Olympics: New Kiwi Olympic hopefuls react to cricket, squash's inclusion for Los Angeles 2028

There's belief that the addition of a quintet of new sports to the Olympic programme could extend the careers of some of New Zealand's most successful athletes.

Twenty20 cricket and squash are among those to have been confirmed for the 2028 Los Angeles Games.

Cricket's comeback to the Olympics was fittingly announced in India, confirmation that after a 128-year absence, leather and willow will return to one of global sports' biggest stage.

"Not the introduction of cricket in the Olympics for the first time," Blackcaps bowler Trent Boult points out. "1900 was the first time it was placed in the Olympics.  

"Not when we were around, but very exciting."

NZ Olympic Committee President Liz Dawson may be one of those to thank for having a word in the ear of IOC boss Tomas Bach.

Paul Coll.
Paul Coll. Photo credit: Photosport

"When I met him earlier this year, he did ask me about cricket, and so I was able to give him some information," Dawson told Newshub.

A big reason for T20 cricket's addition is the desire for the 2036 Games to be held in India. There's also a growing intention to showcase different sports globally.

White Ferns allrounder Amelia Kerr says representing New Zealand on the Olympic stage would be a career highlight.

"Obviously we've had the experience recently of the Comm Games. But as a kid growing up, you dream of playing for your country and you dream of going to the Olympics," said Kerr.

"To potentially have that opportunity to do that with cricket is pretty special."

Unsurprisingly given the host city, baseball and softball, Lacrosse sixes and flag football have also been given the green light.

Dawson says she understands the criticism of the latter in particular, which is a non-contact version of American football.

"But this is the biggest sports organisation, the NFL in the US, growing their presence and bringing their sport to the rest of the world," she explained.

For world No. 5 ranked squash star and Commonwealth Games champion Paul Coll, his sport's addition could provide a new lease of life.

Fresh off his US Open triumph earlier this week, Coll admits he'd almost given up hope on squash ever officially becoming part of the Games' programme.

But the prospect of adding an Olympics gold alongside his medal of the same colour he won in Birmingham last year could add some longevity to the 31-year-old's career.

"It's a nice goal I've got to focus on at the end of my career and I know a lot of players are like that," said Coll.  

"It's given them a lot of energy to push for a few more years in their career."