David Campion, England’s national squash coach from Stainland, knows the importance of his players bringing back another sizeable medals haul from the Commonwealth Games.
The 46-year-old flew out to Australia with the squad today (Thursday) for an event which takes place on Queensland’s Gold Coast from April 5 to 15.
Campion, who was professional at Halifax club Queens from 1995 to 2000, said 15 medals were up for grabs in the squash and England were used to taking a lion’s share of them.
“This is my third Commonwealth Games. We won six medals at Delhi in 2010 and nine at Glasgow in 2014,” he said.
“To win nine was extraordinary and our target this time is six again.”
England have the favourites for gold in the individual events. Sheffield’s Nick Matthew, a three times world champion and three times Commonwealth Games winner, is now 37 but still seeded for men’s glory.
Chorley’s Laura Massaro, the world number four and three years younger, is expected to make a bold bid for honours in the ladies’ event.
Campion’s half-brother James Willstrop, from Harrogate, is seeded to win bronze in the individual event and could also make a mark in the men’s doubles alongside Nottingham’s Declan James.
Harrogate’s Jenny Duncalf, who like Willstrop often trains at Queens where Campion’s wife Sarah Kippax is now the professional, is also among the medal hopes with Daryl Selby and Alison Waters.
England have been preparing in Manchester and Campion, who has been part of the England coaching set up since leaving Queens, doesn’t expect to have much time to enjoy the beaches and attractions of Australia’s east coast venue.
“If we are not competing we will be training and it will be pretty full-on,” he said.
“Expectations are high. England are quite a force in squash. Targets are tough to hit and if you don’t meet them it can affect your funding.”