NZ squash team has mixed Glasgow medal goal
The New Zealand squash team is hoping to create double trouble in Glasgow.
Although the country's leading women's singles exponent, Joelle King, will chase individual glory, the Kiwis' best chance of medals is likely to be in combinations.
Since the sport was included in the Commonwealth Games in 1998, New Zealand has won three gold medals - all in doubles events.
New Zealand will field six doubles teams in Glasgow - two each in the women's, men's and mixed competitions.
King, who won gold and silver in the women's and mixed doubles respectively at the previous Games in Delhi in 2010, will have a new partner in the women's event following the retirement of Jaclyn Hawkes. She'll team up with Amanda Landers-Murphy, one of three women's singles players along with Megan Craig.
Squash is a sport that has a strong Commonwealth field, meaning medals will be tough to come by in Glasgow.
King is ranked fourth in the world in singles but she is still behind Games rivals and the undisputed world No 1 Nicol David of Malaysia, and England's Alison Waters (sixth), Malaysia's Low Wee Wern (seventh), Hong Kong's Annie Au (ninth) and India's Dipika Pallikal (10th) will also be stern rivals.
''We've seen some top performances from her in a New Zealand shirt - when she puts that on her performances tend to lift 10 per cent,'' New Zealand assistant coach Dave Clarke said of the Cambridge star.
''Although Joelle has lost Jackie, she's gained Amanda, who has taken to doubles very well. Amanda is playing stronger than her ranking at the moment, in singles and doubles, and she has a couple of naturally suited attributes.''
Knight is New Zealand's leading men's singles player but, ranked 48th in the world, would be a real longshot for an individual medal.
Instead, he and King will be out to at least repeat their efforts in Delhi, when they fell in the mixed final to the Australian duo of Kasey Brown and Cameron Pilley.
The Kiwi team recently picked up a gold, three silver and a bronze medal in a pre-Games tournament in Malaysia.
Knight and Campbell Grayson, the team's No 1 men's doubles combination for Glasgow, won gold by beating team-mates Paul Coll and Lance Beddoes in the final.
King and Landers-Murphy and King and Knight won silver in their respective events and Coll and Landers-Murphy grabbed bronze in the mixed doubles.
AT A GLANCE
Best NZ gold medal hope: Joelle King and Martin Knight in the mixed doubles. They won silver in Delhi four years ago.
Best outside medal hope: King and Amanda Landers-Murphy in the women's doubles. Landers-Murphy has big shoes to fill after King teamed with Jaclyn Hawkes to win gold in 2010.
Venue: Scotstoun Sports Campus.
Schedule: July 24-August 3.
NZ medal history: New Zealand has won medals at every Commonwealth Games since squash was first included in 1998, claiming three gold, three silver and two bronze medals.
Did you know? Joelle King is a younger sister of one-test All Black Regan King, who played against Wales in 2002.
- Waikato Times