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James Willstrop picks up squash bronze Down Under

PUBLISHED: 14:29 15 April 2018 | UPDATED: 14:29 15 April 2018

James Willstrop will bring gold and bronze back from the Commonwealth Games in Australia. Picture: PA

James Willstrop will bring gold and bronze back from the Commonwealth Games in Australia. Picture: PA

PA Archive/PA Images

James Willstrop did his best Steve Redgrave impression after finishing his Commonwealth Games with bronze in the men’s squash doubles.

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The 34-year-old from North Walsham – who finally won his first Commonwealth gold in the singles last week – added bronze to his collection alongside Declan James... before asking to be shot if he was ever spotted on a doubles court again.

That line, made famous by Redgrave at Atlanta in 1996 after he had won his fourth Olympic gold, was an indication of just how much the last two days have taken out of Willstrop as he and James bounced back from heartbreaking semi-final defeat to see off Scottish pair Alan Clyne and Greg Lobban 11-9, 11-9.

Willstrop joked: “If anyone finds me on a doubles court again, shoot me. The emotions have been ridiculous this week. It’s an incredibly intense game, it’s a brain ache. I’m so pleased to win bronze and it’s a huge accomplishment for Declan and I.

“We were in a stinking mood yesterday. They count for so much these Commonwealth medals. Everyone coming into the village, when you hear the medal clunking away it’s a huge thing and people applaud it.

“Coming off losing, you’re just miles away from thinking about that. It’s just incredible how you have to turn yourself around and try and take the opportunity if you can.

“You haven’t got long to be in a horrible stinking mood. You have to realise the perspective of it. We’re alive and all right and it’s not the end of the world.

“You wake up in the morning and have another go. We put everything out there and it worked.”

At 34 these will almost certainly be Willstrop’s last Commonwealth Games, and he plans to take some rest, admitting his chances of making it to Birmingham 2022 are slim at best.

He added: “I can’t take anything for granted. All I know is that I would like to play squash for a bit if I can. I have to take it month by month, you cannot know what your body is going to do next but I’m just so thrilled that I’ve got it to a point where it can get through two weeks of this. I’d have never dreamed of that four years ago.

“I’m not saying that I won’t go for it and try, but it’s going to be an awful long shot. Squash players don’t play until 38 years old very often.”

npower is the Official Partner of Team England and is giving our athletes the power of support by recording a brand new version of their anthem, Jerusalem. To listen to the track visit npower.com/teamengland

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