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Wednesday June 5, 2013

We will support squash all the way, says Sports Minister

KUALA LUMPUR: Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin has pledged to give squash all the support it needs in its bid to get into the 2020 Olympics.

Khairy, who took over from Datuk Seri Ahmad Shabery Cheek, admitted that squash faced a tough fight with wrestling still in the fray.

“I’ve been helping out Mohd Azlan Iskandar (former national player) in his efforts for squash’s bid but there’s still more to be done,” Khairy said during his official visit to the National Sports Institute (NSI) at Bukit Jalil yesterday.

“Squash is in the final shortlist with wrestling and that makes it very tough. There is still a chance though and we will help in any way possible to get squash selected for the Games.”

Squash was chosen by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) executive board for the final shortlist last month with wrestling and baseball/softball.

With Malaysian squash queen Nicol David and Egyptian maestro Ramy Ashour championing the bid, squash has received increased awareness all over the world.

But wrestling, which was controversially dropped earlier this year before being given a reprieve by the IOC, has the momentum and is the strong favourite to get the nod.

The final decision will be made on Sept 8 before the full IOC session in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The hosts for the 2020 Games will be announced a day earlier. Madrid (Spain), Tokyo (Japan) and Istanbul (Turkey) are bidding to host the 2020 Games.

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