What's the story?
Former Indian Squash player Anil Nayar has stated that the sport will receive a major lift if it is included in the Olympics soon. The Arjuna award winner mentioned that the Olympic status will spread awareness about squash besides compelling more people to try the sport.
Anil Nayar made history by becoming the first Indian to win the Drysdale Cup in 1965. The veteran player received the prestigious Arjuna Award in 1969 for his achievements in the world of Squash. Although the popularity of Squash has increased over the years, it is yet to become a part of the world's biggest sports event, the Olympics. Although, the sport is featured at the Commonwealth Games.
The heart of the matter
The Squash ace talked to Sportstar at the launch of his biography ‘Lucky: A portrait of a legendary Indian-American squash champion’ on Thursday (13th February). Talking about the game's inclusion in the Olympics, he said:
“It will be great if it becomes an Olympic sport. It will give a big uplift. It will get a lot more people playing squash because the Olympic status will be huge.”
Reflecting on the rise of Indian Squash players, Nayar continued:
“It’s going to grow organically. It's going to get richer with different kinds of people from different classes of society coming to play squash. There is infrastructure available for that. Squash is a finite sport, So you're not going to get too much spectatorship. You aren't going to get 20,000 people.”
He even heaped praise on the training centres that have come up in Chennai, Kolkata and Delhi and signed off with the following statement:
"But having said that, we have the centre in Chennai (Indian Squash Academy), which is doing excellent work. There are certain centres in Calcutta, Delhi that are doing really good work. So, it's not going blockbusters but I think there's a good pace.”
It will be intriguing to see if Squash can make it to future Olympics events. As far as the Tokyo Olympics 2020 are concerned, the squash players will not get a chance to showcase their talent in Japan.