Carlisle Squash Club’s Dave Box says fears the game won’t translate to a television audience is understood to be one of the main reasons the sport has once again been omitted from the Olympics.

Breakdancing, along with surfing, climbing and skateboarding, were proposed for inclusion in the Paris 2024 Olympic Games last Thursday by organisers. 

But squash unsuccessfully campaigned for inclusion for a fourth time, despite being a Commonwealth Games event. 

That has led to Britain’s former world No.1 Nick Matthew, whose family have a home in Appleby, suggesting there could be a legal challenge.

Box, one of the coaches at Carlisle who will hold their club championships from March 26-30, said: “It’s absolutely infuriating. 

"It’s such a demanding sport and there are all sorts of threats of legal challenges now to try to understand why other less demanding sports are being included.

“From a television point-of-view, it’s always been a wrestling match because people just see two blokes in a box, hitting the ball about. It’s difficult to understand, and I think that’s one of the biggest hurdles. 

"It’s very difficult to see the change in ability or level because, to the bystander, it’s just two blokes hitting the ball in a square area.”

Squash was first included at the Commonwealth Games in 1998.

“When it’s there, it’s one of the most dynamic and exciting sports,” Box said. “You can get hooked if you play somebody of a similar standard [and] you are on that court.

“For me, that’s where it’s being overlooked because, if a normal guy on the street came on to the court, it’s very rare that you can’t get them interested by introducing some sort of condition to the game which allows them to enjoy it. It becomes quite addictive. 

“When watched at full-flight, some of the recoveries nowadays are just phenomenal. Again, I don’t think that translates on screen as easily as it does while you are at a live event. 

“Another one of the problems is that you can only get so many people spectating. But it has been really well taken at the Commonwealth Games.”

Box, 56, also proved how interactive the sport is - even at the top level - as he recalled a conversation he had with three-time Commonwealth Games gold medallist Matthew at the British Men’s Over-55 Championships last month.

“Me and a friend were playing down in Nottingham in the nationals where I had an interest in watching the youngsters come through,” he explained.

“Paul Bell [the former Carlisle man who coaches Scotland now] was there with his Scottish contingent, and I was sat with Nick Matthew – well, you don’t get the chance to just sit with a world champion in many other sports. 

"Ironically, Nick is a member at Appleby. His in-laws had a holiday home, right opposite the squash club which is down by the swimming pool area there.

“When we were talking in Nottingham, we were laughing that someone was showing Nick around the squash club, he didn’t realise who he was. He said to Nick ‘If you get yourself into the butcher’s, which is where the lad who holds the keys for the squash club is, you can get the key. If you want a game, son, they’ll give you the keys and, if you are any standard, I’ll set you up with a game!’ 

"Nick said, while this guy was talking, in behind him was a Dunlop promotional poster with Nick in full-flight. He said he just couldn’t keep a straight face.

“He has taken that holiday home over from his in-laws now, and he comes up every now and again.” 

The International Olympic Committee didn’t comment when approached by the News & Star.

Meanwhile, young Carlisle prospect Adam Goad, 16, competed at a European tournament in Lille, reaching the quarter-finals, after he won the Surrey Gold boys’ Junior event last month.