Rachael Grinham and David Palmer receiving their uniforms at Trinity Lutheran College on Tuesday. Picture: Richard Gosling
Rachael Grinham and David Palmer receiving their uniforms at Trinity Lutheran College on Tuesday. Picture: Richard Gosling

Age no barrier for Aussie squash veterans

DAVID Palmer and Rachael Grinham could be forgiven for losing their competitive edge.

Twenty years on from their Commonwealth Games debuts in Kuala Lumpur, the former world no. 1s are preparing to go around again - most likely for the final time - at the looming Gold Coast event.

Boasting two gold, two silver and three bronze, US-based Palmer has come out of retirement for his sixth-straight Games, where he will partner Zac Alexander for a shot at the men's doubles crown he won in Glasgow.

Grinham, who joined forces with Palmer to snatch the mixed doubles title in 2014, will team up with Donna Urquhart (women's doubles) and Ryan Cuskelly (mixed doubles) at her fifth Games.

While Palmer and Grinham will be among the oldest competitors in the squash competition, the 41-year-olds are more than ready to show their younger rivals how it's done.

"I'm not just coming back to make up the numbers here, I still feel like I have a really good chance," Palmer, originally from NSW, said.

"This is a big thing for squash players. Doubles (success) is on combination and I think partnering with Zak … if we can get through our pool matches, there isn't really any pairing we wouldn't be confident of doing well against. The men's draw is really wide open.

"I coach a lot these days - I coach all the pro players and I work at Cornell University so I'm really heavily involved with the college game in America - so I've had a lot of frustration this last 12 months. I'm really desperate to get out there and play again.

"I want to compete for myself - it's one of the main reasons I wanted to try out again and I'm really happy I could make the team again and I'm really looking forward to the challenge of winning another medal at my sixth Commonwealth Games."

 

David Palmer at the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne.
David Palmer at the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne.

 

Palmer and Grinham shared their greatest Games moment together when they claimed mixed doubles gold in Glasgow.

After missing the 2010 Delhi Games through a feud with Squash Australia, Toowoomba-born Grinham said she was now treating every match as her last.

"I'm feeling excited. Obviously being a home Games, this is different from others. I feel like each year they get better and better," she said.

"The first Games you play you're really, really excited and this is my fifth Games and it's still exciting.

"(A gold medal) is why we're here, we wouldn't come just to go through the motions again. We believe we can still win medals for Australia.

"In doubles in particular, it's really close between the top eight teams. We've definitely got a really good chance, it's just about performing at our best.

"We'll just show up, use the home crowd and hopefully do well."