England squash legend Alison Waters is back for her fifth Commonwealth Games

·4-min read
British National Squash Championships 2010 Alison Waters celebrates with the trophy after winning the Women's final Mandatory Credit: Action Images / Jason Cairnduff (Action Images)

Alison Waters is no stranger to the Commonwealth Games.

The former world No.3 will step onto the squash court for her fifth Games this summer after, to all intents and purposes, retiring at the end of 2021.

Now focusing on doubles, Waters is looking forward to a more relaxed but equally fruitful Commonwealth experience in Birmingham.

She said: "I never thought I would get to five Commonwealth Games. My first one was in 2006 so it's always a huge honour to represent England and the Commonwealth Games is the pinnacle of our career.

"When I retired it was left open with the England coaches that I could potentially be part of the doubles squad.

"So that was really nice because I knew that even though I was retiring from singles, I knew there was still a chance that I would get picked for the doubles.

"Commonwealths is the only time we get to play doubles, so I was not going to lose the opportunity to play. Especially at a home Games so it's going to be something different."

At Glasgow 2014, England claimed nine out of the 15 squash medals on offer.

Waters won two of them that year, silver in the mixed doubles with Peter Barker, and bronze in the women's doubles with Emma Beddoes.

But it hasn’t all been plain sailing for the 38-year-old on her road to Games glory.

She said: "I've had a few weird experiences with the Commonwealths, I got injured in one of them in Delhi and injured my Achilles in the singles and then missed out on the doubles.

"And in the individuals, I finished fourth twice which obviously is not the best position to finish.

"But in Glasgow getting the silver and bronze was one of my most memorable moments and two of the moments I still look back on.

"And since squash is such an individual sport, to compete with someone else was a great experience and one of my most special moments really.

"We want to win medals in Birmingham and we're strong enough to do that in the women's and the mixed."

With the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games set to inspire people and communities across the country this summer, Waters hopes sharing her story will give others motivation to get involved in sport and turn their dreams into reality.

With 140 England appearances to her name, Waters is one of the most distinguished and experienced squash players appearing on Team England.

But now with a more relaxed competition programme, the doubles player hopes she can share her vast knowledge with those coming through the ranks and continue to promote the sport for others.

She said: "Two of the girls on the team, Georgina [Kennedy] and Lucy [Turmel], this is their first Commonwealth Games.

"I remember my first Games, it's a bit of a whirlwind at the start because you're so excited and trying to see who's around in the village.

"So, for me hopefully, if they need any help or advice or just someone to speak to in-between games or after their match, then I will happily fill that role and support them.”

This summer, Team England, supported by National Lottery funding, will comprise over 400 athletes in total, and having secured her place on the squad, Waters is looking to capitalise on the once in a lifetime opportunity for medal success in her home country.

She is also buoyed by squash’s growth in recent years, as one of the standard-bearer sports for the Commonwealth Games.

"Squash has always been the sport for me and it's been great to see how, from when I went full time at 18, there's such a big difference now as to where the standard is and the professionalism of it,” she said.

“There's a lot more equality, tournaments, and media coverage.

"I think having the Commonwealth Games in England will help. People want to watch live sport and hopefully they will want to come and watch squash."

National Lottery players raise more than £30million a week for good causes including vital funding into sport – from grassroots to elite. Find out how your numbers make amazing happen at: www.lotterygoodcauses.org.uk and get involved by using the hashtag: #TNLAthletes.