By Duncan Mackay in Durban

Mike_Lee_head_and_shouldersJuly 7 - Mike Lee, the strategist involved in a series of bid victories, including Pyeongchang, which was yesterday chosen as the host city for the 2018 Winter Olympics and Paralympics, is to help squash's latest campaign to win a place on the Olympic programme.

Squash, which failed in previous efforts to be included in London 2012 and Rio 2016, is one of eight sports shortlisted by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) for inclusion in 2020 and has hired Lee's company, Vero Communications, to help it.

"I am delighted that we have reached agreement with Vero for them to be our bid management company and communications advisers and we look forward very much to working with Vero chairman Mike Lee and his colleagues in trying to realise our long-held goal of Squash becoming a Summer Olympic medal sport from 2020," said N Ramachandran, the President of the World Squash Federation (WSF).

"When we met Mike, we felt straight away that he understood our sport and our ambitions.

"Vero have a tremendous track record in assisting bidding cities and sports so squash will benefit immensely from drawing upon their experience and knowledge."

Lee had helped the International Rugby Board (IRB) in its successful campaign two years ago to get rugby sevens onto the programme for Rio 2016. 

Lee, the communications director of London 2012 during its successful bid, had also worked on Rio's campaign to host the Olympics and Paralympics and worked for Qatar 2022 when they were awarded the FIFA World Cup.

Having run the Premier League's communications from its inception in 1992, Lee joined UEFA as director of communications before leaving them to join London 2012.

He set-up Vero Communications shortly after London won its bid.

"We are thrilled with this appointment," said Lee.

"Our aim is to help squash put forward a compelling case to the IOC Programme Commission and wider Olympic Family on why the sport would be a fantastic addition to the Games."

Squash will be up against baseball, karate, roller sports, softball, sports climbing, wakeboard and wushu for the one place that will be available for 2020.

"There is a long road ahead in the campaign but we are excited by the challenge," said Lee.

"Working with President Ramachandran and the WSF team, we will do all we can to help ensure that the voice of squash is heard all the way to the IOC Session in Buenos Aires in September 2013."

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