I intend to keep this weblog mainly to matters photographic but a passionate part of me can’t let the Olympics pass without getting on my soap box (I’m short so I need one). As the shock of the awe over that astounding opening ceremony starts to subside, I am back to stamping my little feet about the jerks on the International Olympic Committee who continue to shun my sport – squash. I continue to astonish people – and maybe you’re next – with the news that although squash is played by 15 million people on 50,000 courts across 188 countries and is one of the healthiest sports on the planet, the IOC has refused to allow squash in as an Olympic sport, even though it’s long been a part of The Commonwealth Games.
What riles me even more is that in the last submission to the IOC, squash applied for entry into the Games only to be turned down in favour of golf. This was a disgraceful decision. Olympic Gold should represent the peak of any participating sport. However, if Rory Mcllroy wins Gold at the 2016 Games, will he cherish that more than the US Open title? Anyone who says ‘yes’ is, of course, a liar.
However, if the British No 1 squash player Nick Matthew had been given the chance to compete in London this week, a gold medal would have been the pinnacle of his career. He would have been the favourite for Gold, too: Nick is also the World No.1 If allowed to compete, Britain may well have snapped up several medals.
I know Nick is disappointed at not being able to compete at Olympic level. He told me so himself: he plays for my club Duffield in the National League. Above is a photo I took of Nick, taken at the Manchester Squash Arena (they could have held the Olympic matches there!) when Duffield won the National League Championship a few years ago. It was the one and only time I got accreditation as a sports photographer, allowing me to take shots through a small window in the bottom corner of the court where the ball was being smashed. It was a disconcerting experience as the ball is thwacked at alarming speed towards you and it also takes a while to get used to the ear-splitting sound. This was one of the very few decent shots I got.
Finally, I must get a plug in for a forthcoming event: on the evening of Monday, October 29th, my President’s Lecture at my camera club – Derby City Photographic – is with Marc Aspland, FRPS, chief sports photographer at The Times and one of the world’s greats. If there were medals for photography at the Games, he would be favourite for Gold.