Five nations came away with Squash
medals in the 9th staging of the World Games in the
Colombian city of Cali, with Malaysia's world number
one Nicol David striking gold for a record third time
in a row in the women's championship and world No2
Gregory Gaultier claiming the first ever gold medal for
France in the men's event.
The World Games squash action - featuring 40
of the sport's leading men and women athletes, representing
20 member nations - took place at Club Caniasgordas,
which boasts six glass back courts plus an all-glass show
The supreme Nicol David reached the
latest milestone in her illustrious squash career when she
beat Dutch rival Natalie Grinham(both pictured
below) 11-6, 11-9, 11-8 in a repeat of the 2009 final in
Kaohsiung, Chinese Taipei.
The 29-year-old from Penang, who has topped
the world rankings unopposed since August 2006, not only
celebrated her 13th World Games match win in a row since
July 2005, when she won her maiden title in Germany, but
her 13th without dropping a game!
But Grinham, a former world No2 who won a
record three Commonwealth Games gold medals for
Australia in 2006, gave David a good run for her money. The
first game was evenly poised up to 4-4 before the favourite
raced away to collect the first with some steady squash.
Throughout the match David was aggressive whilst Grinham
mixed it up with some beautiful lobs and delicate drops -
but David was always there to pick them up, and ultimately
prevailed in straight games.
"It's so nice to win a medal at a multi-sport
event," said David - who now boasts 10 world title wins,
with her third World Games crown added to the record seven
World Open trophies she has won between 2005 and 2012.
The second final was certain to provide a new
men's World Games champion - with Gaultier taking on
surprise opponent Simon Rosner, the third seed who
upset England's No2 seed Peter Barker in the
semi-finals to become Germany's first ever finalist.
Gaultier went into the match boasting a 10-0 career
head-to-head record over his opponent, ranked 12 in the
The match was keenly contested. The first
game saw some amazing attacking shots, some unbelievable
retrieving by both players and the score line read 10-9 game
ball to Rosner. During the final rally, a ball is called out
and the referee announced 11-9 game to the German.
However Gaultier appealed and Rosner
demonstrated impressive sportsmanship by agreeing to play a
let - a great gesture which Gaultier acknowledged.
Nevertheless, Rosner took the game to open up a surprise
first game lead.
Errors crept into the German's game in the
second as Gaultier drew level. Gaultier maintained the upper
hand thereafter to march through to his 9-11, 11-7, 11-5,
11-4 win to give the gold medal to France.
"I'm so happy to contribute this gold to the
total tally of medals to my country," said Gaultier
afterwards - alluding to the bronze medal won earlier by
compatriot Camille Serme after upsetting
second-seeded Malaysian Low Wee Wern 11-8, 11-4, 11-4
in the women's play-off.
"I'm so happy to win bronze for my country,"
said the very excited world No12 from Creteil.
Popular local hero Miguel Angel Rodriguez
claimed the first World Games medal for Colombia after
Barker was forced to concede the men's bronze medal play-off
due to injury.
After treating the packed crowd to an
exhibition match against Peruvian youngster Diego Elias,
Rodriguez addressed the gallery in Spanish saying what an
honour it was for him and his country to win the bronze.
Medals for the women's event were presented
by Susie Simcock, Emeritus President of the World
Squash Federation, whilst the men's medals were
presented by Jacques Fontaine, the WSF representative
at the event (Picture above shows men's medallists (L to
R) Rosner, Gaultier & Rodriguez). Colombian Squash
President Pablo Serna gave away the mascots.
"What a three days we have had," said
Competition Manager Major Maniam. "Such fantastic
squash, so competitive, a really great atmosphere and some
real surprise results. There is something special about
being part of multi-sport events - like we also are in the
Asian Games and Commonwealth Games - the crowds were in awe,
the players loved it, and I did too.
"All the conversation was about the Olympic
vote next month and how squash would be a great addition if
we succeed for 2020. No doubt on that score!"
Rosner & Natalie Grinham Make World
After semi-final upsets over the second seeds, both Germany's
Simon Rosner and Dutch champion Natalie Grinham will compete in the
squash finals of the World Games, the multi-sport games which is
celebrating its 9th edition in the Colombian city of Cali.
The World Games squash action - featuring 40 of the sport's
leading men and women athletes, representing 20 member nations - is taking place
at Club Caniasgordas, which boasts six glass back courts plus an
all-glass show court.
Third seed Grinham will meet top seed Nicol David - the
world number one from Malaysia bidding to win a third successive World Games
gold medal - in a repeat of the 2009 women's final, whilst Rosner, also a third
seed, takes on France's world No2 Gregory Gaultier, the men's favourite,
in the other final.
The top four seeds contested the women's semi-finals after
surviving the last eight round earlier in the day. World No9 Grinham ended the
brave run of Japan's 9/16 seed Misaki Kobayashi in the quarter-finals
before lining up against Low Wee Wern (both pictured below), the world
No6 from Malaysia with whom she shared a one-all head-to-head record.
"The match was of good quality with great frontcourt play from
Natalie and excellent retrieving by Low," reported event spokesman Major
Maniam after Grinham's 11-7, 2-11, 11-4, 11-4 victory. "Natalie played an
outstanding tactical game to upset the second seed. She was aggressive and used
her chances well.
"Low on the other hand was too defensive and did not use the
front of the court enough. Low did play attacking squash in the second but could
not produce that game after that. Both players showed true sportsmanship as they
owned up to a number of double pickups as well as agreeing to a let when no let
was called. The packed crowd thoroughly enjoyed the show."
The other women's semi produced the latest milestone in the
sensational career of Nicol David, the 29-year-old from Penang who this
month begins her eighth unbroken year at the top of the women's world squash
David - who has not only not lost a match in the World Games
since making her debut in July 2005, but has also not dropped a game -
wrapped up her 12th successive win in the event by beating France's No4 seed
Camille Serme, the world No12, 11-5, 11-5, 11-8.
"Nicol was a phenomenon," said Maniam. "She was calm and composed
even though she was trailing in the third. Camille gave it everything she had
but simply was not as consistent to beat Nicol today. Nicol makes the game look
so simple. Perhaps it really is!"
Four players from four different countries lined up in the men's
semi-finals. The opening encounter saw seven-time German champion Rosner take on
England's Peter Barker, the world No7 from London who boasts an unbeaten
Tour record over the German stretching back three years.
"It was a match that showcased the talents of two outstanding
squash players," Maniam explained. "If one expected a long drawn out affair, it
was quickly proven wrong as Simon displayed some awe-inspiring squash that had
the crowd supporting and cheering him on. Peter played steady squash but it was
Simon who was creative, deceptive and less error-prone."
Rosner romped home with an unexpected but well-deserved 11-8,
11-7, 11-8 victory. When asked how he was able to bounce around the court after
the energy-sapping match earlier against France's Mathieu Castagnet,
Rosner said: "I was really tired after the afternoon match, but I had a session
with my physio and I am feeling fine. He must have done something good."
The 25-year-old world No12 from Paderborn later told his Twitter
followers: "Too good to be true ... In the final of the World Games. Beating
P.Barker for the first time and 3:0"
Local hero Miguel Angel Rodriguez, the sixth seed from
Colombia, produced the shock of the men's quarter-finals when he defeated
fourth-seeded Australian Cameron Pilley 5-11, 11-8, 11-6, 11-6.
His semi-final match against event favourite Gregory Gaultier
brought the day's squash session to an appropriate climax, despite finishing
half an hour after midnight! In their previous two meeting, Gaultier recorded
3/0 wins - but Rodriguez has since made his first appearance in the world top 20
and is not only Colombia's highest-ranked player of all-time, but the second
highest-ranked South American ever.
"The final match of the day was as good as one would expect of
two extremely fit and skilled players," reported Maniam. "Gregory started off at
a furious pace and was in control for the first two games. The third was looking
like it was going Gregory's way when a lapse in concentration gave Miguel
confidence and the next game.
"The fourth was closely fought and the rallies were long and hard
laced with some outstanding deception and retrieving by both players. In the end
it was Greg's finishing shots that saw him home 11-6, 11-5, 8-11, 11-9 - and
into his first World Games final. Sorry Colombia!
"The gallery was packed to the brim until the end at 12.30 a.m.
and they were treated to the highest level of squash by the most talented squash
players; what a treat, what a show."
Celebrates Japanese World Games Breakthrough
became the first Japanese player to reach the quarter-finals of the
World Games Squash Championship when she upset eighth seed
Samantha Teran in the second round of the 9th edition of the
multi-sport games being held for the first time in South America, in
the Colombian city of Cali.
The World Games squash action - featuring 40 of the sport's leading
men and women athletes, representing 20 member nations - is taking
place at Club Canasgordas, which boasts six glass back courts
plus an all-glass show court.
Kobayashi, ranked 36 in the world, made her breakthrough with a
hard-fought 11-9, 4-11, 11-5, 8-11, 11-8 victory over Mexican Teran,
a former world No11 now ranked 25 in the world.
"I've played Samantha twice before this year and beaten her both
times - so this makes it three," said the beaming Tokyo-born
23-year-old. "I felt relaxed and had no pressure to win. I look
forward to playing Natalie, whom I have never played before."
Kobayashi's next opponent Natalie Grinham was runner-up in
the 2009 championship in Chinese Taipei and won a record three gold
medals in the 2006 Commonwealth Games. Now representing the
Netherlands, third seed Grinham beat Brazilian hope Thaisa
Serafini 11-3, 11-8, 11-5.
unlikely Kobayashi double looked on the cards when Misaki's younger
brother Ryosei Kobayashi, an unranked 19-year-old, took a 2/1
lead over 9/16 seed Christopher Gordon in the men's first
round. But the 27-year-old US champion dug deep to see off the
teenager 11-7, 8-11, 10-12, 11-8, 11-9.
But the effort clearly took its toll as world No45 Gordon then went
down 11-8, 11-5, 11-8 to England's No2 seed Peter Barker in
the second round.
Barker will be the sole English men's quarter-finalist after
compatriot Tom Richards became the only second round seeding
casualty. Lacking match practice after a four-month layoff with a
serious hamstring injury, fifth seed Richards was unable to hold off
Frenchman Mathieu Castagnet, going down 11-6, 10-12, 13-11,
12-10 to the 9/16 seed from Aix-en-Provence.
"Just to release his anger and frustration, Tom flung his racket
onto the ground," reported event spokesman Major Maniam. "It
was a match he so much wanted to win."
But there was unexpected English success in the women's event when
9/16 seed Emma Beddoes beat Donna Urquhart, the sixth
seed from Australia, in a surprise straight games triumph.
"I've never played in this region before so did not know what to
expect," said world No33 Beddoes after her 11-7, 13-11, 11-7
victory. "I focused on stepping forward and controlling the T -
furthermore Donna was a little error-prone today!"
Beddoes will now face Low Wee Wern, the No2 seed from
Malaysia who received a walkover after the withdrawal of Pakistani
number one Maria Toor Pakay.
Indian hopes in the event ended when an out-of-sorts Joshana
Chinappa lost 11-6, 11-6, 11-3 to Australia's No5 seed
Rachael Grinham, runner-up in the 2005 championship.
felt like my head was going to explode," said Chinappa. "I've never
played in such conditions."
Australian Ryan Cuskelly had to dig deep to overcome former
US champion Julian Illingworth. The No8 seed from New South
Wales was 2/0 up and cruising - then Illingworth staged a mighty
fight-back to draw level. After a promising start in the decider,
Illingworth fell away leaving Cuskelly to secure an 11-3, 11-4,
9-11, 10-12, 11-2 win.
had two easy games and I thought I had it in the bag and took it
easy," explained New York-based Cuskelly later. "Julian came on
strong, and I lost my way. In the fifth I stepped up to the T and
took charge like I did in the first two games - and it paid off!"
The final match of the day was between home favourite Miguel
Angel Rodriguez and Indian Mahesh Mangaonkar. It was the
match every Colombian was waiting for - and world No19 Rodriguez,
the second highest-ranked South American of all-time, did not
"His athleticism amazed the audience," said Major Maniam after the
popular sixth seed's 11-9, 11-7, 11-4 victory. "Nothing should be
taken away from the young Mahesh who fought gallantly for two games
before he ran out of gas in the third against a supremely fit and
Nicol David & Gregory Gaultier Head World-Class World Games Draws
Malaysia's world number one Nicol David and
world No2 Frenchman Gregory Gaultier head world-class draws
in the Squash championships in the 2013 World Games in
Some 4500 athletes and officials from more than 100
countries will be competing in the 9th World Games from 25
July to 4 August (the squash event taking place from 2-4 August).
The multi-sport event is being held on the South American continent
for the first time in its 32-year history.
The Squash event will boast players from 19
countries, with Kuwait, Jamaica, Peru, Pakistan, Brazil, Guyana
and hosts Colombia being represented for the first time.
David, the defending women's World Games champion, is
aiming for a record third successive gold medal. The 29-year-old
from Penang, who has topped the world rankings since August 2006, is
expected to face second seed Low Wee Wern in an all-Malaysian
(Nicol David pictured with a devoted young fan
during the recent WSF Ambassador Programme visit to Venezuela)
In supporting the sport's latest appearance in the
event, Commonwealth Games Federation President and IOC
Member HRH Tunku Imran highlights the fact that Squash is "truly
a 'world game'."
"For me, squash is superbly placed to fill the brief
of the title of the event as it is truly a 'world game', with men's
and women's world champions from all five continents," said HRH
Tunku Imran, who is also Patron of the World Squash Federation.
"In addition to Commonwealth participation players
are coming from as far afield as Japan, a spread of European nations
and of course from across Pan America, which is very gratifying.
"The action on the all-glass showcourt in Cali will
definitely be athletic, intense and exciting to watch, demonstrating
squash as a true world class sport," Imran added.
Dutch champion Natalie Grinham will be aiming
to go one better than she did in the 2009 Games in Chinese Taipei,
where she finished as runner-up to David. The former Australian - a
record three-time gold medallist in the 2006 Commonwealth Games
- is the third seed in the women's event.
Former world number one Gaultier is making his debut
in the event. The 30-year-old from Aix-en-Provence, seeded to become
the first French winner of the men's title, is expected to face
English rival Peter Barker in the final.
Londoner Barker, ranked seven in the world, is also
making his World Games debut.