New Delhi, Sep 9: India’s squash stars Dipika Pallikal and Saurav Ghosal feel their sport deserves to be in the Olympics and rue not being able to compete in the Summer Games.
Wrestling was reinstated in the Olympics for 2020 and 2024 editions during the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Session in Buenos Aires Sunday. Other bidders – squash and baseball/softball – lost out in the voting.
“It is very disappointing to have missed out again. I am gutted. We have evolved as a sport and everyone out there knows that we deserved to be in the Olympics,” Pallikal Monday told IANS from Kuala Lumpur where she will compete at the Malaysian Open beginning Tuesday.
Squash’s Olympic bid as a “low cost and easy to organise” sport did not resonate well with the IOC members, who voted for wrestling over the other two sports. Wrestling got 49 votes while squash and baseball/softball got 22 and 24, respectively.
Pallikal, the first Indian to break into the top-10 of world rankings, said she was proud of the bid put up for squash.
“We can hold our heads high after what we have done to get squash where it is in the last four years. We are not losing anything, the Olympics is losing out on not having the sport in its programme,” she said.
“People talk about having global icons in wrestling and I don’t even know one. Whereas most people know about World No.1 Nicol David. It is disheartening that we are not there when we know we deserve to be there. We have a great sport, great federation and great tour,” said the World No.16 on squash’s third failed bid.
The 21-year-old may not be to able to take part in Olympics but she remains committed to her goal.
“It (failed Olympic bid) doesn’t affect my goal. I aim to be the World No.1 and will try my best to get there.”
India’s highest-ranked male player Saurav Ghosal too was dejected.
“We are all very sad. Squash presented a great bid and sad it didn’t make it,” the World No.19 told IANS from Kuala Lumpur.
“Wrestling was favourite from all reports I have been reading. So they always had a good chance. I am sad also because it (squash in Olympics) would have provided a huge boost to Indian squash.”
Asked if the unsuccessful bid will affect his career, the 27-year-old said: “I still love the game and will play as long as my mind and body hold out.”