Federations Roundup - Squash Launches 2020 Campaign; Softball Talks Baseball

(ATR) Squash kicks off campaign for Olympic reinstatement ... Softball gauges opinions of member federations regarding baseball alliance ... Modern pentathlon crowns "champion of champions" ...

XXXX of USA in action during the Women's Table Tennis during Day One of the XVI Pan American Games at Code Dome on October 15, 2011 in Guadalajara, Mexico.
XXXX of USA in action during the Women's Table Tennis during Day One of the XVI Pan American Games at Code Dome on October 15, 2011 in Guadalajara, Mexico.

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Squash Launches "Back the Bid 2020"

The World Squash Federation has launched its "Back the Bid 2020" campaign as the sport seeks to win a spot on the Olympic program in 2013.

"With individuals and companies expressing an interest in playing a part in supporting our Olympic campaign, we felt now was the right time to provide an opportunity for them to do so through Back the Bid 2020," said WSF president N. Ramachandran.

"Inclusion in the Olympic Games would be a huge opportunity for squash, especially for youngsters who will come into the sport - and the feedback we have had from fans world-wide since launching our 2020 Olympic campaign in July has been phenomenal. Many just want to play their part and 'Back the Bid 2020' will enable them to do so."

Everyone who contributes to the campaign will become a "Friend of World Squash", the ongoing linked WSF program.

Squash is one of eight sports vying for a place on the sports program for the 2020 Olympics. In 2009, squash lost out to golf and Rugby Sevens in the seven-sport bid race to join the 2016 Games.

Further details on the sport's 2020 bid campaign will be released at a media briefing in London next Monday.

Softball, Baseball Talk On

Softball and baseball are a step closer to working together to secure a spot in the Olympics.

In Oklahoma City over the weekend, the International Softball Federation staged its biennial congress, where delegates from 70 countries weighed in on the two sports joining forces for 2020.

National member federations "gave their support to the continuation of talks with the International Baseball Federation to explore the possibility of a joint Olympic reinstatement bid," says an ISF statement.

Both sports are among eight shortlisted by the IOC ahead of a 2013 decision. It's expected there will be room for only one to join the program, currently capped at 28 sports.

Also in Oklahoma City, upcoming world championships were awarded to Haarlem, Netherlands (2014 women's); Whitehorse, Canada (2014 men's juniors) and Saskatoon, Canada (2015 men's).

Modern Pentathlon Crowns "Champion of Champions"

Pierpaolo Petroni of Italy is modern pentathlon's latest "Champion of Champions".

In Sicily over the weekend, the 24-year-old won theannual showcase bringing together the sport’s top 18 men and women from the past few years.

Klaus Schormann, president of the International Modern Pentathlon Union, hailed the success of the event.

"Thank you to the Italian Federation for organising such a brilliant event at short notice. This was a true spectacle for the sport and one the athletes, officials and fans will never forget," he said.

"The combined event in the city center at night time was a treat to all. This has now got the Italian public excited for the 2012 Modern Pentathlon World Championshipsin Rome next year.

Margaux Isaksen, who also won gold this month at the Pan American Games in Guadalajara, won the women’s division. Isaksen was coached by Janusz Peciak, who won the first-ever "Champion of Champions" event in 1979.

Golf Expands with Return to Olympics

The Olympics will spur the international development of golf, says the PGA Tour’s vice president of international operations.

"It's great for the development of the game worldwide because it puts golf on an equal footing with other Olympic sports," Jack Warfield told AFP.

"The focus from national organizations and governmental support around the world is important to assist with expansion in the growth of golf."

Speaking at the CIMB Asia Pacific Classic in Malaysia, Warfield added that the sport was already rapidly expanding in Asia.

"The game is becoming so popular and beyond the limited percentages that play the game at very high income levels it's expanding beyond further demographic groups and all the efforts, whether it be junior development or golf initiatives, that help broaden the base are extremely positive."

The IOC voted to bring golf back to the Olympics in 2016 in Rio de Janerio. The sport had been excluded from the Games since 1904.

Written by Ann Cantrell and Mark Bisson.

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