Squash is among six sports competing to be included on the programme in 2016 and the ATCO Super Series Finals - The Queen's Club 2009 is the last major squash tournament before senior members of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) meet to decide which two sports will receive their endorsement.
Squash 2016 Bid Team Manager, Scott Garrett believes that the championships have assumed even greater significance than usual and promised that the event would illustrate how the 2016 Games would benefit from the sport’s ability to generate intense competition of rich appeal to spectators.
The ATCO Super Series Finals is already one of our sport’s premier events but the fact that it is taking place only a few months ahead of the IOC’s decision means that people will be paying even greater attention to it,” said Garrett.
“We will have the world’s very best squash players producing top-level competition in front of capacity crowds – something we are convinced any Olympic host will want to offer spectators.”
The ATCO Super Series Finals – The Queen’s Club 2009 will bring together the top eight qualifiers from the annual PSA Super Series World Tour and will feature two pools of four players, leading to finals which will produce a 1-8 finish, and will showcase the best elements of the game of squash, which is played in 175 countries by over 20 million people worldwide.
World No1 Karim Darwish of Egypt will lead a star-studded eight-man line-up which will feature compatriots Amr Shabana, Ramy Ashour and Wael El Hindi; Australia's David PalmerThierry Lincou and Gregory Gaultier of France; and James Willstrop of England.
The World Squash Federation (WSF) has already submitted its proposal to the IOC as to why it believes the sport should be on the 2016 Games’ programme and the IOC’s Executive Board is due to meet in June to consider the bids of six sports vying for two places on the roster of events for those Games. Its recommendations will then be put to a vote of the entire IOC membership in October at the same session which will choose whether Rio de Janeiro, Tokyo, Chicago or Madrid should be the 2016 host city.
Ziad al-Turki, Vice-Chairman of the ATCO Group and Chairman of the Professional Squash Association (PSA), said he was confident the tournament would provide the best possible platform for squash to realise its Olympic dream.
“Everyone who loves sport loves the Olympic Games and the celebration of the highest level of competition it represents. We believe that the ability of our sport’s top players and the appeal it possesses mean that squash would sit perfectly alongside the other disciplines on the Olympic programme.
“As the ATCO Super Series Finals feature the best squash players in the world competing this year for the first time in the truly special surroundings of Queen’s Club, I am sure we will be able to show the very best that our sport has to offer.”
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Organisers of the campaign to make squash an Olympic sport believe that the ATCO Super Series Finals, to be staged at the world-famous Queen’s Club in London from the 14th to 17th March 2009, could make a crucial difference as to whether their efforts to be included in the Olympic Games succeed.