World No 2 Paul Coll duly delivered the men’s squash singles gold medal, but he was pushed right to his limit in the final by plucky Welshman Joel Makin.

Coll, the top seed in the men’s singles, took 100 minutes to quell Makin’s robust challenge, but finally won 3-11, 11-9, 8-11, 11-8, 11-7.

The squash was of a very high standard and both men showed superb fitness. There were times when Makin seemed on the verge of an upset, but to his credit Coll remained calm under intense pressure and his accuracy in the fifth game was just enough to get him home. 

Coll was the singles silver medallist four years ago on the Gold Coast, which made his gold medal effort in Birmingham that much sweeter.

“It was a massive battle,” Coll said afterwards. “”I was struggling to concentrate from start to finish, but I was proud of how I turned it on in the fourth and fifth, when it really counted, and how I came back from 2-1 down.” 

He said he was prepared to play a long match. “We know what each other bring to the table. I thought it might go 80 or even 100 minutes. Joel is a great competitor and he played incredibly well. It’s always a battle with him.”

Coll said he felt he might have played more shots, but his footwork was sometimes not quite right. “In the end it’s a final and that’s all about winning. I’m proud I found a way to win and get the gold. I couldn’t be happier.”

Joelle King had three match points but was just unable to secure the bronze medal in the women’s singles.

King, top-seeded in the singles, was beaten by Englishwoman Sarah-Jane Perry 6-11, 9-11, 11-8, 11-6, 14-12 in 65 minutes. 

Ironically the King-Perry match-up was widely expected to be the singles final, but both lost in the semi-final.

The third place play-off was an absorbing match, but King will be wondering how she squandered a lead of two games and 7-3, let alone the match points in the fifth game. 

The New Zealander, who is competing in her fourth Commonwealth Games, has had a tumultuous week – she led New Zealand into the stadium in the opening ceremony, had an emotionally sapping 90-minute victory over Englishwoman Lucy Termel, was stunned in the semi-finals by Holly Naughton of Canada, and then had the topsy-turvy match with Perry.

All that, with the doubles and mixed doubles all in front of her.

Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games
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