Commonwealth Games: Joelle King's career changes pay golden dividends

  • 10/04/2018

There was plenty of tears, pain and drudgery involved, but finally, Joelle King has climbed to the summit of Commonwealth squash.

The 29-year-old King collected women's singles gold on Monday with a stirring 16-14 11-8 6-11 11-13 11-8 final win over England's Sarah-Jane Perry.

Having ruptured her Achilles tendon in 2014, King reached a make-or-break juncture in early 2017 - commit fully to the professional game or give it away.

And, after changing her coach to Briton Hadrian Stiff, establishing a new tour base of Bristol and tweaking her routine, the Waikato native's toil has paid off.

"It was a very different Joelle King 12 months ago to what I am now and I'm just really proud of the fact I left it all out there," she told reporters.

"It's taken a few years of learning, listening, opening myself up to new adventures, a new coach, new base - yeah, it makes that all worthwhile."

King's unerring accuracy helped her to an early two-game lead in the final, but the energetic Perry recovered, sending the contest to a decider.

From there, King racked up an early 5-0 lead, giving her enough space and time to keep the indefatigable Perry at bay and secure an 11-8 triumph.

In another place and another time, the world No.4 may have folded in the face of such pressure. Instead, she kept a cool head and stuck to her guns.

"Went from 2-0 up to 2-2 and probably, in the past, I would've pooped my pants a little bit," King said. "She came back at me so strong.

"It's just a few points here and there - I just tried to stay really positive and even if I lost, I was going to go out playing my game."

King will now face a quick turnaround, coming down from her gold-medal high to contest the doubles pool rounds on Tuesday.

She'll pair up with Amanda Landers-Murphy in the women's doubles and with men's singles silver-medallist Paul Coll in the mixed doubles.

NZN