It’s a flag four-peat for Squash
The triple world champion from Sheffield, who was voted for the honour by his fellow athletes, will be defending both the men’s singles and doubles titles he won in Delhi four years ago, after recovering from surgery to his right knee on June 23.
Matthew, who is appearing in his third Commonwealth Games, will make his 100th appearance for England on day one of competition on Thursday, when he faces Mauritian Xavier Koenig in the men’s individual round of 64.
The 33-year-old Yorkshireman has been selected to carry the Team England flag in recognition of being one of England’s most successful squash players of all time with three world titles, three British Open crowns and two Commonwealth Games gold medals.
He follows in the footsteps of London 2012 Team GB flag-bearer Sir Chris Hoy, who Matthew cites as his own sporting idol.
Matthew said: “It’s a great honour to be chosen to carry the flag by this incredibly talented team of athletes from Team England.
“The Commonwealth Games is a pinnacle for squash players in a multi-sport Games environment, and I feel extremely proud to represent all the different sports and athletes here as we unite as Team England.
“I can’t wait to share that very special moment with the whole of Team England before we get down to the business of bringing home the medals for our country.”
Congratulating Matthew on his selection, Jan Paterson, Team England Chef de Mission, said: “Nick Matthew is one of Team England’s most successful athletes, and a wonderful choice by the team to lead them into the Opening Ceremony tomorrow evening.
“The Ceremony is an important opportunity for our athletes from different sports to unite as a single spirit and behind a single passion for competing for Team England.
“Nick is extremely proud to be a defending Commonwealth champion and his determination to be here to defend his titles demonstrates his passion for Team England.
“He will truly inspire the team as he leads them into Celtic Park to mark the start of what we anticipate to be a very exciting and successful Commonwealth Games for Team England.”
More Squash Flagbearers
In quadruple flag success for squash, also carrying their National Flags at the Opening Ceremony will be Malaysia’s Nicol David, Guernsey’s Chris Simpson, and Bermuda’s Micah Franklin.
David, winner of the Women’s Singles gold medal four years ago and now competing in a record-equalling fifth successive Games, has topped the world rankings unopposed since August 2006. “I feel privileged and honoured to lead the Asian continent in the Commonwealth Games,” said the record seven times world champion on hearing the news.
World Squash Federation President N Ramachandran could not hide his delight at the recognition achieved by the trio: “It is a great honour for our sport that three squash players will be carrying the flag of their country at the Commonwealth Games Opening Ceremony.
“We are very proud of them, and their selection shows just how highly esteemed Nicol, Nick and Chris are by their nations.”
British rowing icon Sir Matthew Pinsent was one of the first to offer his congratulations to Matthew: “Congrats to @nickmatthew squash – wonderful choice for ENG flag bearer,” tweeted the four-time Olympic gold medallist.
The 21-year-old, who is making his Games debut, will carry his country’s flag at the competition’s curtain raiser in front of 40,000 spectators at Celtic Park and more than a billion television viewers worldwide.
Stan Douglas, the Bermuda chef de mission, said that Franklin’s eyes lit up when he was informed that the flag-bearer honour had been bestowed upon him.
“We gave Micah a brief interview before telling him that he had been chosen to carry Bermuda’s flag at the opening ceremony,” Douglas said.
“His eyes lit up, as he considers the role as a real honour. He is considered Bermuda’s top squash player and I know he will stand tall and be a good ambassador for his country.”