Willstrop relieved at doubling up to earn bronze

James Willstrop.
James Willstrop.
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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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