LONDON: Squash can broaden the range of nations who could win Olympic medals if it succeeds in getting into the 2016 Games, according to one of its all-time greats, Peter Nicol.
The indoor racquet sport is well represented in developing parts of the world, in Asia and amongst Muslim women.
Nicol, a Scot who is ambassador for squash s bid for a Games berth, hopes these factors will play well with International Olympic Committee members when they decide in October on whether to enlarge the Games schedule for 2016.
Represented among the top players in the world there is a huge variety of countries who are not necessarily going to be in the top part of the Olympic medal table, said Nicol, who won four Commonwealth gold medals and was world number one for a total of 60 months.
Nicol David has been world number one for nearly three years and she could win a gold medal for Malaysia which would be the first Olympic gold Malaysia has won, said Nicol, speaking at the Super Series event here Monday.
Egypt currently has three men in the world s top four, and Mexico has Samantha Tehran who is highly ranked now, the Scot added.
We have got players from all over the world achieving great things in squash, which is appealing to the Olympic movement.
We can take the Olympics into new markets, and the Games would do the same for us. Countries not well represented in the medal charts would succeed.
Squash is also keen to present itself as a value-for-money sport to stage.
Portable, perspex courts can be sited at almost any venue and, especially where there is a spectacular backdrop, thereby provide an image which boosts the host city s television profile.
Squash s longstanding weakness is that its fast-paced matches do not themselves always come across well on television.
But, according to its advocates, this problem has been solved in part by new technology which makes the ball much more visible.
Squash was also the sport which came closest to being added to the program for the London 2012 Games.
However it faces tougher competition this time from six sports – golf, baseball, softball, rugby sevens, karate, and rollers sports.
A decision on which, if any, of these sports should occupy two places said to be available for 2016 will be made in Copenhagen in October.