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History maker Gina Kennedy might just allow those comparisons to tennis star Emma Raducanu now after winning the women’s singles squash title in Birmingham.
The 25-year-old became the first English woman to claim the Commonwealth Games singles crown with a 3-1 (11-7 11-5 12-14 11-5) win over Canadian Hollie Naughton.
It completes a remarkable rise for the Bromley native, who has risen from No.167 to the world’s top 10 inside a year and trains at the same club frequented by Raducanu.
And after trying to avoid being mentioned in the same breath as the US Open champion in the last 12 months, Kennedy conceded she may have finally earned it now.
“I mean I have said before, people have been likening me to her since she won the US Open really and since my rise,” said the Harvard graduate.
“But I’ve said in every single interview, until I win something big, please don’t compare me to her because she’s achieved something incredible, and I haven’t yet. Now I’ve won the Commonwealth Games gold medal, I feel like I will allow people to compare me a bit more.”
This summer, Team England, supported by funding raised by National Lottery players, comprises of over 400 athletes, all vying for medal success.
Birmingham native Sarah-Jane Perry, who Kennedy beat in the semi-final, also joined her on the podium after taking bronze in a five-game epic with New Zealand’s Joelle King.
But it was not to be for 38-year-old defending champion James Willstrop in his men’s singles bronze medal match, as he lost 3-0 to close friend Saurav Ghosal of India.
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