Nicol David’s glittering CV lacks only Olympic gold, but the world squash No. 1 refuses to let Games chiefs block her dream of one day seeing it admitted into sport’s biggest showpiece.
Unfortunately for her, any approval looks likely to come too late for the 27-year-old now.
In an interview on Wednesday, David, who has dominated the women’s game for coming up to five years, spoke of her regret that Olympic bosses do not seem to recognize squash’s global appeal.
“I think it’s just really unfortunate that squash, with so much potential it could offer to the Olympics, is not in there,” David said from the Egyptian Red Sea resort of Sharm El Sheikh where she will participate in the World Open this week.
“But we know that we have a good sport that can really be a big name in the Games,” David said. “We will keep pushing and hopefully we’ll get in there [in the Olympic program] some day.”
Squash lost out to golf and rugby sevens in an International Olympic Committee decision last year to add those professional sports to the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics program.
David, a Malaysian of mixed Indian and Chinese descent, had said she would not even contemplate retirement if she could compete in the Rio Games.
David can already be counted among squash’s all-time greats having topped the world rankings since January 2006, winning four world crowns from her last five attempts.
She admitted the sport was missing the commercial side to be as popular as tennis.
“I think we have great and big champions ... the history they [squash champions] have is very big,” she said.
“The commercial aspect has just come in recently and we still need to have the development, I mean the media and everything need to be stronger ... that is our place to get the squash up, definitely,” David said.
David, who will equal Australian Sarah Fitz-Gerald’s record of five World Open titles if she lifts the trophy in Sharm El Sheikh on Wednesday, paid tribute to her family for helping her become one of the best all-time players.
“I just have my family, they are really supportive. My parents are coming to watch the World Open here in Sharm,” David said.
“I think there is really good support system around me and also I love the game so much,” she said. “I just want to keep improving myself, I want to do better every time.”
David, who is unbeaten so far this year and starts her campaign against a qualifier tomorrow, said the all-glass court in the Egyptian Red Sea resort will be the highlight of the tournament.
“To have the glass court here in Sharm El Sheikh for all the top players to play on including myself is just spectacular, because it’s a great venue,” she said. “Squash is popular in Egypt. The people here know what the game is all about and this is good for [the] players as well.”