Wrestlers fume as cricketers back squash’s Oly bid
New Delhi: Cricket stars like Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag supporting squash's bid for inclusion in the 2020 Olympics has left India's wrestling fraternity distraught.
Cricketers' open love for squash has hurt the sentiments of Olympic medallists Sushil Kumar and Yogeshwar Dutt, who have asked the players to hold placards similar to "2020 Squash — Back the bid", for wrestling.
Wrestlers' emotional outburst came in the wake of Sehwag tweeting 'I back squash, do you?'. Tendulkar and off-spinner Harbhajan Singh too posted pictures of themselves on their Twitter handles with placards reading '2020 Squash — Back the bid'.
"How could they (cricketers) do this to us? We are going through a tough phase and these cricketing icons should support us in our bid to get back into the Olympic fold.
Instead, they are supporting squash which is not so popular in the country," Sushil told PTI.
"It's quite possible that the cricketers might have done it in a good faith but they should understand it could affect our chances of making a comeback. Wrestlers have brought laurels to the country by winning four medals. On the other hand, realistically speaking, squash has no chance of winning an Olympic medal," said Sushil, the first Indian to win back-to-back individual Olympic medals.
In squash, no Indian male or female player features among the world's top 10 with Saurav Ghosal and Dipika Pallikal placed at 18th and 15th respectively in the rankings. It has been learnt that Ghosal was the one who approached the cricketers for their support.
The International Olympic Committee's Executive Board had, in its meeting in Lausanne on February 12, dropped wrestling from the 2020 Olympics. Wrestling has now joined seven other sports in applying for inclusion in 2020.