KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AFP) – Malaysian world number one Nicol David said Monday she was disappointed squash failed to make it into the 2020 Olympics but that the sport's run for the Games had raised its profile.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) on Sunday restored wrestling as an Olympic sport, leaving other short-listers squash and baseball/softball on the sidelines for the 2020 Games, which will be hosted by Tokyo.
"I think this is the closest that the sport has ever been to the Olympics," David, 30, told AFP.
"We just hope that we deserve better in the end."
"But no doubt this is a really good position we are in to really spearhead forward our tours, with the men's and the women's tour, and also squash in general," she said in Kuala Lumpur.
Malaysia's most dominant athlete, David has ruled women's squash.
She has held the top rank for seven straight years, won a record seven world titles, and would be a solid bet to bring home her country's first-ever Olympic gold medal.
She has been a passionate campaigner for Olympic squash but the 2020 failure likely dashes her medal hopes.
Even if squash makes it into the 2024 Olympics, David would be in her 40s by then.
It "would be pretty tough because squash is very brutal on the body and, to be competitive then, it's difficult."
David said she would happily support any future drives for Olympic squash.
"For squash, we have a strong case and I don't think we will back down that easily. We will really stick to our guns," she said.
Squash has repeatedly attempted to gain Olympic entry over the past decade. It topped a vote of Games aspirants in 2005 but failed to get a required two-thirds of the ballots.
"Today's decision is heartbreaking for the millions of squash players around the world, particularly given the 10-year journey we have been on to join the Olympic Games Sports Programme," said squash federation president Narayana Ramachandran.
He had earlier said that squash would try again for inclusion in future Games.