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Squash makes case for Olympic inclusion

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Matthew Pinsent | 09:03 UK time, Saturday, 9 October 2010

On the face of it squash, like so many of the racquet sports, seems a cordial and genteel way of spending an hour but, in reality, it is really a vicious sporting encounter.

There is scope to bully your opponent, shout at the officials with seeming impunity and it would certainly challenge any of the sports taking place in Delhi to be the sweatiest - despite being held in the air-conditioned hall of the Siri Fort Complex.

At some points the gladiators stand at the back of the court and exchange strokes of enormous speed and power but in an instant they are darting forward, lunging like fencers, arms fully straight front legs fully folded to reach some of the deft touch shots.

After Peter Barker won the bronze medal on Friday afternoon, an England sweep was assured in the men's singles with Nick Matthew and James Willstrop in the gold-medal match.

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As the game started it was a great mix of a good crowd and the highest-level sport - a combination seen far too seldom in Delhi so far.

You might think that, with the doubles competition starting on Saturday, some sort of team orders would have been issued but there was no quarter asked or given.

Nick Matthew was making no secret of his opinion about James Willstrop's calls in the middle of games for the cleaners to come in and provide a dry floor - and incidentally some breathing space - and both players at times were furiously asking for lets.

Getting a let in squash is part tactic, part truth and a lot of bravado. The encumbered party looks angrily back to the panel of officials, miming the action he would like to have taken with his racquet, while the blocker looks aghast and points to some area of the court with palms up and a shrug - the full Mediterranean "What's he on?"

The officials have a quick vote between the three of them and deliver a polite "yes, let". The point is replayed sometimes more than once and the sweat goes on.

In the end, Matthew swept Willstrop aside in straight games. But the match was full of nuance and skill that the bland 11-6 11-7 11-7 cannot relate.

Squash of course is not an Olympic sport, which gives gold in the Commonwealth Games an elevated status.

It's not that they haven't tried to gain a place in the Olympic programme. They applied for inclusion for both the 2012 London Olympics and, more recently, for Rio de Janiero in 2016, both times unsuccessfully.

Seeing both golf and rugby sevens being voted into the biggest multi-sport event on earth must have been a bitter pill.

Squash would be a good addition to the Olympics - it is relatively easy to set up, especially in a modern urban environment, and is fast and exciting to watch both on television and live.

Crucially, the Olympics would be the absolute pinnacle of what the sport offers - unlike so many of the current sports in the programme (such as tennis, football and arguably now rugby sevens).

Golf's inclusion in the rota is - on that particular metric - strange. Nothing in golf is going to break into the four majors or the Ryder Cup as the must-win event of someone's career.

The reality of what makes the grade for inclusion and what keeps a sport inside the ropes is never openly published. Some of them must include number of competing countries, tradition of being in the Games, spectator appeal, cost of staging, spread of medals in terms of countries and ticket sales.

The fact that squash can compete with many of the sports already in the Olympics on many of these makes me think that they must be head of the list should the 28 sports ever be increased even by one.

The earliest they could ever be included is now 2020 - too late for this generation of athletes. For now, let's hail some of the best squash players in the world and wish them well.

Comments

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  • 1. At 09:32am on 09 Oct 2010, BakedBeans wrote:

    Is it popular with every commonwealth country ?

    Since England is good in squash there is a call for inclusion ,then do not complain about lack of spectators

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  • 2. At 10:05am on 09 Oct 2010, theboganpimpernal wrote:

    Squash is a true five continents sport ( the IOC has 5 continents, FIFA has 6, geography books have 7 )It's much more international in practise than the other racquet sports of table tennis and badminton (nothing against them but check the current and historical world rankings for affirmation of this ) Yes GB is currently good but check the history of the sport and you'll find a large range of countries have had their moments (ie this is code for saying that it is not just another white middle class recreational activity )
    Unfortunately it's not really proved to be a good TV sport but does that really matter at the Olympics where people will watch underwater synchronised graeco roman bog snorkelling if they have a local lad or lass in the medal hunt

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  • 3. At 10:35am on 09 Oct 2010, 3Lions_RJ wrote:

    Squash ticks all the boxes as far as I'm concerned and it is nothing short of a travesty that it has yet to be granted Olympic status.

    Usually, the pre-requisite for inclusion is a sport in which the Olympics would be the pinnacle of the sport. As pointed out, the addition of Golf will only act to rub salt into the wounds.

    It must be bitterly disappointing to see a Commonwealth gold represent the height of your ambitions. I sincerely hope that it gets its long overdue chance in 2020.

    Congratulations to the three Englishman on their clean sweep of the medals.

    As a sidenote, what is the format of the Golf competition? Matchplay singles only? Or are there fourballs/somes too?

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  • 4. At 10:49am on 09 Oct 2010, mat wrote:

    Even though i am a golf addict and a single figure handicap, i find it an absolute travesty how squash wasnt included for the Olympics, its the healthiest sport and gives you such a buzz if you play, is far more entaining to play than tennis.

    If you ever get chance to go to the Manchester sports academy where they hold the british champs and open go and watch how they play, its a real spectacle, its just such a shame their isnt more attention, tv coverage, and money for these true gladiators of sport

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  • 5. At 11:05am on 09 Oct 2010, Matthew Pinsent wrote:


    @3 Lions RJ - as far as I know the International Golf Federation has proposed a strokeplay competition on an individual basis and the possibility of more than one competitor from each country.

    I think it's still under discussion however.

    @1 Baked Beans - you may have missed the comment that I wrote that there was a good crowd at the squash so no complaints about the numbers this time.

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  • 6. At 11:26am on 09 Oct 2010, weiran wrote:

    One of the issues with squash is the desperate lack of money and experience in some areas, especially PR. Rubgy Sevens and Golf both mounted much better campaigns for inclusion into the Olympics, and I don't think it was too much of a surprise they were included.

    Just check out the promotional video made for the IOC: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dRMO_EDwamk

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  • 7. At 11:42am on 09 Oct 2010, Krisztianson wrote:

    @2 - "underwater synchronised graeco roman bog snorkelling" - mate, this was the most cinical argument but I LMAO. thank you

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  • 8. At 11:43am on 09 Oct 2010, haroldhedgehog wrote:

    Although I missed the BBC news at 10pm, I did catch the end of the news on the 'other side'. Considering the fantastic achievement of the clean sweep by the Men's Squash team and the Silver by Jenny Duncalf, it was not mentioned at all! There was coverage about the Mens hurdlers who achieved a similar feat and the Archery but no mention of Squash. Absolutely disgusting, but this reinforces why the sport is hampered in its attempts to increase in popularity and possibly achieve inclusion in the Olympics.

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  • 9. At 11:45am on 09 Oct 2010, kgoeseast wrote:

    As a keen golfer (H'cap7) that also still plays squash I was disgusted that squash didn't make it into the Olympics, while golf did. Just shows that it's money that talks and not olympic ideals. As mentioned above, squash is easy to set up in any country and environment, relatively cheap and probably one of the better fitness sports especially when you think what excercise you get for an hour!!
    Apart from the older established golf nations (e.g. GB, Oz, USA etc) where you can play from cheap minicipal courses up to country club prices, golf is a full-on elite sport in most countries I've lived in and visited - just check out the car park! I currently live in UAE and for a decent grass course, membership is minimum $6000 per year, so the argument that it'll promote golf in many countries is rubbish, I remember reading last year when I was in China that a father wanted to make his child a pro by their 18th b'day (no pressure then!!!!) and expected it to cost $500 000 !!! There's no justice in the world - squash could have done with the status and extra profile.

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  • 10. At 11:50am on 09 Oct 2010, Phil wrote:

    Personally I would love to see squash in the Olympics. It is a fantastic sport both to play watch.

    @2 - However I have to disagree with theboganpimpernel above who says squash is more international that table tennis. The ITTF has 210 member countries in 6 continental federations.

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  • 11. At 12:05pm on 09 Oct 2010, Lidders wrote:

    I agree with most of what is said above. I think most people who are reading this blog will be squash players so no doubt we will have strong feelings about it getting snubbed for the Olympics. To counter the guy who said we are biased because England have done well in the commonwealth games. OK English players are well up there in world squash, but arguably the worlds best squash nation is Egypt at the moment, and the Khans of Pakistan dominated the sport for years. It's very much a multinational sport and we're certainly not guaranteed a medal if we ever did get it to the Olympics.

    It's just a perfect Olympic sport, and it's a travesty it never makes them!!!

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  • 12. At 12:07pm on 09 Oct 2010, squashplayer wrote:

    "Squash of course is not an Olympic sport, which gives gold in the Commonwealth Games an elevated status" - nobody told the bbc producers.

    3mins 48 seconds of video on this page.
    30 seconds of video of the women's final [one rally].
    the bbc 1 hour round up has a 10 second summary of the singles tournament.

    please tell me there is more commonwealth squash than this available to watch on the bbc website?

    in the face of this, *hours* of swimming [where there are huge numbers of very similar events], HEATS of athletics, quarter finals [i.e. non medal] of the boxing...

    the coverage is a joke.

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  • 13. At 12:20pm on 09 Oct 2010, squashplayer wrote:

    as for the olympic selection process

    pistol shooting - no problem, come along, bring your gun.

    squash - sorry, maybe next time.

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  • 14. At 12:32pm on 09 Oct 2010, Perth Beach Bum wrote:

    Squash is a fantastic sport and on a HD tv it is much more enjoyable to watch as you can actually see the ball. So maybe in future it will pick up a bigger tv audience and hence more of a following. This will then lead to an inclusion in the Olympics.



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  • 15. At 12:37pm on 09 Oct 2010, theboganpimpernal wrote:

    You hear a lot of guff ( i think that's the word ) that the Olympics must be the pinacle of a sport for that sport to be in the Olympics....where does this come from ? There are sports in the Olympics that would probably die if they were not in the Olympics... (I'm looking at you modern pentathlon ) It seems very odd that a sport does not qualify because it's so popular that it is widely practised even though it's not in the Olympics.
    Perhaps the criteria for inclusion is (or rather should be ) that a sport is widely supported by a wide range of countries ( which of course means ,er,it's a political decision )

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  • 16. At 12:42pm on 09 Oct 2010, Straeh2 wrote:

    Personally, Squash is the most underrated sport in the world.

    Immense amounts of skill and stamina required to compete at the top level, and as Mathew states very easily accomodate in anyt urban environment.

    The sport seems to go through mini renaissance's now and then - but after 45 years playing the game still fascinated with it, even after playing football, rugby and golf.

    Squahs should be a part of the olympics, full stop.

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  • 17. At 12:43pm on 09 Oct 2010, Straeh2 wrote:

    Oh and Matthew, thank you for this article and your positive note, much appreacisted by us squash players.

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  • 18. At 1:04pm on 09 Oct 2010, Matthew Pinsent wrote:


    Thanks for the good and positive discussion about squash.

    I'm sorry that the website doesnt carry more of the squash than you would like - I'd be surprised if the finals last night weren't taken on the red button at least. All the sports get edited down for the website back in London so i'd have a hard time persuading anyone here about it - I'm sure the doubles will have another crack at it - live at least.

    One issue with all the sports at a major event is you have to try and predict the quiet spots in the programme - squash was right up against swimming and athletics last night which was only going to go one way. My sport - rowing - has quite a good trick of choosing mornings in the first week and weekend of the Olympics which tries to dodge the biggest guns the Games has to field.

    I cant speak highly enough of the England squash set up - athletes and coaches alike - they were all great on camera and happy to come and talk to us.

    I should add that the Olympic sports have been capped at 26 and athletes at 10,500 for quite a few years now. so squash will realistically only get a chance if another sport gets voted out - baseball and softball's exclusion created the gap that golf and rugby 7's now occupy. Whilst Modern Pentathlon gets a mention up there in the comments Baron de Coubertin himself was a pentathlete and had some good things to say for the history books about it.

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  • 19. At 1:06pm on 09 Oct 2010, Tony wrote:

    SQUASH IS A GREAT SPORT !
    It is exhilirating; exciting; brutal and emormously satisfying, but a VERY tough game to play !
    The next best thing to sex as far as I am concerned !
    The fact that it is not a Olympic sport must be down to politics and the political nous of its administrators.
    Come on Squash, get your act together !
    Ours is a great sport !

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  • 20. At 1:29pm on 09 Oct 2010, haroldhedgehog wrote:

    There has been some excellent red button coverage of squash and what a shame I have no HD subscription! As for the coaches, they have been great but it would have been nice to hear the commentators who, while waiting for the medal ceremony, reeled off many male coaches names, at both national and regional level, including David Campion who is out there and David Pearson who has been a big name in England Squash coaching, (although I believe,no longer part of the set up?, but the commentators gave no mention to Fiona Geaves who is a double Commenwealth Bronze medallist and is a member of the England Squash national coaching squad and was also coaching James Willstrop in the men's final. It's not just the guys who are developing this generation and developing the next generation... and I think it would have been nice for Fiona Geaves to have been credited.

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  • 21. At 1:33pm on 09 Oct 2010, SteveCubs wrote:

    I've actually been quite impressed with the red button and online coverage of squash, for all five days of the "singles".

    It was disappointing to have to watch England v Cook Islands Netball while the men's bronze match was on, but to be able to watch every quarter-final, every semi-final, and both finals was excellent.

    Yes, it would be good to have some more video replays, but overall I'm certainly not complaining.

    On the day of the IOC decision last year I was on 5Live making the case for squash, and my final point was that if any sensible body sat down to say "right, we need 28 sports to make up a compelling and competitive programme that fits the Olympic ideal", the squash would be one of the first to be included, and I stand by that.

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  • 22. At 1:50pm on 09 Oct 2010, Titanicus wrote:

    @theboganpimpernel:

    I agree with you to some extent but I'd flip the argument on its head - if the Olympics ISN'T the pinnacle of the chosen sport, then it SHOULDN'T be in the Olympics. Using the example you selected of the Modern Pentathlon - if it would disappear without the Olympics; if the Olympics represents the single best opportunity for the World's very best to compete against each other, then it should be in the Olympics.

    Is the Olympics the pinnacle of Golf or Tennis? No, so get rid of it and stop wasting everyone's time and money trying to organise it.

    Is the Olympics the pinnacle of Squash? I don't know but if it is then it should be a shoo-in.

    Digressing a bit more, I think there should be Conitental championships for each sport, i.e. European, Asian, African, American (North and South, if they want), etc. interleaved with the Olympic years and bin the respective World Championships (which just seems like the Olympics anyway).

    Just MHO.

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  • 23. At 2:10pm on 09 Oct 2010, Matthew Pinsent wrote:

    Titanicus - the salient point is that golf, rugby and tennis are/will be big earners for the Olympics so it's not a waste of money for them its a source. Just as no-one would argue Olympic football is the premier event for the sport they've got a chance to half fill stadiums 20+ times during the two weeks.

    Dont forget the African Games, Asian Games, Pan American games, I think there are some Pan Pac competitions too. I think Europe might actually be in a minority with not having a continental multi sport event.

    Got to go boxing tonight....

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  • 24. At 2:25pm on 09 Oct 2010, tommyjohnsonsupersub wrote:

    It's refreshing to see a positive article about squash and why it should be included as an Olympic Sport. As a squash player myself I feel it's well worth of a place at the Olympics over some of the other sports on offer. However, I understand everyone will feel the same about 'their' own sport.

    Personally I'd like to see a new sport heading set up to encompass all of the racquet sports which would include the disciplines of squash alongside tennis, badminton and table tennis. This way Squash could be included without directly replacing any of the other olympic sports already on offer.

    Don't get me wrong, I fully appreciate squash is a completely different sport to badminton but a lot of the same skills are involved. Not only that but if you look at some of the other sports with multiple disciplines such as swimming (which includes diving, swimming, synchronized swimming and water polo) then would it not make sense?

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  • 25. At 2:33pm on 09 Oct 2010, BLRBrazil wrote:

    @ 22: I sympathize with your arguments. One has to remember that the Olympics only comes around every 4 years (which most people would consider quite sufficient, I expect). So athletes need something to keep them going year after year, which local, regional and world championships would do. To be crowned World Champion probably should be considered a pinnacle, but because of its very exclusivity, an Olympic title would outrank even that. Tennis and golf, to cite just two sports that have been mentioned, don't even have a world championship, but a series of major competitions, so the Olympics must be a stand-out for them too, depending on the level of the competition. And there are arguments about whether the Olympics should be age-restricted in sports that are already big worldwide. However, football has seen fit to include 3 over-age players in each team, in order to provide sufficient crowd draw. It is questionable whether 11-a-side football meets the Olympic criteria anyway, yet the indoor variety has struggled to be included. Squash has more merit than either, imo. I agree with 23 that the whole thing is basically a commercial exercise anyway, and one can appreciate that, given the size of the investment required to stage the event.

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  • 26. At 3:28pm on 09 Oct 2010, Titanicus wrote:

    @BLRBrazil:

    I understand your comment on golf and tennis not having a direct world champion but the problem, as I see it, is that such an event is not fully supported by the actual world's elite. When Tiger Woods, Rafael Nadal and such other major names sign up (for free) to play in the cases of a "World Championship" or the Olympics, then it may well carry more weight to the claim of the title.

    The fact is that those people already have major achievements to chase in a busy schedule where the title "World Number 1" is the de facto world championship (however you may disagree with the ranking system). Consider the Tennis ATP Masters finals or the PGA Tour FedEx Cup for collating the best players into one tournament and pitting them against each other.

    Olympic football is a bit of an abortion, being neither one thing nor another in terms of best players or youth players, etc. and even then is not taken up by all nations who could. On top of that is the unwillingess of clubs allowing their contracted players competing in a tournament viewed as second-string at best. Don't even start on the British Football Team ...

    As you point out (quite rightly in my opinion), much of it is a money making scheme anyway and those in control of the purse strings seem more content to pass it amongst themselves than distribute it to the good of global sport (there then follows the argument about HOW to distribute it and whether highly supported sports should subsidise others).

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  • 27. At 4:01pm on 09 Oct 2010, Prbath_Neranja wrote:

    I cant Believe that Cricket isn't in there in Commonwealth Games, Sri lanka, India, Pakistan, Bangaladesh, England, South Africa, New zealand, Australia, Zimbabwe, Scotland, Ireland, Kenya, Jamaica, Trinidad, they all Play Cricket, they all are Participating In the Games, T20 Cricket would have been Ideal in India, i believe as a One of the Major Team Sport, T20 Cricket should Include in the Olympics as well, & i don't Understand why they include Baseball in Olympic?

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  • 28. At 4:18pm on 09 Oct 2010, freddawlanen wrote:

    To be completely honest, I don't like squash simply because I'm a slob, but I do appreciate its merits, it's both a technical and physical sport, it's easy to set up, easy to follow, makes good tv, and can be played by most (unless you're too lazy, like me)

    It should have been an Olympic event for many years because of the above reasons and should certainly have been brought in ahead of golf, tennis or ANY form of rugby.
    Can you imagine ANY tennis players or golfers forcing themselves to compete in an Olympics ahead of a major or slam if they were even slightly injured/off form?

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  • 29. At 5:02pm on 09 Oct 2010, knowledge is good wrote:

    Been brilliant entertainment all week, would be a great addition to the Olympics

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  • 30. At 5:03pm on 09 Oct 2010, Sports_Fan1 wrote:

    What are the reasons for not putting squash in the Olympics? The only reason I can think of is that there isn't enough money in squash, but surely, money is not what the Olyimpics are about. It should be included in 2020

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  • 31. At 5:03pm on 09 Oct 2010, knowledge is good wrote:

    Can you imagine ANY tennis players or golfers forcing themselves to compete in an Olympics ahead of a major or slam if they were even slightly injured/off form?
    _____________________

    I can Roger Federer 2008 enough said

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  • 32. At 5:13pm on 09 Oct 2010, squashed wrote:

    I think the BBC's coverage of the CG's has been very good, although most of it has been on the red button and it would have better to see more on the main channel. Hopefuly this event has proved to many people that squash can actually be filmed and yes you can see the ball!
    hopefully the success of squash at the CG's may have raised a few eyebrows in the IOC and having Mr Pinsent highlighting a lot of the sports strengths has to help! Personally I hope golf is a complete flop in 2016, cant see any of the top players playing!
    Come on IOC do everyone a favour and make the Olympics what it should be, about the true value of sport. Not just about the cash!

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  • 33. At 7:11pm on 09 Oct 2010, tommybradshaw wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 34. At 7:28pm on 09 Oct 2010, tommybradshaw wrote:

    Great blog Matthew. Its about time someone like Nick Matthew was recognised for being the world class athletes that he is.

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  • 35. At 8:54pm on 09 Oct 2010, squashfan wrote:

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  • 36. At 9:01pm on 09 Oct 2010, squashfan wrote:

    Didn't the olympics used to be about amateur sport ? Granted that athletes deserve any financial reward they get for their efforts but it still seems obscene that golf, tennis, football are in when squash is frozen out.
    A telling moment was when Peter Barker was lamenting that he broke two sets of strings in one game and they cost $20 each to restring -- when did Federer last worry about restringing a racket ?

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  • 37. At 00:25am on 10 Oct 2010, Simon Taylor wrote:

    One could be forgiven for thinking the Commonwealth games was a swimming competition. The BBc coverage has been woefull in it's biased to certain sports that fill a few minutes of action and then back to the studio. The variety and colour of the competitition has been limited by this coverage and dampened my spirit for an event I love and one which I had been so looking forward to. Some sports like Squash have been incredible to watch (although on the red button, sigh!!!). Full of dynamism drama, skill and athletisism and yet we are subjected to Cycle races where no one can tell who has won,Badminton were we are fighting for lowly positions, Archery which is as bland a test of sporting achievment you can get. I have been Squash's biggest critic as televised sport in the past but after this I have been totally convinced of it's value. It sets an example few sports could follow in it's appeal as an alround sporting test.Squash has everything. It is the Sport of the future, the complete sporting test.Physical, technical, mental, gymnastic and creative. The only thing it lacks is coverage. Give it a chance on mainstream TV. You might be surprised how many people will get it!

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  • 38. At 01:57am on 10 Oct 2010, Chris Primmer wrote:

    Personally Ive loved watching the Squash on the red button. When the major championships like the Commonwealth Games or the Olympics come around, I much prefer watching a sport that is perhaps a little underestimated; like Squash.

    For me, the BBC Coverage has been ok, but I just wish once in a while they would mention sports like Squash, Hockey, Archery, even if it's just to tell you when you can watch it, instead of constantly going on about Swimming, Athletics or Cycling. There are more than 3 sports in the Commonwealth Games.

    As a sidepoint perhaps getting a few more varied pundits or experts might help in that respect? For example some of the Squash coaches that have been mentioned?

    Finally, Squash should certainly be an Olympic Sport. Its great to play and watch, very skillful and a little different which for me is what the Olympics are about. Get Football, Tennis, Golf etc out of there. The standard is so poor and they all have their own major championships to worry about!!.

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  • 39. At 03:49am on 10 Oct 2010, BLRBrazil wrote:

    With regard to the overall coverage of major Games, with the increase of "video on demand", I look forward to a not-too-distant future when ALL the sports are covered and viewers can choose the ones they want to follow, while on-screen messaging alerts them of particularly interesting events or incidents taking place elsewhere. To the Beeb or other technical specialists, just how far away from this are we?

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  • 40. At 07:23am on 10 Oct 2010, deepak s wrote:

    Hey Mathew, Stop posting wrong news. About your crowd story, I was there yesterday and I had to wait in queue for 2 hours to get the tickets. You are making fun of yourself.

    Also Mathew, tell your BBC intelligence team to update the medal tables. India is at number 2. Since this commonwealth games started, BBC and Telegraph are only two news channels are posting wrong news.

    By posting incorrect news, you are not only making fun of yourself but also you are letting us to know that how pure your sportsmanship is about. Just realize, if somebody do this to your country or your medals tally. what if all news channels show wrong count of your gold medals. would you like it?

    be a good Sportsmen and let the things go as they are going..., great

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  • 41. At 07:46am on 10 Oct 2010, Matthew Pinsent wrote:

    BLR Brazil - it's not related to squash directly but the BBC will have the capability to show every sport in London 2012 live on the web. given there might be ten or more going at once its going to be a sportsfest. I've just been into the gallery here in Delhi to talk to the pale skinned, tekkie chaps who are in charge of the effort from here and for London. trust me when I say I've translated most of what they said into English for you!

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  • 42. At 08:09am on 10 Oct 2010, Matthew Pinsent wrote:

    Deepak - you raise a lot of points in your post. I don't know where you were yesterday you don't sy specifically but the Saturday crowds have been a lot lot better which is great. The crowd story I made was the early part of this week when they were very thin.

    I don't know the issue with the medal table - overnight England were ahead just by number of silvers, tied on 24 golds. But I see that India have won two golds this morning so they will definitely be ahead as soon as the table updates. The chap who knows all things website is covering the Road Race this morning.

    Our blog coverage has recieved huge numbers of accusations of bias in the last few days and as a way of broadening the view I thought I would relay the first five stories in the sunday paper (Times of India) this morning.

    Under a banner with yesterdays top Indian medallists the number one Games story is about the breakdown of the website, its failure to relay results quickly and the cost quoted being five times what Melbourne 2006 paid for their system.
    2nd story is about ticket touts at the venues and the fact that two people have been arrested for touting tickets distributed free for fans.
    The third Commonwealth Games story relates to the Head of ticketing Monica Jolly being removed from her position and Mike Fennell ordering an investigation into the ticketing here in Delhi.
    Thre fourth is about the volunteers and the author writes that many volunteers are not doing their job.
    And lastly a story about 20 policemen being suspended having been on duty at the Games for indiscipline and laxity.


    To single out these blogs as having missed the facts when the papers here are covering the same problems and many more is I'm afraid wide of the mark.



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  • 43. At 09:10am on 10 Oct 2010, deepak s wrote:

    Thanks Mathew for replying,

    To mention specifically about 5 topics, such news will come on newspapers as that is an Indian media. You don't know but Indian media is not good, even to mention the "Times of India" is just famous for its name and not for what do they post. And such negative news comes daily in our newspapers. You will not believe but some newspapers also write story on how a dog bitten a boy. Indian Media is extremely unpopular due to its extreme low level news. Such things had happened in China with Beijing Olympics and yes their local media covered it too with terrible Beijing traffic and pollution problems but It was never showcased on BBC in that amount. Just short headlines were there.

    But When I see such low graded news shown in mammoth amount and as I am being a BBC fan, We are just SHOCKED!! and it feels worse when a sports reporter write along it. I am not a reporter and may be I don't know how hard it must be do that kind of job.,Interrogate everyone everywhere....

    However Its really awful when we see some sportsman writing about Number of ticket sales, Empty stands. Also it affects our new generations when a Gold medalist like you write such kind of news. There has been tremendous amount of interest increased in sports field in India. I am 26 year old. When I was a cricketer, there were very few numbers of swimming pools, basketball courts, squash room etc in India and In last 2 years, the number has increased at great extent. Now you will see, every city is having at least more than 10 swimming pools. I have a new basketball court near to my building. You are just melting their interest in sports when you write news like empty stadiums. In a nutshell, you are ruining our 7 years of hard work. Were there only OC members who build this entire game village. Can't you just think of those thousands of volunteers who slog out. Its awful,Sir.

    You don't know but when Abhinav Bindra had won a gold medal in Beijing, the next day there were reports of thousands of students who joined Shooting training. Would you believe it?

    I don't know much about your profile sir but you being a gold medalist, while in competition, what were you concerned of, number of tickets sold, audience in stand or your Game?

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  • 44. At 09:33am on 10 Oct 2010, Matthew Pinsent wrote:


    Deepak,

    I dont think that the young sportspeople will be put off by small crowds here - if anything this has been a revolution for indian sport - new heroes, new sports into the limelight. But it is sad that so few have been there to witness it live. Why not give away tickets to sports clubs, schools and youth organisations - this was mentioned on about day 2 of the Games at the Organisers press conference as yet I havnt noticed if that has been put into action.

    If the Indian media is not recognised as being good then is there another outlet I can look to? I can assure you that every media outlet here is highlighting the issues with the Games. You simply cannot cover them without looking at the village, the ticketing, causes of the illnesses reported etc etc.

    My last point is that the BBC is broadcasting hours and hours of sport to the UK audience and the BBC that you see here will not have the rights to do that - so it will follow much more of a news agenda than the domestic output taken as a whole.

    Thanks for your points - I'm off to wrestling to cover another positive Indian story - hopefully gold!

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  • 45. At 10:24am on 10 Oct 2010, deepak s wrote:

    Sir, If the Indian media is highlighting these issues, then it doesn't necessarily means that BBC should also follow the same. However I am not a Prince to tell what BBC should do and should not but there are plenty of positive and enthusiastic stories like how an Indian woman, a railway ticket checker won 2 gold mendals and became shooting champion. When you have time, take a look here
    http://twocircles.net/?q=2010oct06/anisa_sayyed_ticketchecker_shooting_champion.html

    Right now India is not looking for Gold and win win win but It is mostly concerned about planned impact of games on new generation. Do you remember the motto, its "New Frontiers and Friendships". You can check motto here under bidding section.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Commonwealth_Games_2010


    Thanks

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  • 46. At 11:29am on 10 Oct 2010, Martin Gough - BBC Sport wrote:

    Hi Deepak

    As "the chap who knows all things website", I'll follow up Matthew's comment on the medal table.

    We take our medals date from an external agency, which provides statistics to many news sources in the UK and abroad. They make no excuses, but they have been struggling along with the rest of the media here to ensure the accuracy of results as they come it.

    There have been a few technical problems too, which have slowed the delivery of results to our table.

    Generally this is a problem with immediacy, rather than accuracy but we apologise and we're on the case with trying to make the whole thing faster.

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  • 47. At 12:27pm on 10 Oct 2010, deepak s wrote:

    Thanks for information,Martin.

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  • 48. At 3:14pm on 10 Oct 2010, BLRBrazil wrote:

    @ 41: that's something to look forward to Matthew. Hopefully you'll all have an opportunity to test it out beforehand, to iron out any wrinkles. Thanks for the feedback!

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  • 49. At 5:00pm on 10 Oct 2010, knowledge is good wrote:

    deepak s

    Wikipedia is not credable. Don't use it.

    Squash has been brillant but the tennis has not. No stars and now nobody in the crowd for a bronze medal match. Cringe!

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  • 50. At 7:03pm on 10 Oct 2010, davewhittle wrote:

    if sports are to be ltd as they must,then it should be by popularity,and i bet there was far more people surfing Newquay bay Cornwall today than were throwing the hammer or discus,there is very little interest in a lot of old sports by the younger generations ,and if the major competitions are to survive they must move with the times

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  • 51. At 9:22pm on 10 Oct 2010, Milas wrote:

    Error in spelling or sublimal thoughts creeping in? just watched a clip of Pinsent about the Road Race which is all he talked about and visiting the wrestling match BUT the headline above the clip was..pinsent at commenwealth games..Road RaGe!

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  • 52. At 08:11am on 11 Oct 2010, Matthew Pinsent wrote:

    Spotted Milas - no rage in my I promise! Just recording today's so will soon be replaced.

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  • 53. At 11:39am on 11 Oct 2010, Tony Summersgill wrote:

    Squash is played throughout the commonwealth though obviously not all countries. I think limited number of spectators relates a whole range of sports in Delhi and squash was well attended at the last commonwealths.

    From an olympic point of view - I think the olympic committee think more about money and sponsorship rather than originl olympic ideals; therefore we get tennis, golf and rugby added. If they foccused on getting the best althletes in the world for a wide range of sports then squash would have been in years ago.

    I have no problem with the BBC showng sports that we're good at though - look how much cycling coverage we now get. And the BBC coverage has been fairly limited despite England filling all the podium places!

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  • 54. At 1:11pm on 11 Oct 2010, cookieprincess wrote:

    Exclusion from the Olympics is surely political - Squash, like other sports such as Netball and Cricket suffer - probably 'cos those 'over the Pond' aren't necessarily interested on mass.

    However, if only 26 sports are allowed in the Olympics at any one time, surely the solution to the problem is some tactical renaming of sports. Afterall, we have Athletics - this covers running all manner of distances, jumping, running & jumping, throwing etc.

    Why can't we have 'Racquets'?
    This could then incluce Squash,Tennis, Badminton, Racquetball, Real Tennis, Racquets itself and even Table Tennis (though strictly a Bat)

    So lets also have 'Batnball' - This includes Table Tennis, Cricket, Softball etc

    Gollanball - Football, Netball, Handball etc

    So theres 3 sports for starters and we've managed to cram in at least 12 'disciplines' ....

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