By MIKE DALE (Squash Mad Correspondent)
Gina Kennedy has called an early end to her season as she struggles to regain fitness following horrific recent illness and injury issues.
As revealed exclusively last month by Squash Mad, Kennedy was hospitalised just weeks after winning the women’s gold medal at the Commonwealth Games after suffering her “worst ever” flare-up of ulcerative colitis, a chronic inflammatory bowel condition she has had for six years.
In addition, Kennedy sustained food poisoning and a hamstring injury at the South Western Open in Houston in September.
Following her glorious gold medal-winning run in Birmingham last summer, 25-year-old Kennedy found herself bed ridden for several weeks with severe abdominal pain, loss of bladder control and internal bleeding caused by the ulcerative colitis.
An attempt at a comeback at the Egyptian Open was, in her own words, “a really bad decision” and caused a relapse of her symptoms. But after several weeks training, she felt ready enough to return to the court competitively again at October’s Grasshopper Cup in Zurich.
Results since then have been modest by her own standards though. She lost rapidly to Egypt’s Hania El Hammamy in Zurich, followed by a straight-games defeat to Emily Whitlock in St George’s Hill’s PSL match against Alba Storm, then another rapid loss last Wednesday to USA’s Sabrina Sobhy at the Singapore Open.
Kennedy, who had spoken with such excitement about experiencing the new ‘Asia swing’ of the PSA Tour, flew home to Beckenham in Kent and took the decision to abandon the rest of her season in order to rehabilitate.
Her absence will seriously diminish England’s hopes of toppling the powerhouse Egyptian squad who will be hot favourites to win the forthcoming Women’s World Team Championship in Cairo next month.
Kennedy told Squash Mad: “It has been a very frustrating few months. The steroids I’m on could be causing these issues but it’s hard to tell. I got an MRI scan so hopefully we’ll figure out the problem and I’ll be back soon.”
Announcing her decision on Instagram, the world No.9 wrote: “Love this sport but it’s been giving me a hard time lately.
“Will do my best to get myself sorted and I aim to be back stronger than ever in 2023!
“Thank you to my team and my sponsors who have been so supportive over this difficult time.”
Squash Mad wishes Gina the very best with her recovery and shares her hope to see her continue her ascent up the PSA world rankings when she returns in 2023-24.
Pictures courtesy of PSA World Tour