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Golden lady Gina Kennedy hopes to encourage a brand new era of females to take up squash

South London’s squash Lioness thanks Bexley coach Ben Ford for her success
By ROD GILMOUR (Squash Mad Correspondent in Birmingham)

Gina Kennedy’s worth for successful a monumental Commonwealth singles’ gold, the primary by an Englishwoman, is to play three matches within the doubles competitions in the present day.

The calls for for her consideration off courtroom within the following weeks and months will hopefully comply with go well with. For this victory over Canada’s Hollie Naughton must be recognised and packaged to offer a significant spur for the English recreation.

Gina is cherished all through Kent and south east London, and, after this superb triumph, she shall be a poster lady for England Squash (together with Lucy Turmel, who got here so near an astonishing victory over prime seed Joelle King within the quarter-finals).

Kennedy has already been awarded a lifetime membership of the Park Langley membership in Beckenham, alongside US Open tennis champion Emma Raducanu.

And Kennedy now has a significant world triumph of her personal to sit down alongside that of the tennis celebrity.

Gina’s triumph follows the great Wembley win by England over Germany in Sunday’s European Ladies’s Soccer Championship.

Gina, a eager soccer fan herself, is now our very personal Lioness of Squash.

Though a member at Park Langley, the foundations of her victory have been honed a number of miles throughout London on the Bexley Tennis and Squash Membership, the place she trains with coach Ben Ford.

The second of triumph as Gina Kennedy beats Hollie Naughton within the ultimate

Bexley and England Squash officers could be clever to lock heads and begin spreading the game’s personal ‘Kennedy impact’ (sure, the Raducanu comparability, she stated, could possibly be uttered now that she had received a significant title).

Not that the Bexley membership wants the eye. It supposedly has the largest squash membership (400 and rising) within the nation, which is nice going for a five-court membership. An additional courtroom is the membership’s dream. After Kennedy’s breakthrough win right here in Birmingham, they might but get their want.

Kennedy, 25, had performed so ruthlessly that she spent lower than an hour on courtroom in her three matches previous to final evening’s ultimate.

Solely time will inform whether or not there shall be queues equally as lengthy to fulfill England’s newest star, ought to Bexley be inundated with requests to play the sport.

“Ben Ford is the explanation I’m right here in the present day,” Kennedy stated after beating Naughton 3-1 over 56 minutes of nailbiting drama. “The quantity he has sacrificed for me I can’t clarify. He’s household to me. I genuinely owe all the pieces to him.

“I’m hoping mother and father will encourage their youngsters to take squash up now. It’s so bodily, a no brainer. Bexley and Ben Ford? I’d suggest it.”

Gina receives her gold medal, flanked by runner-up Hollie Naughton and bronze medal winner Sarah-Jane Perry

Ford was within the crowd for the primary time for the ultimate, ringing her cost of 15 years an hour earlier than showtime on the glass courtroom arrange within the sports activities corridor.

His pupil, who may even now ask for an extension for her dissertation in well being psychology at Nottingham College, carried out brilliantly to take a two-game lead with methodical, workmanlike ability, earlier than a third-game “walkabout” after which a commanding fourth to grasp her dream.

“I’m used to taking part in fighters this week. You may’t let up in any respect,” she stated. “I went on a walkabout within the third. It’s about who can play these large factors barely higher and I managed it.”

She had additionally needed to point out one other aspect to her armoury within the final two matches. “My B recreation is that I can retrieve and keep within the rally, however this event I’ve needed to point out folks I can play squash. I wish to be the proactive one.”

That she did when she fizzed a fantastic thing about cross-court forehand to land the second recreation. She went “a bit iffy” in that third, however with Nick Matthew in her nook, there was no let-up.

Gina Kennedy grabs an England flag to have fun after successful the ultimate

“Ben hasn’t been in that scenario so there are some issues he can’t assist me with,” she stated. “However there are such a lot of English legends right here you can relate to them on a special stage.

“The England staff is famend for its energy and to be the primary Englshwoman to win amongst the calibre of participant now we have .. I may finish my profession in the present day.”

Fortunately that received’t occur. However Kennedy will now need to get used to the broader duties that accompany vital success.

England Squash couldn’t have a finer, extra likeable position mannequin to assist encourage extra women to take up the sport.

Because of the efforts of Kennedy and Naughton within the semi-finals, prime seeds King and Sarah-Jane Perry met within the bronze medal play-off. And that added to England’s medal haul with Perry triumphing 14-12 within the fifth.

A brand new period beckons for ladies’s squash. And Kennedy is the flag-bearer.

Photos courtesy of England Squash 




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