Squash deserves to be Olympic sport, say top squash players

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Mumbai, Sep 17 (UNI) Top squash stars, including world number 11 Malaysia's Mohammed Azlan Iskander, former Indian national champion Ritwik Bhattacharya and the country's top woman player Joshna Chinnappa today made a strong bid for including the sport in the Olympics.

''Squash deserves to be part of the Olympic Games, which would raise its profile and inject more money into its development, especially in India,'' Ritwik Bhattacharya said.

''I was watching the Beijing Games Opening (ceremony) and thought we (squash fraternity) deserved to be there. Once we enter the Olympics the profile of the game will raise and more money would also come in,'' Bhattacharya, who is here to take part in the 33rd Bombay Gymkhana-HSBC Maharashtra State Open, said.

Bhattacharya's views were supported by his compatriot and top woman's player Joshna Chinnappa and Malaysian world No 11 and men's top seed in the tournament here, Mohammed Azlan Iskander.

Azlan said, ''Squash is popular in our country though there are not many players to make up the numbers, people like the sport and the number one woman player in the world is a Malaysian (Nicole David).'' Bhattacharya and Joshna said that the government has shortlisted squash players, similar to what it has done concerning badminton and wrestling, to prepare them for the 2010 Commonwealth Games.

''It's long overdue. The Squash Rackets Federation of India has sent the players' list to the government, and I believe it consists of ten males and as many females, including juniors. It will help us in preparing for the Commonweath Games (in Delhi) and Asian Games (in China) in 2010,'' Bhattacharya said.

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