Golden girl Gina Kennedy admitted it was difficult to finish a memorable Commonwealth Games with a defeat after crashing out of the women’s squash doubles in Birmingham.
The 25-year-old Bromley native was joined by Lucy Turmel for their quarter-final clash, just days after she became the first Englishwoman to win women’s singles gold.
But the burgeoning pairing found the going tough against New Zealand’s Joelle King and Amanda Landers-Murphy, the defending Commonwealth champions from Gold Coast 2018.
England’s duo ultimately lost in two games (11-8, 11-6) as Kennedy’s Games came to a close and squash’s answer to tennis star Emma Raducanu said it was not the way she wanted to bow out.
“It’s obviously a shame. I think no matter what has happened in the singles, you remember the most recent event so we’re leaving the Commonwealth Games having lost,” she said.
“We were quite confident going into that match. I know were were playing the reigning champions but we feel like we’ve been working together quite well recently.
“I mean they were good tonight, I don’t think we did that much wrong. If you think about it in a singles perspective, we train years and years to prepare for an event.
“And these girls have been playing doubles together for like 12 years and we have shown up playing singles and go straight into doubles without having any preparation.
“You would never go into a singles match without training for singles for a month so when you think about it like that, when you are playing experienced pairs who have all that wealth of experience and we are going off something like a month it’s hard.”
This summer, Team England, supported by funding raised by National Lottery players, comprises of over 400 athletes, all vying for medal success.
Kennedy trains at the same club frequented by tennis star Raducanu and has experienced her own meteoric rise over the past year, underlined by a stunning Commonwealth gold.
But her doubles campaigns did not go to plan, losing in the round of 16 with mixed partner Patrick Rooney before also suffering defeat in her quarter-final with Ipswich’s Turmel.
“I do think with experience, that’s the main important factor in doubles,” said Kennedy. “Just knowing what to do in between rallies and everything else that comes with it.
“It’s easier when you’re winning to enjoy it and I think the future is good (for this pair). We’re quite young so in four years, eight years we’’ll have that experience that these girls have.
“We’ll be able to get into the later stages of these big events. The Commonwealth Games is the only place you play doubles really, throughout the year there’s only one a year or so.”
Turmel was also beaten by King in the women’s singles, going out at the quarter-final stage, and said the partnership is still learning with every match after only coming together recently.
“We didn’t really attack too much,” she said. “We didn’t give ourselves chances but I feel like they played well and I don’t think we’re going to regret anything or be too down on ourselves.
“We’re a new pair and we’re still learning. They played well and we just didn’t get into it. When we’ve been training, we’ve played two days full of doubles.
“At the end of the second day we’re in our stride whereas we haven’t really got into it yet but we’ve played one match and our full focus was on the singles.”
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