Commonwealth Games: Harrogate’s James Willstrop strikes gold

James Willstrop is celebrating winning a gold medal at the 2018 Commonwealth Games. Picture: Squashpics.com
James Willstrop is celebrating winning a gold medal at the 2018 Commonwealth Games. Picture: Squashpics.com

Harrogate’s James Willstrop struck gold for England at the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

The 34-year-old beat New Zealand’s Paul Coll in straight sets to take the squash men’s singles crown on Australia’s Gold Coast on Monday morning.

The victory ends a long wait for a gold medal and a major title with Willstrop having previously lost in two Commonwealth, three British and one World Championship finals.

“Things came off, shots went in - it just came together,” said Willstrop of his 11-9, 11-4, 11-6 success.

“I had to be clinical. He’s so good, such an unbelievable athlete. You have to keep faith in the accuracy and keep mixing things. I mixed it well and things just worked.

“I’m not sure what’s going on, I can’t really believe it!”

Willstrop, a former world number one, already had four Commonwealth medals to his name, including a silver at the 2014 Games in Glasgow.

Reflecting on his gold-medal performance, he said that he believed he had saved one of his best-ever performances for one of the biggest games of his career.

“It was the stuff you dream of - most brilliant performances in my career, everything works and clicks,” he continued.

“That’s happened today. That is one of the best performances.

“There was no expectation. Everything in the lead-up has to go well and it just did.

“No illnesses for once, it went smoothly, so I knew it was there.”