world, it has struggled to get a place at the Games.”

The IOC will elect the 2020 Games host city at its session on September 7 and the new sport will be included at those Games a day later. Tokyo, Madrid and Istanbul are bidding to stage the 2020 Olympics.

‘Olympics place will boost squash’s finances’

A place at the Olympics guarantees millions of dollars of revenues for sports disciplines, while an exit from the running for a spot can stifle a sport’s global growth.

Jahangir, who has also served as president of the World Squash Federation (WSF), explained that the financial side of the sport will also receive a major boost with the Olympics breakthrough with more sponsors wanting to support the sport and players.

“I’ve won everything in my career that has come my way but still when I look back into my trophy cabinet, there is something missing and that is an Olympic medal.

“I and other squash greats didn’t have a chance because the sport wasn’t at the Olympics and honestly, it was not the nicest feeling in the world for us watching athletes of other disciplines vie for the coveted medal.”

Published in The Express Tribune, May 31st, 2013.


slash | 8 years ago | Reply

Is the accompanying photograph supposed to be Jahangir Khan? If so, its the wrong player/picture. If not, why would you publish a picture of another squash player when your caption is all about Jahangir?

Kamran Hashmi | 8 years ago | Reply

We sure hope so, but literally squash won't have much chance as they will reinstate Wrestling instead....

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