Jahangir Khan hopes for squash's 2016 Olympic debut
Karachi | August 26, 2008 10:35:06 PM IST
For more than a decade Jahangir Khan remained as a scourge for international squash players, winning world titles almost at will. Now retired and running a successful business here, the record 10-time British Open champion is pushing a cause that is very dear to his heart: to get squash a place in the Olympic Games.
He hopes it will happen by 2016.
As the president of the World Squash Federation (WSF), Jahangir is campaigning for squash's inclusion in the Olympics and in a bid to give this a boost attended the Olympic Games in Beijing. Jahangir says the trip has raised his hopes.
Squash is one of seven sports short-listed by the International Olympic Committee for possible addition to the 2016 Games programme, a decision on which will be made at the October 2009 IOC session in Copenhagen.
Joined in Beijing by WSF patron Tunku Imran, the president of the Olympic Council of Malaysia and an IOC Member; and WSF president emeritus Susie Simcock, Jahangir was able to meet and receive feedback and helpful advice from many IOC members.
In addition to meeting senior officials of the Chinese Squash Federation, the group also met with IOC sports department representatives to clarify the process leading up to the selection of sports for the 2016 Olympics.
The WSF delegates also met members of the international press in Beijing, which provided numerous opportunities to convey the sport's strong credentials for Olympic inclusion.
"Squash is a truly global sport - indeed the top six teams in last year's World Men's Championships covered the five continents - and Olympic success would be the ultimate goal for all our athletes," said Jahangir, the six-time World Open champion who is widely regarded as the greatest squash player of all-time.
"We were most grateful to the IOC for receiving accreditation to attend the magnificently-hosted Olympics in Beijing, giving us the chance to observe and enjoy the presentation of the many excellent sports on the Olympic programme.
"As a result of my wonderful experience in Beijing, I am committed to working even harder on behalf of our athletes to convince IOC decision-makers that squash will add value and should be included to the Olympic programme in 2016. I am more optimistic than ever before that our Olympic dreams can be realised," Jahangir added. kh/vm/vt
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