Birmingham Commonwealth Games: Kiwi Joelle King hunting elusive mixed doubles gold

Flagbearer Joelle King is eyeing three more Commonwealth Games medals to add to her collection, and there's one in particular she wants to be gold. 

King and her mixed doubles partner Paul Coll suffered a surprise loss at Gold Coast in 2018, with the pair forced to settle for bronze - but not this time. 

With three golds, two bronze and a silver for good measure, don't think for a minute King is stopping there. 

Paul Coll.
Paul Coll. Photo credit: PSA

"All of the things that I'm competing in, all three are equally important to me", she said.

The 33-year-old is already one of New Zealand's most decorated Commonwealth Games athletes, with six medals.

And after picking up two golds on the Gold Coast, she's back for more, with a point to prove.

"The one that hurt us really badly last time was Paul and I taking home the bronze and not the gold, we were one point away, so there's a lot of focus from both of us to try and get a gold there," she said.

Her mixed doubles partner is currently the men's world number two but Coll isn't here for second best. 

"Gold's definitely the one thing on my mind this week," he said.

He became the first-ever Kiwi male to briefly rank world number one in March, living up to his 'superman' nickname and not just for his trademark dives. 

"Yeah, my coach hates it," Coll said. He always says if I'm doing that I'm not playing well, which is true to be fair but you know it looks cool and I've gotta sort of do at least one a season just for the shot.

"This could be my last Games, so I wanted to enjoy the whole process but still very driven to bring home some more golds."

The West Coaster is determined to use his best-ever form to one-up his Gold Coast silver. One of four medals in an impressive haul from the 2018 team, with King collecting three of them. 

Superman to King's Wonderwoman, Coll is re-energised after seeing his family and friends, following over three years overseas.

"It's very new to me, I've never had that in my career, '' he said. "I've never been the favourite to win anything and I've never been competing for the number one spot.

"She's [King] incredible, she's an inspiration for our entire team and we all look up to her."

The experienced competitors will be guiding the four Games newbies, including Temwa Chilese, who will compete in the men's doubles alongside his brother. 

"I think we can kind of read each other's minds, we don't really have to discuss things," Chilese said. 

As well as 21-year-old Kaitlyn Watts, who's recently relocated to Scotland to focus on her game. 

"It's going so good," she said. I love it there, the people are so nice, and the group I train with, and the coaches, it's so good."

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