Australian veterans hungry for squash success
They have been the faces of Australian squash for two decades but David Palmer and Rachael Grinham come to the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games full of youthful exuberance.
Palmer, 41, hung up his racket as a professional squash player in 2011 and now coaches at Cornell University in New York, but has come back to the sport in the quest of more medals.
"Having the Commonwealth Games back in Australia is great motivation for me to come out of retirement," Palmer said.
"Squash is mainly played overseas, so it’s great to be able to play in front of family and friends again."
Palmer partnered with Grinham for victory in the mixed doubles at the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games, which was a breakthrough Games for Palmer, who also won men’s doubles gold.
He had previously come out of retirement for those Games, with a Commonwealth Games record of two silver and four bronze medals.
While the two champions are not renewing their mixed doubles partnership on the Gold Coast, they are excited by the prospect of further success.
Palmer, a two-time world champion who is competing at his sixth Commonwealth Games, partners Zac Alexander in the men’s doubles, with Grinham, at her fifth Games, joins forces with Australian No.1 Donna Urquhart in the women’s doubles.
Grinham, from Toowoomba in Queensland, is a seven-time Commonwealth Games medallist and will defend Australia's mixed doubles crown with new partner Cameron Pilley.
"We’ve been looking forward to this for a long time," said Grinham. "We’re not here to go through the motions. We believe we can win gold."
World championships aside, the Commonwealth Games is the biggest international event in which squash is played.
"Any opportunity to showcase squash is very important," Palmer said. "It’s been a big frustration over our careers that we haven’t had the chance to represent Australia at the Olympics.
"To hopefully open up the eyes of the International Olympic Committee and show them why squash should be in the Olympics is very exciting."
Competition begins at Oxenford Studios on Thursday 5 April.
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This article was produced by Games News Service.