Rachael Grinham (squash) was given the honour of carrying the flag at the opening ceremony alongside hockey player Eddie Ockenden in recognition of her sixth Commonwealth Games appearance in Birmingham. She was the first Australian squash player to be given the honour and joins Jian Fang Lay (table tennis) as the first women to represent Australia at six Games.
Grinham started playing the moment she was old enough to hit a ball and hold a racquet. She would play with her sister on the spare court in Toowoomba next to where her parents were playing. Rachael won the world junior title in 1993 before joining the pro tour in 1994. Making her Commonwealth Games debut as a 21-year-old when the sport was first played in Kuala Lumpur in 1998, Rachael won silver with Robyn Cooper in the women’s doubles. She returned at the Manchester 2002 Games winning bronze in both the singles and doubles with sister Rachael Grinham. She won a full set of medals at the Melbourne 2006 Games where it was a sister act with Natalie Grinham to win gold in the women’s doubles but lost the singles final to Natalie. She also won bronze in the mixed doubles with David Palmer.
After missing the Delhi 2010 Games due to injury, Grinham returned at the Glasgow 2014 Games to win her second gold medal, this time in the mixed doubles with David Palmer, before her latest bronze medal win with Donna Lobban (nee Urquhart) at the Gold Coast 2018 Games. Grinham has also won four British Open singles titles (2003, 2004, 2007, 2009), the World Open in 2007 and was ranked among the world’s top 10 from 2002 until 2012, including no. 1 from August 2004 until December 2005. The elder stateswoman of Australian squash claimed her third Australian Open singles title in February 2021 – some 16 years after her first – and took out the mixed doubles title with Rhys Dowling in January 2022.
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