Nicol's Olympic dream crushed

  • Squash
  • Monday, 09 Sep 2013

KUALA LUMPUR: The look of utter disappointment was clearly obvious on Nicol David’s face.

Squash had done its homework in preparation for the 2020 Olympics bid – including hiring bid guru Mike Lee and his consulting firm Vero to lobby the bid, fully embracing innovation and change, and sending a fantastic team to present the case to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) during its 125th session in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on Sunday.

Crucially though, what squash lacked was political clout.

In the end, wrestling, which has participated in every Olympics except 1896 but dropped as a core sport in February, was reinstated as the IOC voted in its favour.

Wrestling garnered 49 votes from the 95 voting IOC members, while baseball/softball came in second with 24 votes. Squash ended up last with just 22 votes.

In retrospect, the decision might have been influenced by factors beyond Malaysians. Ultimately, the decision is final and the squash fraternity will have to accept it.

Still, it was terrible news to women's world No. 1 and seven-time world champion Nicol whose Olympic dream is definitely crushed with this latest rejection.

The Penangite who watched the IOC announcement via live streaming at a house in Bangsar, could barely hold back her emotions.

“This is quite disappointing and devastating because even if the World Squash Federation (WSF) were to launch another bid for the 2024 Games, it is over for me,” said a dejected Nicol.

“It will be really hard trying to imagine myself playing for another 11 years. Frankly, it’s a long shot.

“However, that doesn’t mean that I am done because the WSF has taken a huge leap of faith and I want to continue playing a part in getting squash into the Olympics eventually some day.

“The Olympics is every player's dream and my only regret is that if it does happen, I may not be competing anymore.

“Nevertheless, although this is a disappointing result for us, this effort has really given us something to hope for.

“The whole Olympic process has also shown what we are capable of and demonstrated that squash has the ability to progress and improve.

“This rejection should be taken as a positive sign to grow and we will definitely return much stronger.”

Nicol urged her peers to chin up as they prepare for the CIMB Malaysian Open which starts on Tuesday.

“It will be a tough tournament because I am sure everyone will be affected by the IOC’s decision,” said Nicol.

“There are the top 20 women’s players and also several good men’s players who are all passionate about this cause. Mentally, they will all be affected as well.

“For now, I will turn my focus back to the Malaysian Open. Perhaps if I have some free time, I might just pick up beach volleyball … and aim for the Olympics!” added Nicol in jest.

Whatever happens, Malaysia should keep supporting Nicol and squash.

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