Nick Matthew column: Squash will continue to keep pushing for Olympic recognition

Nick Matthew in action last April
Nick Matthew in action last April

Around this time of year, there are quite a few athletes trying to qualify for next summer’s Rio 2016 Olympics, including swimmers, cyclists and boxers.

With the event now less than a year away, it throws the spotlight on squash and how we are not going to be there taking part in it. Squash has failed on three occasions to be included onto the Olympic programme.

As squash players looking on, we are definitely envious because the Olympics are the pinnacle and where you want to be judged.

At the moment, I must have a 100 people a week who come up to me and ask how my preparation is going for Rio and I have to break it to them that squash isn’t an Olympic sport. It is a hard one to stomach.

We are one of eight sports currently vying for inclusion at Tokyo 2020 and last week the World Squash Federation delivered a series of presentations to organisers as part of the bidding process. There have been some positive noises on how that went so hopefully we will be there for Tokyo, having missed out on London and Rio.

We have not taken our bat and ball home. We have asked the International Olympic Committee (IOC) constructively what we need to do better. All we can do is show the IOC that squash does deserve its place there.

Our tour goes to some great venues over the next couple of months which just goes to show how much of a global sport squash has become. Before Christmas, we have our World Championships in Seattle, the US Open in Philadelphia, big events in Hong Kong and Qatar.

We are doing everything we can to be included in 2020 and hopefully the IOC have not forgotten how well squash was received in the Commonwealth Games last year.

We have proven ourselves already on the world stage but we are not resting on our laurels. We have made great strides with the TV coverage of squash and the British Grand Prix in Manchester in September will be the first first sporting event ever to be broadcast in ultra HD. I have no clue what that actually is but I’m sure you will be able to see the ball even more clearly, not to mention how hard my heart is beating during a match!

We are constantly trying to evolve. We are not going to take no for an answer this time and will keep fighting to get in the Olympics.