SO the Commonwealth Games are over and I can safely say it was one of the most memorable experiences of my career.
To be part of Team England who finished top of the medal charts for the first time since 1986, knowing I had played my part, is right up there with my other achievements in squash.
I have been lucky to have enjoyed the full Commonwealth Games experience – from carrying the baton, filming the opening credits for the BBC, taking part in the opening ceremony and competing and winning medals.
I said in my first column that my aim was to go to Glasgow and try and win two medals and that is what I achieved.
Of course, it would have been great if I had won a gold medal but I am very proud of the two silvers I won. People may think it was a bit a shock missing out on doubles gold considering me and my partner, Jenny Duncalf, were the number one seeds. The truth is that we hardly played together and in all the practise matches we played against the other England pair – Alison Waters and Emma Beddoes – we nearly always lost! So to beat them in the semi final and play so well is something I am very proud of.
In the final, the Indian pair, Joshana Chinappa and Dipika Pallikal, were too good for us on the day. They were very attacking and used the height of the tin and the space of the court really well.
That evening, we got to go on Tonight At The Games hosted by Clare Balding and Mark Chapman which was a great way to round things off. We got to chill out in the green room before the show where they laid on cakes and crisps and other goodies we haven’t been allowed to touch for months – so naturally we took advantage of that!
We should have been on the couch but got shifted by the England 4 x 400m who had just won gold. But we got to have a cocktail at the bar where we were interviewed by Chappers so it wasn’t all bad!
I said in an earlier column that the Commonwealth Games is our Olympics, our only chance to take part in and experience a multi-sport event and it has been absolutely brilliant, a real adventure. It was everything I hoped it would be and more – and the people of Scotland, and Glasgow in particular, deserve a lot of credit because they made the Games. They embraced the Games, accepted us and cheered us on. From the spectators to the police and the Clyde-siders, they have all been brilliant and a credit to the country. One of the slogans of the Games was People Make Glasgow and that summed it up perfectly.
I GOT the chance to turn my hand to a bit of media work on the last day and while it cost me the chance to go to the closing ceremony, it was something I really enjoyed. I was co-commentator on BBC 5 Live in the men’s gold medal final which was the last event of the Games. It was superb game which unfortunately the England boys lost but it went on so long we missed going to the closing ceremony.
So I decided to make a snap decision and get the last train home –you have never seen someone pack so quickly! The Games have been brilliant but it has been a long couple of weeks. It was my husband Danny’s 40th birthday so it was nice to get home to celebrate it with him – and show off my medals!