Sheffield champion speaks out after inclusion of squash in Olympics rejected

A World Champion Sheffield Squash player spoke out about the sport’s rejection from the Olympics 2024 last week, sparking further reactions from squash professionals across the city.

Nick Matthew OBE, 24, expressed his disappointment about the decision over Facebook on Thursday.

Mr Matthew said: “I know that you’re as disappointed as I am by today’s news that squash is yet again being overlooked when it comes to Olympic inclusion.

“What do we have to do to prove that we deserve to be there?”

The three-time world squash champion and three-time Commonwealth gold medallist started his career at Hallamshire Tennis and Squash Club, Sheffield, and went on to become the world’s number one squash player in 2010.

“Squash will continue to grow with or without the Olympic seal of approval” he added.

Squash, along with billiards and chess, was announced as unsuccessful by the International Olympics Committee (IOC), while breakdancing, surfing, climbing and skateboarding are still set to be considered for inclusion.

Squash coaches and players from all over Sheffield have shared their frustration with the decision for squash not to be considered for the next Olympic Games, which will be held in Paris in 2024.

Nigel Bird, Chairman of Fulwood Squash and Racketball Club, said: “Nobody in squash can understand why it keeps being excluded from the Olympics and a legal challenge is certainly being considered. 

“Squash has made huge strides in becoming more spectator and TV friendly in recent years. 

“The level of hard work and physical excellence that has to be achieved to reach the top should be recognised by the Olympic organising committee.”

John Mullins, who was the head of Hallamshire Squash Club for 26 years, coached Nick Matthews when he joined the club at the age of 8.

Mr Mullins said: “To my mind it’s becoming a bit of a joke with all these sports like golf and tennis even and football.

“And breakdancing – I think there is a place for it somewhere but certainly not in the Olympics.

“I can see the benefits the Olympics would gain from squash, and vice versa” he added.

Today marks the second day of the World Squash Championships, being held in Chicago.

Keir Worth, CEO of England Squash, said: “It is particularly heart-breaking for the talented young players from around the world that will miss out on the chance to showcase their talent, hard-work and athleticism on the biggest stage in sport.

“Despite this setback, we remain proud of our sport, its values, its global appeal, the diversity in the world game and the ongoing innovation that has revolutionised the playing and viewing experience in recent years”.

The Olympic Games begin in July 2024.