Team England – Day 11 Quotes from this morning and overnight

By in People & Places

Sunday 15th April 2018

James Willstrop from North Walsham and Declan James from Nottingham won their doubles match in the squash.  

JW: “They count for so much these Commonwealth medals. Any medal that clunks away in the village is a huge thing, people applaud it. It’s a huge thing coming back to Team England’s headquarters with a medal.”

“I can’t take anything for granted, I’d like to carry on playing Squash for a bit if I can, but I have to take it month by month, you don’t know what your body is going to do next. I’m just so thrilled that I took it to a point where I can get through two weeks of this, I’d never dreamed of that four years ago. Now I’m not saying I’m not going to go for the next Commonwealth Games or try but it’s going to be an awful long shot, Squash players don’t play at 38 years old, it’s very rare.”

DJ: “We are kind of funny creatures, aren’t we? After an hour and a half of drama and stress yesterday I would never have dreamed of coming back on the court again today, but we were on the bus after we lost yesterday and we started laughing because that doesn’t normally happen in Squash, going through the motion of losing but then going again. On the flip side it was reconciliation today, we realised there was a huge amount to play for and we said to ourselves that 4this going to feel a hell of a lot worth that 3rdand we are really happy that we came through today.”

DJ: “I said sat the start of the week, James is the perfect partner. I was over the moon when he won his gold medal, it gave me a huge amount of confidence. He picked me up when I was down he calmed me down when I got too excited. His experience is something that I called upon time and time in the last week and I’m so grateful to have him as my partner this year.”

Sam Walker from Sutton in Ashfield loses the bronze medal game against India in the Table Tennis men’s bronze medal match:

“It was a tough match, same as yesterday, he played well and hopefully I’ll do a lot better in four years’ time.

“It’s been good, it’s been a good experience, but we wanted gold. In the singles I know I got better than my ranking, but I wanted to win it.

“Tough match. Obviously wanted to win that match so I’m a bit gutted really. I’ve got to learn from that and come back stronger.

“He played tactically quite well, and I don’t think I was on top of my game and my movement, so I don’t think I’ve played as well as I could have, I was a little bit passive.

“I’m going to go home and spend some time with my family and then looking forward to the worlds. I’m probably going to take a week off and then start training again.”

Sonia Samuels from North Shields finished 5th in the women’s marathon in a time of 2:36:59. She said afterwards: 

“Right now, I feel a bit disappointed, because I thought that if I ran my best race I could challenge for a medal. I wasn’t far away. The Kenyan was coming back to me, but not quick enough.

“I’ve got a lot of respect for the conditions and the marathon distance, so maybe I didn’t cover the moves quickly enough.

“I feel super strong. I know a lot of people make a big deal out of my age as I’m 38, but you know what, I love getting out there and I love hurting myself and as long as I want to do that, I’ll keep racing.”

Alyson Dixon from Sunderland finished 6th in the women’s marathon with a time of 2:38:19. She said: 

“I feel beat up. It was a tough day. Considering five weeks ago I was just about to take the decision that I wasn’t coming, just to get to the start line was a challenge in itself.

“I knew that if I got to the start line, then I would finish. I’d have had to stop breathing not to finish. After Glasgow (where Alyson did not finish), it’s all that I’ve wanted, and I’ve put that to rest.

“It was a battle against the conditions those last 10-12k.”

Liam Pitchford, from Chesterfield & TIn-Tin Ho from London finished as silver medallists in the Table Tennis Mixed doubles. Speaking afterwards they said: 

Liam: “I am proud and happy to get the silver medal but it’d tinted with a little bit of disappointment, you never want to lose a final but it was a close match, for the first two sets we had set points and if we had taken all of them maybe it would have been a different match but I think we played well throughout the tournament and it is a big achievement to go away with a silver medal.”

Tin-Tin: “I think we did the right thing, we had a really good chance and played really well in that match but there were just a few set points that we couldn’t quite get but it’s ok, we played well.

“Of course, a bit disappointed, but looking back it’s been a good tournament and I’m happy with two medals.”

Liam: “I wanted that gold medal and so to get it last night was sort of a weight of my shoulders and came in today with nothing to lose, we played the right way. I’m not disappointed, a silver medal is nice.

“Few days off now and then we have the world championships at the end of April. Last time we got a bronze medal, so we’ll see what we can do this time.”

Tin-Tin: “I was more relaxed in the double than in the single, where I didn’t play my best but I’m really glad that I managed to win and hopefully I can work harder and manage to play my top game more often.”

Jade Jones-Hall from Middlesbrough finished in a time of 1:44.20 to win bronze in the T54 women’s marathon:

“I’m really shattered now, but it was a great race. It’s a nice flat course that suits me pretty well, so I’m really happy with it. It’s tough conditions and by the end of the race it was getting pretty hot, so I’m so glad we started as early as we did. The support on the course was amazing and it definitely takes the pain away.

“[On Gold and Bronze] I’d never have believed them, to be honest. I knew I could do well in the triathlon and that was where all my training was focused towards. I didn’t think I could win, but I knew I could do well. To come away with the gold in that and then the bronze here is just amazing. It was easily the best marathon I’ve ever done in my life. I think it was actually a personal best as well, so I’m really happy with it.

“I had a couple of days that were a bit easier after the triathlon, as it’s pretty hard for me as I have to do it as a time trial because of the factoring. It was pretty hard to recover and took me a bit longer than I thought it was going to. Once I was over that, I trained together with my teammate Nikki over the last few days and that’s been really good. The guys as well have been great.

“[On her husband also competing at the Games] It’s our first major championships together, so that’s really cool. He’s done amazing for a first game, so he should be happy too.

“We’ve got London Marathon next weekend, so no rest yet.”

 Nikki Emerson from High Wycombe finished sixth in a time of 1:50.13. She said: 

“I’m tired but really good. It was a five-minute PB, which I did not expect. And I’m so proud of Jade, because we train together, so seeing her medal is just amazing.

“It’s been a really good day; I didn’t expect it to go this well.”

“The conditions were good. It felt very windy coming back, but that might have just been because you’ve done 13 miles by that point. I’d actually practiced the whole thing in sections in training over the past two weeks, so I knew where all the turns are. It definitely helped, because on paper I knew I was slower than the other athletes so I kind of needed to know the course to have a little bit up my sleeve.

“It’s been amazing. My objectives when I came out here was to do two PBs, as I wasn’t that familiar with these distances – I’m more 400m and 800m. I did two PBs in my two distances, so I couldn’t really ask for more.”

In the men’s T54 marathon John Smith from Gravesend won silver and he said afterwards: 

“Kurt went off straight from the front, so it was essentially a three-man race all along. It was a really good race; everyone pushed hard. But I’ve never competed in conditions like this. I’ve competed all around the world and I’ve never been so hot, it was intense, so it made it hard. I don’t know if I made it look easy, but I found it tough.

“Simon is a good friend of mine; we’ve know each other for a while so I’m pleased he also won a medal. We are 50/50 in terms of rankings and times. But I’ve been working on my weaknesses; my sprint finish, breaks, turns, flat straights, I’ve worked hard with my team to do everything to give me the best chance. I’ve put in 1400 miles since last July, so I’ve put everything into that 26 miles to come away with a result so I’m very happy with the silver medal.”

Simon Lawson from Whitehaven won bronze in the Men’s T54 Marathon. He said afterwards, speaking to BBC Sport: 

“I struggled a bit early on, the first couple of miles were tough but I eventually got my breath back. Kurt got away, so I tried to go with him, but it wasn’t possible.

“We ran out of a bit of room near the end but two English athletes getting silver and bronze is amazing. I’m happy with that; it’s my first major medal.

“It is a lot warmer than England that’s for sure. The last race I did was in New York and it was -5oc so coming straight here was a shock but I adapted quickly.”

Callum Hall from Leeds finished in a time of 1:37.36. he said: 

“It was brutal. I got dropped by the main pack about five minutes in so it took me about 7 or 8 miles to catch the next guy. Luckily, I could see him so reeled him in and worked hard on the technical areas of the course to catch up. Me and Jake (Lappin) worked together all the way but he got me on the sprint to the finish.

“It was a great experience for a first major. This was always a development Games for me. I’ve only been doing this for three years so I’m still learning. It was a case of giving it my best shot and trying to enjoy it.

“Watching my wife (Jade Jones-Hall) win gold in the triathlon and then to back it up in the marathon is just crazy.”

Gold medallists Chris & Gabby Adcock won their mixed-doubles match against Marcus Ellis from Huddersfield and Lauren Smith from Carlisle, said: 

Gabby from Leeds, said:“The guys played amazing and I was pretty nervous going into it, not just because it’s playing your own team but because it’s the commonwealth final and try to defend out tittle is a big thing for us this year. It felt surreal winning that match point, but they were outstanding today.”

Chris from Leicester, said:“We came out in the third set, we played pretty much the perfect style, the perfect game. We really put the pressure on them and then we needed that push in the end, it got a bit tense. They came out with nothing to lose, they are great players and they are showing that and we really needed to stay switched on until the end, which we did, it could have gone a lot worst but we luckily kept that two or three points gap.

“Unbelievably proud, Gabby has been out for almost the all year, hasn’t has two consecutive weeks of training for the all year so to come back and do this…it’s hard to put words on it right now.”

Daniel Bibby from Wiganafter England Sevens lost their semi-final to New Zealand:

“Obviously we’re disappointed with not getting through to the final, but we’ve shown all weekend the desire and the hunger that we have to just keep working for each other and for Team England.

“New Zealand are a class side and that’s what happens when you don’t get a few of those wrong decisions right, and if you don’t win the race at the breakdown against New Zealand they’ll punish you.

“We’ve got another shot at a medal now, so we’ve got to end that disappointment as soon as we walk through the tunnel and switch back on for our next game against South Africa.”

Abbie Brown from Exeterspoke after the women’s defeat to New Zealand in their semi-final: 

“I’m so proud of the girls, we put everything out there. It’s so hot and the girls put in 110% effort. There was a phase where we kept defending and chasing them back and that’s what we’re about as England. I hope that shows with our values to everyone back home who was watching – I hope they were proud of us.

“We need to reflect on that performance because obviously it’s not where we want to be – we wanted to be in the final, but we’ll go forward into the next game against Canada. As long as we keep putting that effort in, we give it our all and we enjoy it, that’s the main thing.”

Lauren Smith from Carlisle said after the women’s badminton doubles to win silver:

“Obviously at the moment we are a bit disappointed because we maybe didn’t compete like we wanted to in that final, so we’ve got a lot to learn from that but obviously once it sinks in and the minute we’ll walk on the podium it will feel real and we’ll feel really proud of ourselves and what we’ve done for our country.

“I would have liked a gold, but I came out here to medal, and I have. Maybe silver exceeded my expectations as well, I’ve not been as confident recently but stepping up in the England team makes me proud and I think makes me a better player.”

Sarah Walker from Basildon also said:

“I think we got it a little bit wrong today, tactics weren’t quite right and the way that we were playing all week wasn’t really affective against them and we couldn’t really change that quick enough.”

Marcus Ellis from Huddersfield and Chris Langridge from Epsom after bagging a gold in their badminton men’s doubles game against India:

Marcus: “It would have been disheartening if I had to go home without a gold. I guess I have got the complete set now. I think we did deserved to win. We were the best pair on the day and I think under the circumstances today we performed very well. That just shows how resilient we can be.”

Chris: “I’ve been waiting for this one. Last game … managed to get a gold. That was my main objective when I came here, to try and complete a set. Not as good as Marcus who did it in one Commonwealths. It took me two. I’m really pleased. The performances we put in this tournament, except the one hiccup in the team events against Malaysia, have been really good. Especially today. The pressure has been on us to win. We were the favourites on paper today. They were a great pair. They have beaten most of the top 10 recently. Today we composed ourselves and performed well. We are both so pleased to have one.”

Marcus: “It was very difficult. I feel like we did have chances this morning, especially in the second set where we had quite a good lead. We were very disappointed to end up losing it in three. It was three quite long sets which meant I was even more tired for this upcoming match. At the end of the day when there’s only one match left, there is always something there. I tried my best to get that and I think it came out in the end.”

Chris: “Historically we have been good at doubles. It kind of continues because it’s very hard to change the whole philosophy. Certain countries are generally good at certain events. Traditionally we have been good at mixed doubles for quite a long time now. We showed it today with a gold and a silver in the mixed. Men’s doubles and ladies doubles have been a little bit up and down. We have had loads of great pairs. I don’t know how long you have to look back to find the last English men’s doubles winners. Probably some time ago. Malaysia are such a dominant force in badminton. The guys we played yesterday were one of the best pairs in the world. Our girls did absolutely brilliantly to get the silver. I can’t put my thumb on it but we do have great singles as well in Raj (Ouseph). He has it so tough because he doesn’t have loads of other players to train with but he does a lot on his own and trains really hard. We have got Chloe in the ladies singles coming through now and she is showing us through the tournament how good she it.”

England’s men and women won bronze medals in their respective competitions.

Men’s captain Tom Mitchell, from Cuckfield, said: 

“These games are always going to be tight – especially in the medal matches so our mental skills, our resilience that we’ve cultivated as a squad to stick in those games is what’s special, and that’s credit to the whole group and the work that we’ve done.

“It’s difficult to explain just how hard it’s been today, the conditions are really tough out here, it’s incredibly hot and incredibly fatiguing and we’ve had tough games so we had to stick at it, trust each other and keep going.

“We’ve come out on the wrong side of a lot of results this season, so to get on the right side of one of those close ones against an amazing South African side was very special.”

Women’s captain Abbie Brown, from Exeter, said:

“We gave 100% on the field and we did it for everyone who has supported us, the girls back home, the staff – absolutely everybody – so to come out here and get a medal is an amazing feeling.

“Canada are a great team and we knew that they were going to bring us something and that was good for us – it tested us but we didn’t let them get back in.

“To come out here with a new group of girls and win bronze is amazing – this is the start of something special and I’m so proud of all of the girls. I couldn’t have asked for more.”

Head coach James Bailey added:“I’m over the moon and incredibly proud of what is a very special group. They’ve come together in a very short period of time and have put in a brilliant performance across the weekend – I’m a very proud coach.

“The success is down to the culture and the environment that the girls have created. That bronze medal match was all about that culture and the willingness to fight for each other down to the last minute – that’s what it’s all about.”

Ama Agbeze from Selly Oak after the women’s netball team take gold over home favourites Australia in a buzzer beating performance. 

“They gave us a tough game and we knew that they had been challenged throughout the whole competition. We knew that we had to step up to them and challenge them. They fought us well. We are grateful for the opportunity the Commonwealths have given us. We had a good contest today and we are happy we came out as the winners.

“I feel like I should be happier or crying. I think maybe tonight. Everybody want to just stay at home and look at their medals rather than going out. Hopefully it will sink in. We are going to go back to club competitions. The English girls have a game on Saturday. The Aussie girls start in about a week or two. I’m in New Zealand and we start in two or three weeks. We are just getting down from a high and coming back down to reality.

“People were brought on to do specific jobs but I feel that the team on the whole were doing a really good job. There were changes to give people a break and let them come back on with impact or to put an impact change on with fresh legs. The changes yesterday and today were key to us winning

“The Commonwealth games is in my home town of Birmingham next time. I do love netball. The Aussie’s have been at the top for a long time and they do say it’s hard to stay at the top for a long time. Once you’re there you have to work really hard to stay there. This medal is just for today. There is a long way to go to get gold medals in any years time. It’s just more hard work now.

“Netball isn’t as big in England so coming down and experiencing the life of a netball player here has been amazing. People have started picking up support in the UK for netball and this has done wonders for the sport. People need to start listening because we are here and we are out there.

“Unless you enjoy it, you can’t do it. We don’t play that many games in a year. In the last four years the games we play have stepped up. It’s all about training and so you have to enjoy it. A cultural thing in our team is having fun and that’s one thing that Tracey had to step back on. You have to be relaxed. There is so much pressure with everyone wanting to win and everyone wanting you to win. When you smile you relax and you have fun knowing that everybody has each other’s backs.”

 

You can catch up on today’s action at www.teamengland.org