Squash chiefs have been patiently waiting to be included in the Olympic games, thanks to innovations in technology, their dream may be closer than imagined.
Squash has failed on three occasions to be included in the Games. The most recent rejection from Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
However, the adoption of a new data system will make it more attractive to be included in the Paris 2024 Olympics.
Squash will pioneer a statistical tracking system for the first time at a world tournament at the Swedish Open in Linkoping in February this year. At this tournament, the Professional Squash Association (PSA) says it will allow the elite game to be analysed in greater depth than ever before.
The technology means that four cameras and a series of sensors will be placed around and above the all-glass court. The system is led by a tracking mechanism, namely “MoTrack”, allowing for instant analysis of both the players’ and the ball’s behaviour.
PSA’s chief executive, Alex Gough told Reuters in an interview, “we feel certain this will add a new dimension to squash’s global appeal”
There are many misconceptions about squash, “it is one of the most physically demanding sports in the world and being able to illustrate the supreme fitness of our players with specific data, that is easy to understand and display, is key to helping improve our sport” Gough explains.
This new technology will allow viewers to see the physical characteristics of player such as movement, speed and distance cover by the players during the games. It will also show tactical elements such as heat maps and ball tracking data.
Munich-based creative entrepreneur, Markos Kern, created the system, namely interactiveSQUASH (iSquash) that can project interactive training modules onto the front wall of the court.
Kern believes that with this new and innovative technology, squash will in time become he first to achieve a full merger between technology and sport in true, real time. Data will be readily available for both the fans and players.
Tour chiefs hope to incorporate technology for automated calls on the outlines, as well as the tin, if the trial concept proves successful. Plans are also in place to combine iSquash’s front wall technology with the tour system, meaning that statistical data can be projected onto the court wall in between games for spectators.
Kern said that he would also create an e-squash governing body to take advantage of the growing popularity of e-sports.
Kerns adds, intuitively, “if squash doesn’t innovate for the digital age then what chance to we have of young people picking up a racket?” Kern believes this is the perfect combination of gaming and a real sport.
Attracting a youthful audience is also fundamental for a sport harbouring dreams of Olympic inclusion after failing to convince the International Olympic Committee in its last three bids.
Gough explains that the possibilities that this technology offers are endless, and will appeal to a younger, tech-savvy audiences.
This technology has the potential to take the sport to another level if executed efficiently and wields great possibility for inclusion in the 2024 Paris Olympics.