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James Willstrop disappointed with squash’s lack of profile

James Willstrop wants to see more squash coverage (Martin Rickett/PA)
James Willstrop wants to see more squash coverage (Martin Rickett/PA)

Team England squash quarter-finalist James Willstrop has expressed disappointment with the lack of profile for his sport as he continues the defence of his men’s singles title at the Commonwealth Games.

Willstrop comprehensively dismissed Pakistan’s Nasir Iqbal in their round of 16 clash at the University of Birmingham with an 11-6 11-4 11-7 victory which edged the Englishman one step closer to guaranteeing himself another podium place.

Squash is facing a continuing battle for Olympic recognition while Willstrop believes his sport has also been short-changed in broadcast schedules which make it difficult for friends and family to watch him play.

He told PA news agency: “We’ve been told we can’t criticise anyone but I’m disappointed.

“I’d like to see it (squash) around but it’s not. People are tweeting, why isn’t it on. It should be on, everything else is on like badminton and table tennis.

“I don’t see why we shouldn’t get on. It’s disappointing but we are used to it. Squash isn’t a big sport is it but what matters is this is a fabulous place to play squash.

“The crowd were incredible and I know that’s a fact and great thing to play in front of. I’ve got a load of people asking if they can watch me and I think the kind of thing we’ve got is a great set up.”

The 38-year-old struck singles gold at the Commonwealth Games at the Gold Coast in 2018 to go with his three silver medals and two bronze.

Despite his hopes of securing a place at the top of the podium again, the Yorkshireman is not getting ahead of himself and is aware of the “fine lines” which can determine results.

He added: “We’re all hoping we might be able to squeeze some medals out and we’ve done it before. I am thinking about it but I’m four years older than when it happened last time and these guys are great players.

“It’s unbelievably fine lines at the top levels in squash and somehow I guess the best players in the world manage to win the crucial bits.”