ENGLAND SELECT STRONG SQUAD FOR GLASGOW GAMES
World champions Nick Matthew and Laura Massaro will spearhead a strong England squad at this summer’s Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.
The two world no.2s (pictured) will lead a concerted drive for singles medals from July 24 to 28 and will also take part in England’s bid for triple doubles glory from July 29 to August 3 as they aim to top the squash medals table for the second successive Games.
Team Leader Louise Pickford said: “This is such an exciting squad and playing in the Commonwealth Games representing Team England means so much to each of them.
“We have a pretty good idea of the pairings we’ll see in Glasgow, but we’ll be using our training camp over the coming week to finalise those, so we can be sure we’re sending the best possible combinations to Glasgow.”
Matthew will enter the men’s singles as favourite to retain the title he won in Delhi four years ago. Indeed, England will be tipped to repeat their clean sweep of the 2010 medals in the event, with Matthew, world no.6 James Willstrop and world no.8 Peter Barker the leading three PSA Tour players in the draw.
Matthew said: “The Commonwealth Games are our Olympics and we owe a lot to them. Our National Training Centre at Sportcity in Manchester is a legacy of the 2002 Games and we will all be using that as a base in the build-up to Glasgow.
“I have wanted to win a Commonwealth Gold medal ever since waking up in the early hours to watch Peter Nicol win gold on TV in the 1998 Kuala Lumpur Games and then as a team-mate in 2006 in Melbourne.
“To emulate him last time out in Delhi and the feeling I had standing on top of that podium listening to ‘Jerusalem’ blast out was one of the best feelings ever and I dearly want to repeat it in Glasgow.”
In Massaro, world no.6 Alison Waters and world no.14 Jenny Duncalf, England also field a powerful line-up in the women’s singles, but they are likely to face tougher competition for the medals, with Malaysian world no.1 Nicol David due to be named top seed and New Zealander Joelle King third seed.
Massaro said: “I’m really excited and proud to be part of such a strong Team England squad travelling to Glasgow. As a squash player competing in a Commonwealth Games is of huge importance and I want to do myself and my country proud.
“I will be giving everything I have to get on the podium in Glasgow, hopefully in the individual event and in the doubles too. I can’t wait!”
In addition to attempting a Commonwealth singles double, Matthew is set to bid for a brace of men’s doubles gold medals as well, having won that title with Adrian Grant in Delhi. Willstrop and Daryl Selby have also been selected for that event along with Grant.
Meanwhile, Duncalf and Massaro, silver medallists in the women’s doubles in Delhi, hope to go one better in Glasgow. They have been chosen for the event along with Waters and Emma Beddoes, who will be the sole England player making a Commonwealth Games debut.
She commented: "I am delighted to be selected to represent England in the women’s doubles at the Commonwealth Games. It will be my first experience of the Commonwealths in Glasgow and I am excited to play my part in what will hopefully be a successful Games for squash and Team England as a whole.”
ENGLAND COMMONWEALTH GAMES SQUAD
Peter Barker, Emma Beddoes, Jenny Duncalf, Adrian Grant, Laura Massaro, Nick Matthew, Daryl Selby, Alison Waters, James Willstrop.