While there aren’t too many opportunities for squash players to get global recognition, the Commonwealth Games is one such occasion.
Training six times a week, sometimes three times a day, the preparation isn’t easy, but Samantha Cornett, Canada’s No. 1 ranked player, is ready to embrace every minute of it.
“This is one of the most exciting events for squash that we have,” Cornett tells CNN. “I’m really proud to be representing my country at the Commonwealth Games.”
Cornett is something of a Commonwealth veteran with three tournaments already under her belt, most recently at Glasgow in 2014. She travels to Australia’s Gold Coast in April with hopes of claiming her first medal in the singles and doubles events, where she will star alongside partner Nikole Todd.
The pair have seen success together in the past, winning silver at the 2015 Pan American Games.
A talented ice hockey player growing up in Deep River, Ontario, at the age of 14, Cornett had to choose between the two sports. Under the watchful eye of her parents, she steadily rose through the ranks of squash, winning titles on a national and international scale.
Ahead of the upcoming Commonwealth Games, she has reached a career-high of 23 in the world. But more hard work lies ahead.
“To win, it takes a lot of hours, a lot of perseverance, and a lot of dedication,” says Cornett.
“Going in with the right attitude is 100% of the game, and if you don’t think you’re going to win before you step on the court then you’re going to struggle to win.”
Since squash was introduced to the Commonwealth Games in 1998, no Canadian woman has won a medal; on the men’s side, only Jonathan Power can boast significant success. He won silver in ’98 and gold in 2002.
There was a campaign for squash’s inclusion at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo but it was unsuccessful. The sport is, however, officially recognized by the International Olympic Committee and could be included in future years.