Sport Focus: Squash Medal Double 1998

May 10, 2019

Scotland have won two medals in Commonwealth Games Squash to date and both came as the sport made its Games debut at Kuala Lumpur 1998. Four men and two women took to the court for Scotland at these first Games: Peter Nicol, Stuart Cowie, Martin Heath, David Heath, Claire Waddell and Senga Macfie.

In the Men’s Singles, Peter Nicol comfortably beat Graham Ryding of Canada, followed by England’s Mark Chaloner and Mark Johnson in the quarter- and semi-finals respectively to set up an intriguingĀ  final against long-time rival, Canada’s Jonathan Power. The final did not disappoint, proving to be a thrilling five game epic. It was Power who scored first blood, taking the opening game 9-2, before Nicol hit back to win the next two games. Power took the fourth to level the score but Nicol prevailed in the fifth, taking it 9-2 to become the first ever Commonwealth Games Men’s Singles champion.

Following Nicol’s Singles triumph, he partnered Stuart Cowie to bronze in the Men’s Doubles, losing only to eventual winners England, for Scotland’s second Squash medal of the Games. It was another victory over Canada and Jonathan Power as the Scots dominated their quarter-final match 15-3, 15-7 over Power and his partner Graham Ryding. The Scottish pairing pushed the English duo of Johnson and Chaloner close in the semi-finals but could not quite find enough to make the gold medal match and had to settle for bronze.

Nicol went on to win a further three gold and one silver at the Commonwealth Games for England, including Singles gold at Melbourne 2006, after switching allegiance before the Manchester 2002 Games.

While gold and bronze from Kuala Lumpur 1998 remain Scotland’s only Commonwealth Games medals to date, they have not been far from the podium in subsequent Games. With three agonisingly close 4th place finishes in Men’s Doubles at the last three outings, Scotland will be looking to Birmingham 2022 to put Scottish Squash back on the podium at the Commonwealth Games.

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