Friday February 22, 2013
Chance for squash at 2020 Olympics
THE International Olympic Council (IOC) will meet on Sept 7 at the 125th IOC Session in Buenos Aires to decide one of the following games – baseball/softball, karate, roller sports, sport climbing, squash, wakeboarding and wushu – to be included in the 2020 Olympics.
I was pleasantly surprised that the National Sports Council (NSC) has at last given their official support and backing to Datuk Nicol David to see her dream of getting squash into the Olympics (The Star, Feb 19).
I would say if Nicol’s dream is realised, it will be one of the greatest sports achievements in our country in view of surreal dream of winning an Olympic gold medal.
We are indeed very proud of Nicol’s outstanding achievements – her sporting career is laden with world titles and record-breaking victories.
Nicol has boldly said that she looked forward to taking part in 2020 Olympics even if had to be there in a walking stick. This underscores her pride and determination to represent the country and bring it glory.
In light of the absence of any potential Olympic gold medalists among our sportsmen in the next decade, I believe Nicol probably might be the first Malaysian to win our first gold medal.
In contrast, Datuk Lee Chong Wei, unfortunately, has not decided whether to participate in the 2016 Olympics. However, if he decides to take part, the odds are against him of getting the gold medal in view of China’s large pool of formidable young players.
On the other hand, our diving diva Pandelela Renong , who recently bagged the SAM’s Athlete of the Year award, is seriously training and preparing to be on the winning rostrum again at the 2016 Olympics.
My bet, undoubtedly, is on the seven-time world champion Nicol because she is extremely disciplined and has the tenacity and will-power to achieve what she sets out to do.
Though, by then she will be 37 at the 2020 Olympics, this is not a real problem; Sarah Fitz-Gerald, five-time squash world champion, won her last world title at age 34.
Besides, Serena Williams, aged 31, currently ranked No 1, is playing tennis - which comparatively demands more power, energy and stamina.
We can also rely on younger players like Low Wee Wern, ranked world No 6, to get the gold.
So we should go all out to help the World Squash Federation (WSF) in its bid for squash to be included in the 2020 Olympics.
It is most timely now for the Squash Rackets Association of Malaysia (SRAM), which has been chosen as the Most Dynamic Association by SAM just recently, to prove its worth by getting squash into the Olympics.
In the meantime, SRAM had better grab this golden opportunity to produce more junior players of world standard to ensure that their player would win the elusive Olympic gold medal for Malaysia.
More urgently, SRAM should now play a bigger role in helping WSF, and not leave it all to Nicol’s personal crusade like getting Roger Federer’s support, to get squash into the Olympics.
Nicol, though the squash icon of the world, is already heavily taxed and fully preoccupied training intensely and effectively to prepare herself for squash tournaments around the world and win prestigious titles for our country.
Furthermore, the NSC together with the Youth, Culture and Sports Ministry, should put up a concerted effort to intensify their campaign to get squash into the Olympics instead of depending on Nicol, thus taxing her time and draining her energy from playing squash.
In addition, sports enthusiasts who are computer savvy should aggressively use the social networks, such as Facebook and Twitter, to help the country’s bid, for the inclusion of squash in the Olympics.
If WSF succeeds, I am optimistic that we’ll get at least a gold medal in squash, either from Nicol or Wee Wern, in the 2020 Olympics.