By Nick Butler
August 4 - Malaysia's world number one Nicole David secured a record third consecutive women's singles title at the World Games squash tournament in the Colombian city of Cali, while Gregory Gaultier claimed France's first-ever men's singles victory.
Seven-times World Open champion David has topped the world rankings unopposed since 2006 and the 29-year-old from Penang was similarly dominant in not dropping a single game on her way to a final where she beat Dutch opponent Natalie Grinham 11-6, 11-9, 11-8 in a repeat of the 2009 final in Kaohsiung, Taiwan.
Grinham is a former world number two who won three Commonwealth Games titles for Australia before switching nationality in 2008.
Yet despite posing an impressive threat, her all round game was not enough to push the mighty David off her perch at the undisputed top of the women's game.
While the women's competition followed the pre-planned script, the men's singles was full of surprises as world number 12 Simon Rosner upset England's second seed Peter Barker in the semi-finals to become Germany's first finalist in the event.
Normality was eventually restored however when the number one seeded Frenchman Gaultier triumphed 9-11, 11-7, 11-5, 11-4 in the final after a tight battle which saw him lose the opening game.
"I'm so happy to contribute to the gold tally of medals to my country," said Gaultier, alluding to the fact that the women's bronze medal had earlier been won by compatriot Camille Serme.
Local hero Miguel Angel Rodriguez won Colombia's first World Games medal with men's singles bronze after England's Barker was forced to withdraw before the bronze-medal match due to injury.
"What a three days we have had," reflected competition canager Major Maniam.
"Such fantastic squash, so competitive, a really great atmosphere and some real surprise results.
"There is something special about being part of multi-sport events - like we also are in the Asian Games and Commonwealth Games - the crowds were in awe, the players loved it, and I did too.
"All the conversation was about the Olympic vote next month and how squash would be a great addition if we succeed for 2020 - no doubt on that score."
Squash is competing with wrestling and a combined baseball/softball bid for one slot for the 2020 Olympic Games, and the decision is due to be made on September 8 the International Olympic Committee (IOC) session in Buenos Aries.
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