Rio 2016: Inclusion of golf frustrates squash players

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, Mumbai
  • Updated: Jul 15, 2016 10:21 IST
Adam Scott of Australia has said the gold event at Rio would feel like “an exibition event”, a comment that has not gone down well in the squash fraternity. (Getty Images)

Participating and winning medals at the Olympics is considered to be the pinnacle of every professional athlete’s career. Just ask the squash players. For years, they have lobbied for the sport to make its entry into the Olympics. Multiple world title winner Nicol David has even gone on to say that she would happily swap her world championships titles for a chance to play in the Olympics.

Squash was among the sports short-listed for possible inclusion at the 2016 Rio Olympics and 2020 Tokyo Olympics, but lost out to golf, with the prospect of watching Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy competing at the Olympics a hard prospect to ignore for IOC’s Executive Board.

That exclusion still rankles many of the world’s top squash players. The disappointment has only grown after many of the world’s top golfers — including the top four ranked players Jason Day, Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth and McIlroy — pulled out of the Rio Olympics golf tournament citing the outbreak of the zika virus in Brazil.

Another prominent golfer, Adam Scott, has even gone on to say that he would not be going to Rio due to other commitments and saying that the gold event at Rio would feel like “an exhibition event”.

India’s leading squash players like Saurav Ghosal and Joshna Chinappa have been irked, rightfully, by golfers pulling out.

“Every squash player in the world has made it clear that, let alone winning a medal, being a part of the Olympics is a massive achievement for them. It is definitely very frustrating to see the world No 1, 2 of golf pulling out.

“It’s frustrating for us at a personal level, it’s frustrating for the sport at a broader level. At the end of the day, it’s International Olympic Committee which has to kind of look at it and see what exactly it wants.

“If it was up to me and if was up to a lot of other people, the decision to put a sport in the Olympics will be based on how important it is was that to the sport and to its athletes… sports like golf, Formula One and cricket don’t need the Olympics,” Ghosal told reporters during the 73rd senior squash Nationals at the Otters Club in Mumbai.

Chinappa added: “Squash is such a deserving sport to be a part of the Olympics. But as of now it is not there. That does not make me a lesser athlete or my sport lesser than any other sport.

“We have the Commonwealth Games, we have the Asian Games, we have our World Championships, so we look forward to that. We go back to the grind. We work as hard as any other top athlete in the world and hopefully the International Olympic Committee can see in time that squash deserves to be part of the Olympic programme.”

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