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Commonwealth Squash Round Up

IMAG0431Nick Matthew (England) and Nicol David (Malaysia) made history by becoming the first champions to retain their gold medals in the singles events – then India also claimed a place in squash history by securing the country’s first ever Games medal when Joshana Chinappa & Dipika Pallikal won the Women’s Doubles gold against the odds.

Veteran David Palmer rounded off the entire Games programme by clinching double gold for Australia after winning the Men’s & Mixed Doubles titles (with Cameron Pilley and Rachael Grinham, respectively).

Palmer’s incredible success not only took his Games medal tally to a record eight since 2002 – and the 38-year-old’s first gold – but also lifted Australia to the top of the Squash medals table.

In addition to the record spectator attendances and worldwide TV output, BBC TV also revealed that a peak domestic television audience of one million viewers tuned in to BBC1 to watch Matthew and David claim gold in the singles finals.

Some 12 hours after being the Team England flag-bearer at the Opening Ceremony – one of four squash players to perform such a high-profile role – Nick Matthew had first-hand experience of the sensational Scotstoun crowd.

“It was just so good to come out to such an amazing response – it’s more like a finals crowd than a first round,” said the world No2. “I’ve had a long career and played in some amazing venues, but never experienced a first round crowd like that.”

Men’s singles silver medallist James Willstrop added: “The atmosphere here was unbelievable. It’s great for the game and it’s wonderful to be involved – I’m trying to soak up every minute.

“It doesn’t come any better than this – it’s quite exceptional what Glasgow has been doing.”

Doubles was also a huge success, benefitting from the wider court and lowered tin (down to 33mm / 13″) since the last Games in Delhi. Matches were shorter and more vibrant, with exciting and entertaining encounters on the Scotstoun new legacy courts and the showcourt.

“I don’t think anyone could have predicted the impact the squash here has had on the general public, as opposed to the die-hard fans,” said BBC TV commentator Sue Wright, winner of one of England’s first Commonwealth Games squash gold medals in 1998.

One enthusiastic spectator in Glasgow was Prince Albert of Monaco: “Squash is a great sport – it’s made major progress in the last few years. It’s much more spectator-friendly,” said the IOC Member. “This has been a great showcase for the sport, the level of play was outstanding.”

Australian squash legend Sarah Fitz-Gerald, the five-time world champion in Glasgow as the Australian team coach, said: “Scotland and Glasgow: Thanks for a wonderful and successful Commonwealth Games. The atmosphere was awesome, the squash was great, bagpipes terrific and the court looked fantastic.

Olympic decathlon gold medallist Daley Thompson said: “Women’s squash final. Nicol & Laura both warriors and brilliant ambassadors for the game. The Olympics needs Nicol, Laura, Nick, James – in fact Squash”

The newspaper wrote: “Squash has been one of the real finds of these Games from a TV perspective.”

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