The news last week that squash will become an Olympic sport, one of five added to the Los Angeles 2028 programme, inevitably lead to speculation about whether it could inspire a return to the heady days of the 1970s and 1980s when it seemed that every suburb in the country had a shoe-box building full of squash courts, kids and competitions.
What it will certainly do is fill the heads of today’s generation of younger players with dreams of Olympic glory.
As Squash Australia CEO, Robert Donaghue, put it: “This announcement will not only be an inspiration to our current crop of players but provides incredible incentive and opportunity for a whole new generation."
One player who hopes to be an important part of that new generation is Victorian Institute of Sport (VIS) scholarship holder, Courtney Scholtz.
At just 18 years of age, Scholtz has already caught the attention of the international squash community, after earning a selection at this year's World Junior Squash Championships in Melbourne.
She said the news of the sports inclusion in the 2028 Olympic Games had come as a complete shock, but a great surprise to the Australian squash community.
“It [squash] had been on the Olympic committee's radar for so long that we thought it might never get through, so to finally hear it’d been announced was a great surprise,” said Scholtz.
“It was great to share the excitement with my local club at Lilydale, we’re like a big family.”
Scholtz reiterated the sentiment of Donaghue, saying the announcement would have far-reaching implications for the development of the game.
“It’s going to do wonders for the sport, especially in Australia where it continues to grow,” she said.
“The announcement will definitely bring more interest to the sport and develop more talent.”
For many squash athletes, the future suddenly looks very different with the Olympics being a reality. Some already looking forward to their five-year plan to LA.
Image: Squash Australia