Grinham courts another Games medal
She’s medalled at every Games she’s contested, including two gold, and if Rachael Grinham is selected to represent Australia in Squash at GC2018, it will be her fifth Commonwealth Games in 20 years.
Grinham won the world junior squash title at just 16 and during her illustrious career she’s won pretty much every title you could imagine and held the world number one ranking for more than a year.
The 40-year-old’s longevity at the top of the sport has made her one of squash’s most recognisable faces.
The Toowoomba-born athlete’s Commonwealth Games story started in Kuala Lumpur in 1998, debuting with a silver medal in the women’s doubles.
She competed in 2002, 2006 and 2014 and counts her five Commonwealth Games medals, including two gold, among her greatest achievements.
"I won in Glasgow, in Melbourne won gold, I’ve had a few medals at a couple of the others as well but obviously gold is a highlight," Grinham told GC2018.com.
Grinham was born into a family of squash players. She was spending time at Toowoomba’s squash courts before she could walk and even before she was born. Her mum played squash throughout her pregnancy, up until she was eight months pregnant with Rachael.
What started in Toowoomba as a family activity was soon being played out on the world stage, with Grinham winning Manchester and Melbourne women’s doubles medals alongside younger sister Natalie.
At 40, the four-time British Open champion remains among the best squash players in the world but she admits her approach to training has changed over the years.
"I spend more than 50 per cent of time towards training doing just stretching, core strength and just lying on a hockey ball," she said.
"Just loosening up the joints and making sure I’m looking after my body."
But Grinham’s ambition for Commonwealth Games gold isn’t slowing down.
"It still is reachable to get a gold in the doubles at the Gold Coast so that’s the one big goal," she said.
"It’s a really big one. It would be amazing if I could do it."
When she’s not on the circuit, Grinham calls Brisbane home, where she lives with English partner and fellow professional squash player Jenny Duncalf.
Her career has taken her all over the world but competing with the benefit of a home crowd advantage is one Grinham’s determined to take advantage of.
"For us as squash players, we play tournaments pretty much all over the world and we don’t play too many in Australia so for us, it’s really a rare experience for us to have a home crowd lined up," she said.
It’ll be an experience for both players and spectators, according to Grinham, comparing the world stage to the courts where it all started in Toowoomba 40 years ago.
"People are used to going down to the club and playing squash against the concrete walls but the set-up of an event like this is on the glass court where you can see in from all the walls," she said.
"The level of professional squash is something completely different from what you see just down at the club."
Cheer on the world’s best squash players at Oxenford Studios at GC2018. Tickets are still available.