Squash has been confirmed as a showcase sport for the Buenos Aires 2018 Summer Youth Olympic Games held from October 6th to October 18th, 2018 by the fourth International Olympic Committee (IOC) Coordination Commission visit to the Argentinian capital. These games, created in 2007 and organized by the IOC, are similar to the Olympic Games but the age limitation of the athletes is 14 to 18. The games are held every four years in staggered summer and winter events consistent with the current Olympic Games format but with a two-years difference with the latter. From 2023, there will be only a one-year difference to give the Youth Games more visibility with no Olympic event in the same year.
The Games Organising Committee has emphasised a desire to feature participation as a key component as part of their ‘festivals of sport’ created in four ‘parks’ across the city. Buenos Aires 2018 want people to “experience a fusion of elite sport competition, music, culture and arts festivals, sport initiation, showcasing and educational programmes”.
The IOC’s “Sports Lab” concept, launched at Nanjing 2014, saw skateboarding and sport climbing feature – sports which have since been added to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games programme – the inclusion of squash in Buenos Aires 2018 could have a huge impact on squash’s aspirations to join the Summer Olympic Games. It will be the first time ever that squash will appear on an Olympic programme.
Welcoming the news, WSF President Jacques Fontaine commented:
“Youth are our future, and so a priority for squash. We hugely admire the participation policy of the Buenos Aires 2018 Organizing Committee are grateful to the hosts in recognising that squash will be a vibrant addition, and are delighted to be a part of the promotion. We, in collaboration with the Argentinean Squash Federation, look forward to bringing an all-glass showcourt to Technopolis Park.
To be added to the Youth Olympic Games for 2018 is a great moment for squash and a step in the right direction towards our ultimate aim of Olympic Games inclusion. The Youth Games displays the very best in rising sporting talent as well as the very best in youth sports. We believe we have one of the most unique sporting products in the world and some of the most compelling athletes in the world; and we look forward to working closely with the host in the build up to Buenos Aires 2018 to ensure we make the most of the opportunity.”
The dates for the squash event, within the 6-18 October 2018 overall programme and the format of the junior ‘showcase’ event, will be announced later.