: The Hong Kong Open has ended and the winners have been spotted, with Ramy Ashour and Nicol David earning the men’s and women’s honours respectively. But the focus of interest of this well-conducted event was also on how the special representatives from the International Olympic Committee had viewed the event, considering they had come to assess squash’s credentials to join the 2020 Olympic Games programme.
“I could not be more happy with this weekend,” said WSF president N. Ramachandran. “The Hong Kong Open is an impressive event, superbly managed by the Hong Kong Squash Federation and we were honoured that the IOC Programme Commission chose to come and evaluate it. While it is not one of our largest events by capacity, it has been framed to bring squash to the public; and the placing of the all-glass showcourt on the Avenue Of The Stars at the Harbour certainly did that.
“We hope that the inspectors were happy with the staging, presentation and broadcast of our sport, together with our fine tour athletes, and that their positive impressions can be reinforced when we present to the Commission as a whole in Lausanne later this month,” he said. Walter Sieber, one of the two IOC Programme Commission representatives, said, “We were able to make a very thorough inspection of the way the event was organised, taking into account the needs of the athletes and coaches. Naturally, we also wanted to assess how the glass court is helping to present the sport for broadcast purposes. We found that the competition arrangements were of a high level, and on court we were able to see the top players in action too. It has proven to be very informative.”
After winning her 40th successive match in Hong Kong since 2003, Nicol said, “I am so glad that the IOC inspectors could come to see such an amazing setup here every year. For us to play on the waterfront is wonderful — and they get to experience it too. I really hope that it helps our chances to join the Olympic programme,” she echoed.