Will­strop re­lieved at dou­bling up to earn bronze

Yorkshire Post - Sports Monday - - COMMONWEALTH GAMES - PAUL EDDISON

JAMES WILL­STROP did his best Steve Red­grave im­pres­sion af­ter fin­ish­ing his Com­mon­wealth Games with bronze in the men’s squash dou­bles.

The 34-year-old who fi­nally won his first Com­mon­wealth gold in the sin­gles ear­lier in the week added bronze to his col­lec­tion along­side De­clan James – be­fore ask­ing to be shot if he was ever spot­ted on a dou­bles court again.

That line, made fa­mous by Red­grave at Atlanta in 1996 af­ter he had won his fourth Olympic gold, was an in­di­ca­tion of just how much the last two days have taken out of Will­strop as he and James bounced back from heart­break­ing semi-fi­nal de­feat to see off Scot­tish pair Alan Clyne and Greg Lob­ban 11-9, 11-9.

Pon­te­fract’s Will­strop joked: “If any­one finds me on a dou­bles court again, shoot me. The emo­tions have been ridicu­lous this week. It’s an in­cred­i­bly in­tense game, it’s a brain ache. I’m so pleased to win bronze and it’s a huge ac­com­plish­ment for De­clan and I.

“We were in a stink­ing mood yes­ter­day. They count for so much these Com­mon­wealth medals. Ev­ery­one com­ing into the vil­lage, when you hear the medal clunk­ing away it’s a huge thing and peo­ple ap­plaud it.

“Com­ing off los­ing, you’re just miles away from think­ing about that. It’s just in­cred­i­ble how you have to turn your­self around and try and take the op­por­tu­nity if you can.

“You haven’t got long to be in a horrible stink­ing mood.

“You have to re­alise the per­spec­tive of it. We’re alive and all right and it’s not the end of the world.

“You wake up in the morn­ing and have an­other go. We put ev­ery­thing out there and it worked.”

At 34 these will al­most cer­tainly be Will­strop’s last Com­mon­wealth Games, and he plans to take some rest, ad­mit­ting his chances of mak­ing it to Birm­ing­ham 2022 are slim at best.

He added: “I can’t take any­thing for granted. All I know is that I would like to play squash for a bit if I can.

“I’m not say­ing that I won’t go for it and try, but it’s go­ing to be an aw­ful long shot. Squash play­ers don’t play un­til 38 years old very of­ten.”

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