Wednesday, September 16, 1998

Commonwealth Games

Quest for first ever squash gold hots up

IT IS the first ever gold for squash in the Commonwealth Games. And there is no mistaking the eagerness in the players who have the chance to wear it round their necks.

Australians Sarah Fitz-Gerald, Michelle Martin, Canadian Jonathon Power and Scottish Peter Nicol all want to make it a first for their country.

While Australia are certain of the women's gold, Nicol, the world number one, is looking to quash world number three, Power.

Nicol's record against Power has not been impressive thus far. He has lost six consecutive times to Power. But he is not about to let it happen for the seventh time.

"I am ready for him. And I can't wait to win the gold for Scotland," said Nicol who lost 0-3 to Power in the Hong Kong Open two weeks ago. "It will be a great match. I saw him play just now and he was playing very well."

In yesterday's semi-final match, Nicol beat Paul Johnson of England 9-2, 9-3, 9-1 while Power disposed of Alex Gough of Wales 9-4, 9-2, 9-4.

Power expects the pace to be faster and the rallies longer in today's final match. "I just hope I can play my usual game," said Power.

In the women's singles, top seed Fitz-Gerald faces here toughest challenge against archrival Michelle Martin, to whom she lost in the Singapore Open and Australian Open final.

Both have met five times this year and the record of 4-1 favours Martin.

In yesterday's semi-finals, Martin beat Sue Wright of England 9-7, 9-1, 9-2 while Fitz-Gerald bundled out another Englishwoman Cassie Jackman 9-2, 9-0, 9-2.

Copyright 1998 Star Publications (M) Bhd (No: 10894-D). All rights reserved