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Singapore aims to boost squash talent pool with Olympic debut in 2028

Singapore aims to boost squash talent pool with Olympic debut in 2028

Singapore is looking to attract more competitive squash players ahead of the sport’s Olympic debut in 2028, as the country celebrates the inclusion of the racquet sport in the Los Angeles Games.

Squash finally makes it to the Olympics

Squash has been lobbying for Olympic inclusion for years, but was repeatedly rejected by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). The sport was shortlisted for the 2012, 2016 and 2020 Games, but failed to make the final cut each time.

However, the IOC announced on Monday that squash, along with cricket, baseball, softball, flag football and lacrosse, have been added to the 2028 programme by the Los Angeles organisers. The decision will be ratified by the IOC Session in Mumbai next week.

The news was welcomed by the squash community, who felt that the sport deserved to be part of the Olympics. Speaking to CNA, Singapore Squash Association general manager Alex Wan said the association was “very happy and excited” to hear the news.

“As a sport, we have been collectively lobbying for it for years, and we are glad we got there. We really feel we are more than deserving to be in the Olympics,” he said.

Singapore aims to boost squash talent pool with Olympic debut in 2028

Singapore hopes to inspire more squash players

Wan said that the Olympic inclusion would have a positive impact on the local squash scene, as it would inspire more players to take up the sport and pursue excellence.

“We hope that this will motivate our junior athletes to continue their training and development, and also attract more newcomers to the sport. We also hope that this will increase the awareness and appreciation of squash among the general public,” he said.

He added that the association would also step up its efforts to bring high-calibre competitions, such as the Singapore Squash Open, to the country. The event, which will be held from Nov 14 to 19 at the Singapore Sports Hub, will feature some of the world’s top squash players, including men’s world No. 1 Ali Farag of Egypt.

“We want to showcase the best of squash to our local fans and players, and also give our national athletes a chance to compete with the top players in the world. This will help them to improve their skills and confidence, and also prepare them for the Olympic qualification,” he said.

Singapore targets Olympic qualification

Wan said that the association had not received any details on the Olympic qualification process or format for squash, but he expected it to be similar to the Asian Games, where there are individual and team events for both men and women.

He said that Singapore would aim to qualify for both the individual and team events, and that the association would work closely with the Singapore National Olympic Council and Sport Singapore to support the athletes.

“We have a talented pool of players who have been performing well at the regional and international level, and we believe they have the potential to qualify for the Olympics. We will do our best to provide them with the necessary resources and opportunities to achieve their goals,” he said.

He cited some of the recent achievements of the Singapore squash team, such as winning the men’s 6s gold and the men’s T10 and T20 bronze at the Phnom Penh SEA Games in May, and finishing second in their group at the Asian Games in September.

He also named some of the players who could represent Singapore at the Olympics, such as Marcus Phua and Au Yeong Wai Yhann, who competed at the Asian Games, and Samuel Kang and Aaron Liang, who have won multiple SEA Games medals.

“We have a good mix of experienced and young players, and we are confident that they can do well at the Olympics. We hope that the squash community and the public will support them and cheer them on,” he said.

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