After three unsuccessful attempts to secure a spot on past Olympic programs, the sport of squash Thursday launched a new bid to be staged at the Paris 2024 edition of the Games.
The World Squash Federation (WSF) and Professional Squash Association (PSA) have teamed up to unveil a new campaign named “Squash Goes Gold” with full web and social media support at SquashGoesGold.com – along with a program to empower the world squash community to support and take part in the sports’ future.
France’s top ranked female player Camille Serme – winner of the World Games and major PSA titles such as the British Open, U.S. Open and Tournament of Champions – has taken an active role in the new campaign.
Serme said in a statement “the chance to compete in an Olympic Games would be a dream come true – the chance to compete in an Olympic Games in my home city would be unbelievable.”
“We already see the squash community coming together in support of our bid and hope that this new campaign will help us collectively propel squash to where it deserves to be – on the biggest sporting stage in the world.”
Squash failed in bids to be staged at the 2012, 2016 and 2020 Olympic Games.
At a March 24 meeting, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) is set to receive a list of recommended sports from the Paris 2024 Games organizing committee that could appear on the program in the French capital. The list would then need to be approved by the IOC Session at a meeting in Lausanne, Switzerland at the end of June.
Next year, the IOC Executive Board will make a final confirmation of approved sports that will appear on the Paris 2024 program only and not necessarily at subsequent Games.
Paris 2024 organizers have said they will select sports that appeal to the youth in France.
“Squash is played in some of the most spectacular locations in the world – in front of the Pyramids of Giza, on the harbour-front in Hong Kong, inside Grand Central Terminal in New York – and our ability to showcase the beauty, youth and innovative drive of Paris by setting up an all-glass court anywhere in the city is something few sports can do,” WSF President Jacques Fontaine said Thursday.
PSA CEO Alex Gough said “Squash is in the best position it has ever been and this campaign will allow the sport’s global player and fan base to get involved with the Paris 2024 bid directly and have their own influence on the future of the sport.
“A future we hope will see squash featured in Paris in four years’ time.
“The Olympic Games is the greatest sporting event in the world and there’s no question that a Gold Medal would be the pinnacle for any squash player.”
Squash has been a top contender in each of its past bids, but has failed due to the strong interest from many other Olympic recognized sports.
The competition for the 2024 Games will be equally challenging.
Five sports that were approved for the Tokyo 2020 program are also expected to try to remain in the mix in 2024. Baseball and softball, karate, skateboarding, sport climbing and surfing were all chosen by Japanese officials for one-time inclusion at those Games, but they’ll have to campaign again if they hope to be staged in Paris.
On Tuesday the World Chess Federation (FIDE) announced it would propose that ‘rapid’ and ‘blitz’ formats of chess be staged at the Games, launching a campaign supporting its bid.
Earlier this month the International Motorcycling Federation (FIM) announced it would propose its Trial-E event for the Games, an electric motorcycle competition that is similar in concept to mountain biking.
The Fédération Française de Billard (FFB) and the World Snooker Federation (WSF) in December launched a campaign for snooker to be staged in Paris after failing to have it added to the Tokyo 2020 program.
Boules Sport, a French version of lawn bowling, is also actively promoting a possible bid for Paris 2024 inclusion.