Last updated on October 16th, 2023 at 11:24 AM
England Squash, the National Governing Body (NGB) for squash in England, has described the news that the sport will be added to the 2028 Olympic Games sporting programme as a “transformational moment” for the sport.
Following the proposal by the LA28 Organising Committee to include five new sports in the programme, the proposition was ratified by the IOC (International Olympic Committee), cementing squash’s place in Olympic history.
Squash joins four other new sports in the 2028 Olympic Games – baseball/softball, cricket, flag football and lacrosse.
The decision means that men’s and women’s singles squash will be included in the sporting programme for the 2028 Olympic Games in Los Angeles, with further details to follow.
Mark Williams, CEO at England Squash expressed his delight at the decision, stating: “The news that squash is to become an Olympic sport has created incredible excitement across the global squash community and this truly is a transformational moment for the future of the sport.
“It is fantastic that our athletes will now be recognised as Olympians and that squash will get to shine on the greatest sporting stage. This is arguably the biggest moment in the history of the sport and the Olympic Games has instantly become the new pinnacle of the sport.
“Squash players are some of the best all-round athletes in the world and squash’s inclusion for LA28 will add an incredible spectacle of speed, skill and determination to the Olympic programme.
As an Olympic sport, squash will also benefit from an increased profile, giving us the opportunity to inspire a new generation of players to hit the court.
“At England Squash, we are committed to the development of the sport and its people at all levels. This news will provide an unprecedented boost to everyone involved across the community.”
World number seven, Gina Kennedy, won gold at the 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games, making her the first English woman to do so. Kennedy, 26, now looks set to make her Olympic debut at LA28, making an unexpected dream come true for the squash star from London.
Kennedy said: “I can’t quite believe it, it’s actually happening – squash is heading to the Olympics! This is a moment that my teammates and I could have only dreamed of, and we are so excited that it has become a reality.
“When I won Commonwealth gold last year, I felt on top-of-the-world and didn’t think that there would be many moments to match that feeling, but now I have hope of being able to compete for an Olympic medal.
“Squash is a fast, exciting and dynamic sport and I would say it is one of the most physically demanding sports in the world, which is why I have always believed it deserves to be part of the Olympics.
As athletes, we work tirelessly day-in, day-out to succeed at an elite level and we are all so happy with the news. Hearing that squash is set for the Olympics in 2028 has really changed what could be possible for the sport and for us as players.”
Squash was invented in the nineteenth century by school children in England and the nation has produced a succession of leading talent in the sport. English players are used to competing at the very top of the sport with Laura Massaro, Nick Matthew and James Willstrop all reaching the world number one spot in recent years.
Current English stars include World No.4 Mohamed ElShorbagy and current Commonwealth Games champion Gina Kennedy with upcoming stars such as 19-year-old Finnlay Withington claiming British Junior Open and World Team titles in the last year.
Former world squash champion Nick Matthew, who now coaches with the national team, added: “It’s such a game-changing moment at all levels of squash. It will bring further investment and opportunities for squash and it will be a really exciting next four to five years. It’s also fantastic recognition for all the people in squash who have worked so hard to get us to this moment.
“I’m so happy for everyone who will get the chance to play and I’ll be supporting them all the way to LA28. Those first medallists will go down in squash history, I hope they feature some players from Team GB.”