Eight Squash stars are the latest Team Members who are bound for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, headlined by the six-time Commonwealth Games representative Rachael Grinham.
A legendary squash player leads an outstanding Australian squad heading to the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games in pursuit of more golden glory for their nation.
Former world No. 1 Rachael Grinham will create history when she represents Australia for the sixth time at the Games, adding another flourish to her remarkable resume.
Grinham and the US-based Cameron Pilley, who is aiming to win a gold medal at four consecutive Commonwealth Games, bring vast international experience to the squash team.
But an influx of fresh faces including 20-year-old Alexandra Haydon is certain to add excitement and enthusiasm to the eight-member squad competing in Birmingham.
Toowoomba-based Grinham, who debuted at the Kuala Lumpur 1998 Commonwealth Games, can count two golds among the eight medals she has claimed across her illustrious Games career.
She will partner Donna Lobban, a gold medallist at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games in the mixed doubles with her cousin Pilley, and Zac Alexander in the doubles events at the tournament.
The 45-year-old squash superstar is delighted to be setting a new mark for Australia in the Commonwealth Games and looking forward to the opportunities presented in the doubles events.
“Any chance to represent your country on an international stage is an absolute privilege and honour in itself, and as Australian squash players, the Commonwealth Games is the pinnacle event for our sport,” Grinham said.
“To be able to compete for a sixth time is something I never dreamt would be possible, so I’m really excited to be here again.”
Alexander is the defending champion in the men’s doubles after a stunning success on the Gold Coast four years ago and is considered one of the best doubles squash players in the world.
He will partner the US-based Ryan Cuskelly, who won a bronze medal at the Delhi 2010 Commonwealth Games and has ranked as high as No. 12 in the world in singles.
Alexander said he has never felt more confident in the strength of an Australian squad, with the blend of experience and emerging talent in this one.
“It’ll be a great team experience this time around,” he said.
“We have a good mix of youth and veteran players who all back each other and support each other, which we’ll need at Birmingham as the pressure mounts.
“Ryan and I had the chance to compete together recently in Glasgow, and considering our limited preparation on the wide court we did a good job of finding what works and what we need to improve on.”
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Haydon joins Jess Turnbull, 26, and Rhys Dowling, 27, as the three newcomers in the Australian squad, all excited by the prospect of debuting in Birmingham.
The opportunity to play alongside players who have enjoyed significant success on the international stage is just one of the experiences the trio are looking forward to.
Haydon, who moved from South Australia to the Gold Coast after finishing school, will partner Turnbull in the women’s doubles, with Turnbull also playing in the singles.
Turnbull, who is coached by her brother Nathan Turnbull and plays at the Sandgate Squash in Brisbane, has relished the opportunity to compete abroad this year.
Dowling, who is from Darwin, NT but is now based in Queensland, is making his Games debut at Birmingham. He has had a successful year which includes eye-catching success in the men’s and mixed doubles at the Australian Open Doubles in January.
Dowling will partner Pilley in the men’s doubles and will also compete in the singles at Birmingham.
Commonwealth Games Australia Team Chef de Mission Petria Thomas OAM welcomes the latest additions to the Australian Team and knows they will be giving it their all at the Games.
“Congratulations to the eight Squash Australia stars who have been selected to represent Australia at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games,” Thomas said.
“A special shout out to Rachael Grinham who becomes just one of two Australian female Team Members and the seventh Australian Team Member ever to represent Australia at six Commonwealth Games… this is a tremendous achievement and a result of her dedication and drive as an athlete, and I know she will be a valuable resource for her fellow Team Members to learn from.
“I wish Zac, Ryan, Rhys, Rachael, Alex, Donna, Cameron and Jessica all the best for the rest of their preparations, and I can’t wait to see them be bold, brave and brilliant in Birmingham.”
Squash Australia Chief Executive Officer Robert Donaghue said the sport has an incredible Commonwealth Games history and feels confident that this team will continue to shine on the world stage.
“With Rachael creating history as a six-time Commonwealth Games representative, alongside Donna, Cameron and Ryan competing at their fourth Games, this team has a wealth of experience and Commonwealth Games success that they can share with our debutants,” he said.
“We look forward to seeing all eight players in action in Birmingham, continuing Squash Australia’s proud Commonwealth Games history.”
Australian Squash Team – Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games:
|Rachael Grinham||Women’s Singles, Women’s Doubles, Mixed Doubles||45||6th Games (1998 - Silver: Women's Doubles; 2002: Bronze: Women's Singles & Women's Doubles; 2006 - Gold: Women's Doubles, Silver: Women's Singles, Bronze: Mixed Doubles; 2014 - Gold: Mixed Doubles, 4th: Women's Doubles, R16: Women's Singles; 2018 - Bronze: Women's Doubles, Quarterfinals: Mixed Doubles)||Everton Park||QLD||4053|
|Alex Haydon||Women’s Doubles||20||Debut||Cumberland Park||SA||5041|
|Donna Lobban||Women’s Singles, Women’s Doubles, Mixed Doubles||35||4th Games (2010 - Bronze: Women's Doubles, 4th: Mixed Doubles, R16: Women's Singles; 2014 - Round Robin; Women's Doubles; 2018 - Gold: Mixed Doubles, Bronze: Women's Doubles, Quarterfinals: Women's Singles)||Yamba||NSW||2464|
|Jessica Turnbull||Women’s Singles, Women’s Doubles||26||Debut||Bald Hills||QLD||4036|
|Zac Alexander||Men’s Doubles, Mixed Doubles||33||2nd Games (2018 - Gold: Men's Doubles)||Carseldine||QLD||4034|
|Ryan Cuskelly||Men’s Doubles||34||4th Games (2010 - Bronze: Men's Doubles, R16: Men's Singles; 2014 - Quarterfinals: Men's Doubles, R16: Men's Singles; 2018 - Quarterfinals: Men's Doubles & Mixed Doubles, R16: Men's Singles)||Evans Head||NSW||2473|
|Rhys Dowling||Men’s Singles, Men’s Doubles||27||Debut||Nightcliff||NT||0810|
|Cameron Pilley||Men’s Doubles, Mixed Doubles||39||4th Games (2010 - Gold: Mixed Doubles, Bronze: Men's Doubles, Quarterfinals: Men's Singles; 2014 - Gold: Men's Doubles, Bronze: Mixed Doubles, Quarterfinals: Men's Singles; 2018 - Gold: Mixed Doubles, Quarterfinals: Men's Doubles & Men's Singles)||Yamba||NSW||2464|
With rapid racket-work and sharp shifting around the court, squash is a breathtaking spectacle of frenetic action and fast-thinking. Squash is played by two players (singles) or two teams of two players (doubles) – each using a racquet – with a ball and in a rectangular court. The Commonwealth Games is one of the few international squash events that includes doubles play, with men’s, women’s and mixed doubles.
Australia is the most successful squash nation at the Commonwealth Games, with 11 gold medals.
Rachael Grinham is set to extend her record as the most successful squash player at the Commonwealth Games, having won eight medals, including two gold at five previous appearances.
In Birmingham, the 45-year-old will appear at her sixth Commonwealth Games, becoming the first Australian female squash athlete to achieve the feat, equalling the record of fellow Australian David Palmer OAM and Malaysia’s Nicol David.
Commonwealth Games squash medals summary by nation: