India’s Saurav Ghosal and Dipika Pallikal would “happily” trade their Tour titles for an Olympic medal as they wished success to the squash delegation, which will deliver a presentation to the IOC Executive Board on Wednesday for the game’s inclusion in the 2020 Games.
“That’s a no brainer like choosing between the Asian Games medals and Tour titles and an Olympic medal. Of course, I will choose the Olympic medal as it has been my dream to represent my country in Olympics,” Ghosal told PTI from Leeds before boarding a flight to Kolkata.
“We had presented a very good bid for the squash’s inclusion even last year. We are making all the right noises and I am 100 per cent confident that IOC Executive Board will take interest in our presentation and shortlist the sport for their September meeting,” he added.
Pallikal echoed the same sentiments and said, “The Olympics are an athletes ultimate dream and I would close my eyes and trade everything for an Olympic medal.”
“We, as squash players, are extremely proud to be part of this bid. There has been so much development in every aspect of the game over the years and I don’t see a reason why we shouldn’t be an Olympic sport,” she added.
A squash delegation, comprising of women’s World No. 1 Nicol David, men’s numero uno Ramy Ashour and World Squash Federation president N Ramachandran, have arrived at St Petersburg, Russia ahead of the crucial presentation to the Executive Board on Wednesday.
The Board is expected to reduce the current list of eight sports bidding to join the 2020 Games following presentations tomorrow before deciding on the one discipline at the 125th IOC Session in Buenos Aires, Argentina on September 7, 2013.
Apart from squash, the other disciplines bidding for a place in the 2020 Games include baseball-softball, karate, roller sports, sports climbing, wakeboarding, wrestling and wushu.
Pallikal said they have had an excellent build-up to the bid and the sport deserves to be in the Olympic programme.
“It’s been phenomenon (the campaign for squash’s inclusion over the last couple of years). I think we have had an excellent build-up to the bid. The whole squash fraternity has worked so hard in getting squash to be what it is today. We have worked on a few things after we lost out on the previous bid and I don’t see a reason why squash shouldn’t be an Olympic sport,” she said.
Like Ghosal, the Chennai girl was also confident of squash making the 2020 Olympics and the IOC shortlisting their sport for the September meeting.
“I would like to think so. It’s very hard to say whether we will make it because you never know till the last minute. But I do know that we utterly deserve to be an Olympic sport and if we do become part of Olympic, it will definitely change the entire face of squash,” said the World No.14 and winner of seven Tour titles.
Ghosal said the delegation should stress on the global reach of squash while making the presentation as the sport is already part of every major multisport games — including the Asian, Commonwealth, Pan Am and World Games.
“There’s no cut-and-dry method. It’s best try to convince them given our global presence. Other sports are deserving as well and IOC will see to that but we really have a strong case this time. It would be a massive decision for us,” said Ghosal, World No.19 and winner of five Tour titles.