Canada’s James Flynn set to enter the rings at 2018 Youth Olympic Games

2018-10-04

OTTAWA, ON, October 4, 2018 – The wait is finally over for squash as it will debut as a “showcase sport” next week at the Youth Olympic Games being held October 7-12, 2018 in Buenos Aires, Argentina.  The World Squash Federation (WSF) and Squash Canada are thrilled about this opportunity as it is the first-time squash will be involved in any Olympic platform.

Canada will be represented by James Flynn as a Youth Ambassador as well as Squash Canada President Steve Wren, who will serve as the Canadian squash team leader.  Both are very excited for the opportunity to be part of the bigger picture to promote squash as a future potential full-medal Olympic sport.

Flynn was selected in May to represent Canada and is currently the No.1 ranked U19 player and reigning 2018 Canadian U19 Junior Champion.  He has put together quite the list of accomplishments this summer leading up to the Games with high level finishes in several events: Pan American Junior Championships – 3rd Place in Singles, 2nd Place in Mixed Doubles and 1st Place in the Team Event; Cologne Junior Open – 3rd Place in U19; World Junior Men Individual Championships – Top 16; and World Junior Men Team Championships – 5th Place.  To compliment his outstanding squash achievements, he is also a Freshman at the University of Pennsylvania and member of the Varsity Squash team.

Throughout the duration of the Games, Squash Canada will be highlighting the action from Buenos Aires as squash makes its debut along with our Canadian highlights.

For more information during the 2018 Youth Olympic Games please their homepage.

Youth Olympics Squash webpage

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Photos Credit:
Youth Olympics Squash

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Team Leader Steve Wren's Blog:

First impressions… we are part of something much much bigger than first anticipated!

Buenos Aires has adopted and engaged the Olympic model for youth with wonderful conviction.  Nearly 4,000 athletes from nearly 40 countries, their accompanying entourage of coaches, management, delegates and spectators have converged in various locales around this sprawling city.  In genuine Olympic Games fashion, this host city reminds us all that there is a worldly significant sporting event underway, with imposing publicity in the city’s thoroughfares, on buildings, busses, and the utilization of multiple sports facilities.  Volunteers galore, and Security abound… extreme focus has been placed on ensuring the safety of all athletes and spectators alike, and for our relatively smallish contingent at the field of play for Squash, we are right in the thick of foot traffic and keen onlookers.

The 4-sided glass squash court and integrated Interactive Squash technology incorporated into the front wall, presents squash in wickedly cool fashion, and that’s just the objective.  The 38 players are fashionably dressed in matching tracksuits and playing gear, and the rocking music and vapour clouds that play out during the action on court ramp up the intensity to dance-club level. The players are the rock stars, the exhibition court and flash interactive digital imagery on the front wall is the theatre.  The impact on the viewer new to this sport is really impressive.

Each day our singular Canadian athlete, James Flynn, has “participated” in the squash action that’s conducted in a round robin fashion.  Strict guidelines directed by the IOC for demonstration sports such as squash, are in play for all of the 38 squash athletes here.  Which is why I report back no results…results are not the desired outcome for a sport on demonstration.  The action on the squash court during a schedule of play that runs from 10am to 8pm each day, is purely for exhibition purposes, and with that comes a distinctly fun element to the player match-ups.  Saying that, 38 of these top young athletes from around the world are privately busting to get stuck into some meaningful competition, but that will be another day, in another event.

The squash court arena, has been placed in a huge exhibition hall that accommodates a collection of sports: Futbol, Table Tennis, and Badminton.  The spectator attendance to squash has been really impressive, they come and go by the squash arena in large swathes.  To add, activities on court with dance troupes, ball autograph signing, spectators hitting on court, and the Interactive Squash Front wall providing arcade-style game entertainment contributes to the whole spectator experience.  The kids are eating this stuff up.  And credit to the Buenos Aires Olympic Organizing Committee for their commitment to engage many thousands of young impressionable students to visit the sports sites every day. Busloads of young people are flowing through the sports venue, who get to stop by and see James and his colleagues playing exhibition squash, trick shots, winners, outstanding retrieving and world-class skills. Its great to see, they pack the area right up to the glass walls. In some cases it looks like they’re pressed up against the chocolate shop window, drooling to try that good stuff inside.

Squash is getting noticed in this Youth Olympic Games.  IOC delegates are floating around, and we have the presence of the WSF’s President, Mr. Jacques Fontaine, along with various other PSA and FPS dignitaries.  Compared to the other sports we’ve seen here at the YOG, squash, as we all believe, can also fit this sporting model perfectly.  Our participation here at Buenos Aires, with so many other wonderful sports, is a critical step in the right direction. Believe that we’ll make progress, as these young athletes are demonstrating, and 2024 may just be the time that we can see James Flynn and his other Canadian women and men colleagues in red and white to competing for Olympic glory.  This week here in Buenos Aires, we’ve enjoyed warm welcome for inclusion within the 5 rings…how good would this become to be part of the real Olympic Games in 6 years… Croire en Paris!

Adios Amigos…Steve Wren

 

 

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