Steve Berry itches for squash inclusion at the Olympics
Wanderers Squash Club Chairperson Steven Berry had lamented the exclusion of squash from the Olympics games at a time when the sport was growing to exciting new levels in Namibia. In an exclusive interview with The Villager Sport before the prestigious Amstel Lite Squash Championships set to come to life at the Wanderers home ground from Wednesday the 16th until the 19th of August, Berry said his camp is ﬁghting for the sport to ﬁnd its way in the grand world arena.
“It’s something that we are struggling hard on. We have already taken part in the Common Wealth Games before, but it (the exclusion) is something that is very sad in the sport because squash is rated as the healthiest sport in the world,” he says. Berry is bafﬂed at how the sport has been derided while surﬁng, women’s boxing, golf and surprisingly skateboarding have been olympicised.
“The players who market the sport every four years are tired of the charade and deserve to be told why their faces do not ﬁ t,” notes James Willsrop of the Guardian sort network. And so the excellent players Namibia is baking in the heat of its professional blast furnace have to be patient some more until the gods-almighty who rule what sport qualiﬁes for the Olympics or vice versa make their decision.
“For some reason, we cannot get in the Olympic games, yet they are willing to put sports like surﬁng and stuff like that but squash which is one of the fastest growing sports in the world is not included,” challenges Berry. Perhaps one of the shocking reasons for this blatant exclusion as noted by Yorkshire Post Sports writer Phil Harrison has been that “it doesn’t translate well to live TV.”
“But one thing the Commonwealth Games in India showed is that squash could, if given a similar media platform to many other sports and produce plenty of interest and coverage,” he says. But Berry is adamant, squash as is as good and exciting a sport as any other if not better.
“It’s not our call at the end of the day but we are pushing for it, and hopefully at the 2023 Olympics we hope to have squash taking part. It would be the ﬁrst time squash participates in the Olympics and because of the standard of squash at the moment we have junior players that would be able to play competitively at the level,” he says. Meanwhile, the 2nd round of the Amstel Lite Squash Championships will bring down the curtains over Wanderers Squash Club’s signiﬁcant events of the year and Berry is upbeat it would be bigger and better. The show down will once again see some of the largest players in all categories competing and with the exciting competitions noted so far; it sure will be a bag of surprises.
“There will be all kinds, juniors, seniors, women and men. There will be the likes of Kyle Kriel, Andrew Forrest, Max Endjala; they will all be taking part,” he says Queried on whether the championship will amount to the same result, Forrest budging past former opponents, the club chairperson believes the contests at Wanderers are becoming too close and very unpredictable.
“If you look at how the previous tournament was, the level of competition between all the players is so close; anyone can win it. If you look at the ﬁnals, Andrew Forrest was fortunate to beat Danny Kriek in the semiﬁnals from Walvis Bay. It’s just as close as a penalty shootout in a soccer match if you want to put it that way,” he says.