September 19 , 1998 23:24PM


By Zabidi Osman/Zaiful Mohd Ariffin

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 19 (Bernama) -- After winning the women's singles gold in the 16th Commonwealth Games squash competition, Australia now have the opportunity to grab the three gold medals at stake in tomorrow's doubles finals.

Ironically, three Australian pairs qualified for the men's, women's and mixed doubles finals and all their opponents are from the England. Michelle Martin who won the women's singles gold medal has a chance to grab her second gold when she partnered Craig Rowland to qualify for the mixed doubles final.

The pair defeated South Africa's Rodney Durbach/Natalie Grainger 15-9, 15-11 in the semifinal today. Australia's Rodney Eyles/Byron Davis had earlier shocked world champions and top seeds Chris Walker/Mark Cairns 4-15, 15-12, 15-10 to qualify for the men's doubles final.

Eyles who had crashed out in the men's singles competition said he was looking forward to bag Australia's second gold medal in the squash competition Martin's effort in the women's singles.

"There is only one more hurdle for us to grab the gold and we are going to take it," he said. Eyles/Davis will meet fourth seeds Paul Johnson/Mark Chaloner of England in the men's doubles final.

In the women's doubles, Robyn Cooper and Rachael Grinham of Australia qualified for the final after outplaying South Africa's Claire Nitch and Natalie Grainger 15-7, 15-9 in the semifinal.

The joint fifth seeds will meet second seeds Sue Wright and Cassie Jackman oF England. Cooper and Grinham created a major upset when they ousted top seeds and world champions Philippa Beams/Leilani Joyce of New Zealand 17-15, 15-17, 15-13 in yesterday's quarterfinals.

England's Wright/Jackman booked their ticket in the final after they edged third seeds Sarah Fitz-Gerald/Carol Owens of Australia 13-15, 17-14, 15-5 in the other semifinal today.-- BERNAMA

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