Nicol David Finally Wins Commonwealth Games Gold

At her fourth attempt, after competing in Squash’s maiden appearance in the Commonwealth Games in her home country in 1998 when just 15, Malaysia’s world number one Nicol David finally claimed gold when she beat England’s Jenny Duncalf, the world No2, in a convincing straight games victory in today’s women’s final at the Siri Fort Complex in Delhi.

David, who picked up a record-equalling fifth world title only two weeks ago and this month celebrated her 54th month as world No1, traded points with her WISPA Tour rival in the early exchanges – but, from three-all, the event favourite won eight points in a row to take the opening game.

After taking the second for five points, the Malaysian had to handle a late surge by Duncalf as the 27-year-old from Harrogate in Yorkshire battled to stay in the game.

10CG19616.jpgBut, after some inspiring rallies from both players, Nicol served for the match for the first time only to win the point on a stroke – thus giving the long-awaited gold medal to the Malaysian superstar for the first time.

The packed crowd screamed and whistled as Nicol David did a ‘lap of honour’ around the spectacular all-glass showcourt with the Malaysian flag draped around her shoulders.

“I’m so excited right now – it’s just so wonderful,” said the jubilant David after her 11-3, 11-5, 11-7 triumph.

“Jenny didn’t play her best today – but I had to take my opportunities.

“At match ball I just knew that I had to be ready to play the longest rally I’ve ever played. It wasn’t the best way to finish – but it meant winning gold! I was just on another planet.”

Was there a sense of relief in her win? “Yes – but at the same time I knew I had a great week, coming in from my success at the worlds – I had to be true to my game.”

And did she feel under pressure? “There will always be that, whatever I do – I feel I always have to win and in my mind I want to go for it.

10CG11766.jpg“A Commonwealth Games gold medal is one of my highest achievements so far. The fact that it’s in a multi-sport event, which means so much for Malaysia, makes it even more important for me,” concluded the 27-year-old from Penang.

Duncalf admitted to mixed feelings about the outcome: “It’s a strange feeling – you come into a final hoping to win. But at the same time, winning a silver medal is one of my highest achievements. To get a silver medal is truly precious.

“I don’t think Nicol did a lot wrong – she didn’t really give me a look in. All credit to her – she’s a deserved winner.”

The third-place play-off match did not take place after England’s third seed Alison Waters was forced to withdraw following an Achilles injury sustained in the semi-final against Duncalf – giving the bronze medal to Australia’s sixth seedKasey Brown.

“I’m pretty gutted,” said 26-year-old Londoner, who learned that she moved to a career-high world No3 in the women’s rankings today. “I had a scan today and have a slight tear on the Achilles tendon in my left leg. I’ll be out for a couple of weeks so I’m pretty disappointed.

“Having not lost to Kasey, I’d have felt confident against her – but she’s playing well at the moment. And in the doubles I had chances of medals in both events.

“But we’ve got strength in the team – we’ll still be pushing for medals.

“I’ll be staying here till the end – I’ll be their No1 supporter!

“And at least I’ve had some good news today by going to No3 in the world rankings,” added Waters.

Women’s final:
[1] Nicol David (MAS) bt [2] Jenny Duncalf (ENG) 11-3, 11-5, 11-7 (40m)

Bronze medal play-off:
[6] Kasey Brown (AUS) bt [3] Alison Waters (ENG) w/o

For more info, visit the WSF’s dedicated Commonwealth Games site