As you will no doubt be aware, the IOC Assembly held earlier this week was not only pivotal for the Olympic movement, but very important for squash too. IOC President Thomas Bach was able to secure unanimous approval for all forty recommendations that had been proposed by the IOC Executive Board.
Along with other milestones in the evolution of the IOC and the Olympic Games, two of the approved recommendations have a very positive impact on our efforts to achieve a place on the Olympic Games programme. In essence, there being passed means that the programme will not be limited to a maximum of 28 Sports; instead the determining factors will be a cap of around 10,500 athletes and 310 events. This provides the flexibility to remove some disciplines in existing sports (for example reducing the numbers of categories in athletics, swimming and rowing) and adding new sports such as squash.
Equally important is the agreement that sports do not need to be fixed seven years in advance of the Games and that the IOC Executive Board can make recommendations. Taken together, this is another real step forward for squash as it paves the way for change.
Ever since the formal bid finished with the vote to reinstate wrestling in September 2013, I have not ceased making our case with the IOC; I have had numerous meetings, both formal and informal, with all the key people within IOC, including President Bach himself.
It was clear again in Monaco that there is genuine and widespread IOC member support for squash to be given a chance. So, I shall continue to press the IOC and the Tokyo hosts for a chance to be part of the 2020 Games. There are still many steps to be taken, but I wanted to report to you that I am happy that we continue to make progress towards our cherished dream and that you can rely on me to keep giving 110% effort to the quest.
For now, as the year draws to a close may I thank you for all the support that you have given to me, to my Board and of course to the promotion and development of squash. I wish you a happy and healthy 2015 – one in which our shared 2020 dream might be realised!