Squash has been overlooked for inclusion at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics which is devastating news for the sport's millions of followers, says the World Squash Federation.
Squash was among eight sports short-listed for possible inclusion at the 2020 Olympics but failed to make the final list of five sports, recommended by Tokyo's organisers.
The five proposed for the 2020 Summer Games were baseball/softball, karate, skateboard, sports climbing and surfing. Squash, bowling and wushu all missed out .
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) will make the final decision next year on which sports will be accepted for Tokyo, choosing from the five that were recommended.
"I don't believe we could have done more to get our message across to both the Tokyo 2020 Games hosts and the IOC how Squash could bring something special as an addition to the Programme," WSF president Narayana Ramachandran said in a statement.
"I know I speak on behalf of the millions of squash players around the world for whom the opportunity of seeing their sport participate in the Olympics has been an absolute priority -- and, like me, they will be heartbroken."
Squash, played in more than 185 countries, was one of three sports short-listed for full inclusion at the Tokyo Olympics when the IOC voted on the programme at its 125th Session in Buenos Aires two years ago.
Wrestling won that vote for inclusion ahead of baseball/softball and squash but the losers were thrown a lifeline when the IOC later decided that future Olympic host cities could select extra sports they wanted to see contested at the Games.
The Squash New Zealand chief executive Jim O'Grady says missing out for a third time has hit the squash community hard.
"We've been to this point on three occasions previously and to just miss out again doesn't fill you with excitement," said O'Grady.
"But the guys will keep trying and one day it's going to happen."