KARACHI: Pakistan squash legend Jansher Khan has urged the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to go out of its way and reward a wild card entry to the sport in the 2020 Olympics which will be held in Tokyo, Japan.
It was at the 125th IOC Session in Buenos Aires that squash – shortlisted with wrestling and baseball/softball as one of three sports being considered for addition to the 2020 Olympic programme, and the only one never to have been in the mega event before – lost out to wrestling.
“Squash deserves to get a wild card from IOC to be included in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics,” Jansher told The Express Tribune while expressing his shock at the snub.
Wrestling was a clear winner in the first round of voting as it received 49 of the 95 votes cast. The joint bid of baseball/softball was second with 24 votes and squash received 22.
Jansher, who won a record eight World Open titles and six British Open crowns, felt it was unfair to sideline squash only on the basis of voting.
“If athletes from small countries can receive wild cards for participation in the Olympics just to motivate those nations, why can’t a giant sport like squash be given a lifeline?” he added.
“This is great injustice to a sport, which is played in over 100 countries, to be snubbed systematically just on the basis of votes. When a sport has such massive reach, votes alone shouldn’t decide its fate and the IOC should review this case.”
‘Something missing in my trophy cabinet’
The 44-year-old said that despite being one of the best players in the history of squash and winning every accolade there was to achieve, he still regrets not representing Pakistan at the Olympics once.
In his view, it was really disheartening to see fellow countrymen appear in the Olympics in different disciplines but he couldn’t be a part of the mega event.
“I’ve won everything in my life but not being able to participate in the mega event and no Olympic medal in my trophy cabinet hurts me even today,” lamented Jansher.
“Jahangir Khan and I dominated the game of squash for more than two decades and had squash been a part of Olympics in that era, Pakistan would’ve won several more Olympic gold medals. So I don’t want other top squash players to suffer the agony which we’ve endured which is why I’ll again insist that IOC should do something about this beautiful sport.”
Jansher hoped that despite the snub, squash will be given an entry into 2020 Olympics.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 12th, 2013.
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