January 6 - Squash has been given a major boost in their bid to join the 2020 Olympic Games sports programme after a hugely impressive display here at the 2013 World Series Squash Finals.
The prestigious competition at the exclusive Queen's Clubs acts as the end of season championship for the world's top eight male and female players and it has been moved to the start of the year to get television coverage for the final stages on Sky Sports.
In the women's final, the formidable Nicol David of Malaysia (top right), who has been world number one for seven years, beat England's home favourite Laura Massaro in straight games as she sealed a 11-3, 11-2, 11-9 victory.
In the men's final Amr Shabana of Egypt (top left) then defeated England's Nick Matthew 4-11, 11-2, 11-4, 11-7 to leave the home crowd disappointed.
The two victories meant a repeat of the 2012 World Series Squash Finals last year at Queen's Clubs when David and Shabana also took the women's and men's titles respectively.
The women's final was first up and it saw a display of pure class from David as the 29-year-old started superbly to win the first two games in just 15 minutes.
Massaro rallied to lead 8-6 in third but David then raised her game to seal a comfortable victory.
Following the win, David revealed that she is hopeful the sport will continue to impress the International Olympic Committee (IOC) ahead of their Session in Buenos Aires in September when they will decide whether or not to include the sport of the programme for the 2020 Olympics.
"We have to keep solid with the 2020 campaign this time," said the Malaysian.
"It's an honour to represent squash in any way and if I can get the message out there to back the bid then I will do whatever it takes.
"If I can help in any way to get squash in the Olympics, then I will push myself to stay in the game until then.
"But that would be the ultimate dream come true, to help squash get in the Olympics and then play in it."
After the one-sided women's final, the men's final produced a far closer contest as Shabana and Matthew traded blows throughout.
It was the home favourite Matthew who took the first game before Shabana rallied superbly to take the next three games and secure the defence of his title.
But despite a painful defeat in one of the sport's biggest events, Matthew still took the opportunity to follow David in giving his full backing to squash's bid to make the 2020 Olympic Games.
"I really hope squash gets in for 2020," he said.
"Had we been at the Olympics [at London 2012] and won medals, you can't even imagine what that would have done for the profile of the sport.
"It's off the charts and I hope we can be successful."
Squash is one of seven bidders vying to make the 2020 Olympic Games programme along with climbing, karate, roller sport, wakeboard, wushu and a joint baseball/softball bid.
Contact the writer of this story at [email protected]