Squash Boosted By PanAm Games Selection
The decision was made by the Pan American Sports Organisation (PASO), headed by IOC Executive Board Member Mario Vazquez Raña; and the Organising Committee of Rio 2007 (CORIO), headed by IOC Member Carlos Arthur Nuzman.
The announcement, made during the 43rd PASO General Assembly, was received with rapturous applause and excitement from the floor - and led to wide-spread media coverage for the Brazilian Squash Confederation.
It will mark the fourth successive appearance by Squash in these Games, after Mar del Plata 1995 in Argentina, Winnipeg in Canada in 1999, and Santo Domingo 2003 in the Dominican Republic.
The PASO Assembly attracted more than 20 IOC Members, as well as IOC President Jacques Rogge and many other personalities and organisations in world sport, such as representatives of Melbourne 2006, Beijing 2008, and London 2012. The membership of PASO consists of the 42 NOCs in the Pan America region.
Guadalajara, one of the candidate cities for the next Games, also confirmed that Squash will be included in the 2011 programme if the Mexican city wins the race to become the next host.
"This is very positive for Squash in the region," said World Squash Federation Chief Executive Christian Leighton, who attended the Rio Assembly with Sergio Rodriguez, President of the Pan American Squash Confederation; and Lawrence Magrath and Nelson Neto, President and Chief Executive, respectively, of the Brazilian Squash Confederation.
"Being in the Games pumps investment into the sport from NOCs as countries strive to improve their medal total at the Games. Although it would be very difficult to state a figure, there is no question that the direct investment from NOCs will exceed US$ 1 million for the period up to the Games in July 2007," explained Leighton.
"In addition, remaining in the Games is an important element of our strategy to enter the Olympic Games. The world of Squash is rejoicing today as the WSF's second largest region (in number of member national federations and playing nations) has been confirmed into its most important multi-sport event.
"The Organising Committee has congratulated us and say that they are looking forward to having Squash in the Games. In making the announcement, Mario Vazquez Raña said that he was very happy for the inclusion and felt it was the right step after our recent performance in Singapore," added Leighton.
Sergio Rodriguez also offered his gratitude to PASO's Mario Vazquez Raña: "Mario has always been very helpful towards Squash in our region, and we are most grateful for his support on this occasion," added the Pan American Squash Confederation President.
Brazilian Squash President Lawrence Magrath added: "This decision is a major boost for the development of Squash in Brazil - and we look forward to maintaining Brazil's tradition of always winning medals at the Pan American Games!"
Issued on behalf of: WSF
For further information: Howard Harding
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