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Kiwis take squash gold in mixed doubles

04 August 2002

Kiwi's Leilani Rorani and Glen Wilson beat Malaysia in the mixed doubles squash final.

Leilani Rorani

Leilani Rorani performing earlier in the tournament

The New Zealanders beat Malaysia’s Nicol David and Ong Beng Hee in a one-sided final this morning.

Wilson smashed a forehand out of David’s reach to open the scoring and the New Zealanders extended their advantage to 3-0 in the first game. Rorani was in devastating form as the score rose rapidly to 11-4, but there was a short delay for a split ball and the Malaysians went on the offensive.

They climbed back to 14-9 and saved three game balls before losing the opener 15-11.

The second game was nip and tuck from the outset as David, who won the Finnish Open at the tender age of 17, and her Chingford-based team-mate upped their work rate.

The game was finely balanced at 3-3, but former world number 1 Rorani, returning from a five-month injury lay-off for a damaged Achilles tendon, and her London-based Maori club coach opened out a rapid-fire seven-point advantage to take the score to 10-3.

The Malaysian number 2 seeds were visibly jaded. They had only reached the final at 23:35 on 3 August by beating the English top seeds Chris Walker and Fiona Geaves in a marathon 15-14, 12-15, 15-14 match, which lasted 84 minutes.

Hamilton-based Rorani kept up the relentless pressure on her Penang-based opponents and the Kiwis moved to within sight of victory at 13-7.

At 14-9, Rorani returned a cross-court pass to David, but her return could only find the tin and the Kiwis had struck gold.

On winning the gold medal Rorani said: “We joked about it and said, ‘wouldn’t it be cool to win a gold medal together?’ And today’s the day. It’s so awesome.”

And on coming back after serious injury: “A couple of months ago I was talking to Neville and telling him that I didn’t think I was any good coming over here for the Commonwealth Games. It was hard when I got back into playing because I kept making a lot of errors. It’s hard when you are playing in a doubles combination and you feel like you’re letting down your partner. I really didn’t want to come over, but the team was just awesome.”

Ong and David earned the silver medal for Malaysia.

Info News Service/ndp/pjt

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