Paul Coll (right) diving for a shot against Mostafa Asal (left) in the Hong Kong Open.
On October 6, squash was officially selected to become an Olympic sport in the LA28 Games, marking a long-awaited and highly anticipated moment for the sport. The news may be a breakthrough for squash, finally being played on the world’s biggest stage and bringing a new audience to the game. For the first time, squash’s very best will compete for their country to win in one of two medal events: men’s and women’s singles competitions.
Squash, an indoor racquet sport played in a four-walled court, began in the 18th century when London prisoners started hitting balls against prison walls. The game developed in the 19th century when English students replaced the hard racquetball with a slower rubber ball. Since then, squash has experienced a major growth in popularity worldwide, with over 20 million players in 185 countries. Professional squash has become a prominent contributor to its expansion, especially since the introduction of the Professional Squash Association (PSA) in 1993. Broadcasting and the establishment of SquashTV have made the sport accessible to enthusiasts worldwide.
The recent news surrounding the Olympics created a flurry of excitement among the squash community as juniors and current professionals set their eyes on 2028. World No. 5 of the USA Amanda Sobhy, said, “It’s everything that you can dream of as an athlete to be able to compete in the Olympic Games. To be able to compete for an Olympic gold medal, and just say that you were an Olympian, is something that no one can ever take away from you.” Not only will the Olympics provide athletes with a once-in-a-lifetime experience, but the event can provide the sport exposure to a new audience. New Zealand’s Paul Coll and current world No. 4 said, “[The Olympics] will hopefully expand our sport to more countries and hopefully expand in individual countries, which will in turn grow the sport globally.” Having been omitted from the list of sports included in previous Olympic Games, squash players finally have the opportunity to compete for a medal.
As many athletes like Paul Coll have expressed, the Olympics could be a breakthrough for squash. Watching these athletes play at the highest level will inspire the youth across the world to pick up a racquet. The introduction of squash into the LA28 Games may be the most significant event for the sport since its birth over 200 years ago.