`Popularity of squash on the rise'

MUMBAI, AUG. 1. World Squash Federation (WSF) President, Jehangir Khan, is optimistic that squash will be made an Olympic medal event by 2012.

"Squash is gaining popularity all over the world. Now, the WSF has got 123 national federations in its fold. So I feel Olympic admission as a medal event is bound to happen in the near future," said the six-time World Cup champion, speaking after the prize distribution function of the Herald Maritime Squash Open here on Saturday.

The Pakistan squash great was invited by Capt. Jamshed Appoo, Director of Herald Maritime Services.

After watching four finals at the Otters Club, Mr. Khan felt that competition was closer in his playing days. "Squash is on the Olympic waitlist alongwith rugby and other sports. The popularity of the sport is increasing day by day. The member strength of the WSF was also on the rise."

He is also positive about squash's appeal to television, a vital criterion for Olympics consideration. "Television is already trying out new angles to make squash interesting to sports viewers," he said.

The WSF chief also ruled out any moves to alter the structure of squash for making it a popular television sport. "Squash is very much part of every regional event, from the Asian Games, the Pan American Games or the Commonwealth Games. It is only a matter of time before the IOC is convinced of the sport's reach," he added.

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