Squash shone like gold on the big stage in Glasgow
If there was ever any doubt that squash shouldn’t be part of the Olympics then it was spectacularly blown away at the Commonwealth Games.
The game of squash shone on the big stage like never before. Eleven days of full houses, an unbelievable atmosphere and squash at the highest level being played.
The coverage it received on the BBC and in the national newspapers was fantastic. Social media was awash with praise for the sport and its athletes from well known sporting personalities, fans of the game and members of the public that had watched the game for the first time wether it at the venue or on the TV. I even had Mums at my daughters’ netball match asking me about the game and saying how much they enjoyed watching it.
Living in Australia I was looking forward to watching the Games but knew I might be in for some late nights. Unfortunately to begin with the coverage wasn’t great unless you enjoyed swimming and cycling! After a lot of searching and downloading apps I eventually managed to watch the squash on the tablet and so the sleep deprivation began!
Here are some of the stories and highlights that for me made the Commonwealth Games such a fantastic success.
The Games began and ended with the Australians in the headlines. Their campaign began in turmoil with legal battles being the main focus which I’m sure caused stress amongst the camp. It ended on a high with a bronze and two gold medals and David Palmer (right) finally achieving that coveted gold medal or two.
Flag Bearers: Fantastic recognition for the sport and a fantastic honour for Nick Matthew, Nicol David, Chris Simpson and Micah Franklin.
Underdog Spirit: Playing in the Commonwealth Games can certainly inspire. Jenny Duncalf and Nicolette Fernandez played outstanding matches pushing Nicol David and Laura Massaro all the way and I’m sure the top two seeds breathed a sigh of relief once they got through.
Another inspiring performance was the Indian duo Joshna Chinappa and Dipika Pillakal winning the Women’s Doubles Gold Medal. They put in a great tactical performance to beat the England pair Jenny Duncalf and Laura Massaro and win India’s first squash medal.
One Million Viewers: An incredible number watching the singles event finals and they wouldn’t have been disappointed. Nicol David (below) raised her game to another level against Laura Massaro’ putting in a classy performance and winning another gold medal following her success in Delhi four years ago.
The men’s final between English duo Nick Matthew and James Willstrop had everything. Both extremely pleased to get there after injury scares before the tournament, they left nothing on the court with Nick eventually winning the gold in a five-game classic.
Doubles: Having the tin reduced to 13 inches was a masterstroke and made the doubles event very exciting to watch. With the players only really playing doubles every four years world rankings counted for nothing and it was the pairings that played the smartest tactics that seemed to come out on top.
Some have questioned whether doubles should be part of the event but after the enthusiastic full houses and some excellent matches it looks like it is here to stay.
England’s record medal haul: To win nine medals in the singles and doubles is a fantastic achievement and all credit to the players and support staff.
Of course there were many more highlights and stories, and these are just a select few. The Commonwealth Games in Glasgow will live long in the memory of the players, coaches, spectators and everyone involved. It was definitely when squash shone like gold.
Can’t wait for the Gold Coast in 2018.
Pictures from the Squash Mad archive