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WSF makes bid for inclusion in Olympics

S.R. Suryanarayan

CHENNAI: An assorted group of representatives of world squash, including World Squash Federation President, N. Ramachandran, took a crucial step in their bid to have squash included in the 2016 Olympic Games when they made a presentation to the International Olympic Committee Executive Board in Lausanne on Monday.

Thirteen-year-old Hanna Fekede Balcha from Ethiopia was one of the bright members of the group and she stole the show with her innocence and her story of how the sport had helped her build a new life in the U.S.

The structured training that she received in the Surf City Squash Programme in San Diego from age nine helped her rise both in her academics and in the sport. She is the U-15 urban squash champion and dreams of representing Ethiopia in the Olympics in 2016 as a 20-year old.

Her presentation made a big impact at Lausanne, according to a press release from the SRFI.

Mr. Ramachandran explained in detail how WSF has brought several improvements in the sport’s infrastructure to make it ready for incorporating into the Olympics.

Aside from Mr. Ramachandran and Hanna, the others in the delegation were IOC Member and World Squash Federation (WSF) Patron, Prince Imran of Malaysia, women’s World No 1, Nicol David of Malaysia, former World champion, Frenchman Thierry Lincou, and the up-and-coming South African, Siyoli Lusaseni.

The Executive Board was shown a spectacular video, highlighting a number of the key areas. Among the points taken up were the sport’s progress to become an enjoyable programme on television, the pledge from the top athletes who would compete; the range of nationalities that would be represented (current rankings show there would be 30 different countries involved); and the low cost and accessibility of the sport around the world.

In a message, Ramachandran said, “I am proud of the presentation which put together our achievements thus far. I believe we showed squash to its full potential and I hope IOC will see the merits of its inclusion.”

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