ROAD TO 2024: OLYMPIC BID UPDATEÉvénements 24/01/2019
As squash is campaigning to be included in the Paris 2024 Olympic Games programme, every month on the 24th we are bringing to you our “Road to 2024” series.
A few days ago, the World Squash Federation President Jacques Fontaine extended his wishes to the squash community, and outlined the timeline for our sport's olympic bid.
By Jérôme Elhaïk
PRESIDENT’S OLYMPIC BID UPDATE
This new year of 2019 begins in the way that the last year ended – with many people asking me about what is happening with the squash Olympic Bid, and what are our chances of succeeding for Paris? I cannot answer the question of our chances except to say that we are in contention; but can say that we and our partners PSA, supported by our campaign agency Weber Shandwick, are working very hard towards persuading the Paris 2024 Organising Committee that squash would be a great strategic addition to the 2024 edition of the Games.
Very recently the selection process has become increasingly clear in respect of timetable so I can outline that here. Paris will be providing to the IOC the nominations they decide upon in March, …… so very soon. Before then, during this month we have a session with them to show just what benefits squash can bring in so many ways. As you can easily understand it is not possible to disclose any of our presentation details now. If we succeed in being nominated then the IOC Executive Board will decide if they wish to accept the nominations. The key date is 23 June when the IOC members will vote to provisionally accept the one or more sports that have been taken forward. IOC President Thomas Bach, pictured with Jacques Fontaine recently. Then, if we have got over this hurdle we would have to wait until after the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo when the new sports for that Games have been reviewed too, before a final decision is made. It could be a long and expensive campaign, but we are totally committed to trying to be in contention all the way through. Please understand that while we have to keep some strategic cards close to our chest, we and PSA know that we have the backing of the whole sport.
IOC President Thomas Bach, pictured with Jacques Fontaine recently (Photo credit: World Squash Federation)
Youth Olympic Games
You will have seen that we mounted a very successful glass court showcasing for squash at the Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires featuring an interactive front wall; the first time squash has participated in an Olympic event. Our presence in Buenos Aires was led by Pablo Serna, showed off our strong partnership with PSA, and was superbly supported by all the young Squash Ambassadors and those who sent them, and also attended too. We have promoted our case at many important Games and meetings – I continue to have a very full schedule of travelling to meet international sports representatives and 2024 hosts very regularly in Paris, Lausanne, and at SportAccord and Olympic Winter & Youth Games and Commonwealth Games as examples.
A memory from the Youth Olympic Games... (Photo credit: World Squash Federation)
The PSA Tour shows off the staging possibilities so well, and the great spectator and broadcast spectacle squash represents. We have used our media to reach the influencers and shown off so much of why squash is the sport of tomorrow as well as now. Be assured that we are mounting a most professional and carefully planned campaign with just one aim in mind – to secure a cherished place for squash in Paris in 2024.
YEAR IN REVIEW - PSA CEO ALEX GOUGH RECAPS 2018
2018 was one of the most significant years in the history of professional squash and we are looking forward to an even better 2019. The sport has made major strides over the past 12 months both on and off the court. In terms of the on-court action, our players continue to showcase the incredible athleticism and skill that is par for the course on the PSA Tour. […] Away from the court, the sport has continued to grow exponentially, and in July we announced a record amount of prize money on offer during the 2017/18 season. Prize money increased to $6.4 million, which was an 11% increase compared to the previous season, while the pay gap between men and women was at its lowest ever, with the gap dropping by 32% over the past year. We expect these figures to grow further by the end of the 2018/19 season, which is the first season in which we have implemented our new tour structure. The restructured tour came into effect on August 1 and I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our players and tournament promoters for their patience and assistance during this transition. [...] In addition to this, we were also delighted to see the sport make a big impression at the Buenos Aires Youth Olympic Games in October, where over 25,000 people got the opportunity to witness squash in the flesh. We are hugely encouraged with the feedback we have received and remain committed to working alongside the World Squash Federation to get squash into the Paris 2024 Olympic Games. One of the star attractions at the Youth Olympic Games was the incredible interactiveSQUASH front wall and we have developed our relationship with them throughout 2018, with their interactive front wall making an appearance at the PSA World Series Finals in Dubai. [...] Despite all of these major developments over the past 12 months, we are confident that 2019 will be even better and are excited to stage the sport’s first $1 million tournament – the Chicago PSA World Championships – in February. [...]
Happy New Year, Alex Gough PSA Chief Executive Officer