Squash aces crave Olympic shot
Squash freak Nicol David snared her 62nd career title on Sunday and then claimed she’d trade every single one for an Olympic gold medal.
The Malaysian superstar outclassed England’s Laura Massaro 17-15 11-2 11-6 to successfully defend her Australian Open crown before an enthralled gallery at Canberra’s Royal Theatre.
After saving six game balls to snatch the opening set, David imposed her mental will over Massaro to run away with the final in 44 minutes.
“The Australian Open is like a grand slam for us squash players and I’m just so glad to win it for a second time,” David said.
The 28-year-old’s victory comes on top of six World Open and four British Open triumphs, but the public face of squash’s 2020 Back The Bid campaign maintained she’d swap the lot for a shot at Olympic glory.
“I was in London for the Olympics and it was just heartbreaking to watch all the other sports knowing squash isn’t part of it,” David told AAP.
“Squash players are some of the best athletes in the world. It’s a sport truly for all-rounders, you need every skill and we really belong in the Olympics.
“We just deserve to be there and I’ll be doing everything I can to help get it in and also do everything I can to make sure I am still around when it is.”
Egyptian maestro Ramy Ashour also made an impassioned plea for Olympics inclusion after retaining the men’s Australian Open title with an 11-9 11-9 11-6 success over countryman Omar Mosaad.
Squash – voted by Forbes magazine in 2010 as the healthiest sport of all – is the only mainstream racquet sport not in the Games and Ashour said he’s never understood why.
“There is absolutely nothing wrong about the game,” said the world No.4.
“It’s very healthy, you burn a lot of calories. This game can be very, very good for human beings in general – not just as a sport.
“We have a portable court that can be put anywhere in the world. It’s very fast, very interesting, very exciting and everyone whoever watches squash always comes back.
“I don’t mean to be disrespectful, but I’ve seen a lot of other sports that don’t belong in the Olympics when squash isn’t in there.”
This year’s Australian Open featured eight of the world’s top 10 women’s players, making it the strongest field in history, while adding lustre to the lung-busting 53-minute men’s final was the fact that it featured two Egyptians on the final day of Ramadan.
The legendary Heather McKay, a 16-times British Open champion, and fellow former world champions Michelle Martin, Sarah Fitzgerald and Vicki Cardwell were among the big crowd on hand for the two championship deciders.© AAP 2013
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