Tuesday August 21, 2012
Australian Open champ Nicol vows to get squash into Olympics
By KNG ZHENG GUAN
PETALING JAYA: Malaysian squash queen Nicol David reigned supreme in the Australian Open in Canberra, picking up her 62nd Women’s Squash Association (WSA) title, and once again voiced her determination to see the sport grace the Olympics.
World No.1 Nicol was on top of her game on Sunday and, despite some fierce resistance by third seed Laura Massaro in the first set, powered through to win 17-15, 11-2, 11-6 in 44 minutes.
“The Australian Open is like a Grand Slam for us and I’m glad to win it for a second time,” said Nicol on
“It was hard to get Laura off my back initially and I had to get stuck in there and fight it out physically and mentally. I’m just so happy to win it three-love.”
The 28-year-old Nicol, the poster girl for squash’s 2020 Olympics bid, initiated an online awareness campaign throughout the recent London Games.
The Amsterdam-based Penangite said it was only fair that the sport be in the Games, adding that she would trade all her titles just for one shot at an Olympic gold.
“I was in London and it was heartbreaking to watch all the other sports, except squash, vying for medals,” she said.
“Squash players are some of the best athletes in the world and it’s truly a sport for all-rounders because you need every bit of skill to play at the highest level. We really belong in the Olympics.
“I’ll be doing everything I can to get it in for the 2020 Games and also everything to ensure I’m still competitive then.”
Her sentiments were echoed by the Australian Open men’s champion, Egyptian maestro Ramy Ashour, who said he never understood why squash was the only mainstream racquet sport left out of the Games.
“There’s absolutely nothing wrong about the game,” said the world No. 4 after beating compatriot Omar Mosaad 11-9, 11-9, 11-6 in the final.
“It’s very healthy because you burn a lot of calories and anyone, in general, can play the game. Besides, we now have portable courts that can be put up anywhere in the world. It is, quite frankly, a very fast, interesting and exciting game.
“I don’t mean to be disrespectful, but I’ve seen a lot of other sports that don’t belong in the Olympics.”
While the bid for squash to be in the Olympics is gathering momentum, the decision will only be known next year when the International Olympic Council (IOC) meet in Buenos Aires to decide whether to include squash, baseball, karate, roller sports, softball, sport climbing, wakeboarding, wushu and beach soccer in the Games.
Until then, Nicol and company can only keep up the good work and hope that their sport receives the recognition it deserves.