Squash ace Emma Keane: ‘I will give it everything I have’ at Commonwealth Games
Emma Keane said she is honoured and privileged to be making her maiden appearance at the Commonwealth Games.
The 26-year-old national champion was named as the sole squash player among the 17-strong team that will be representing Bermuda in Birmingham, England, next month.
Having originally believed the spot would be allocated to a male player, Keane is even more appreciative that the she is the one to be given the opportunity to compete in arguably the pinnacle of her discipline.
“It’s the most incredible feeling to know I’m going to the Commonwealth Games. It’s still such a surreal feeling,” said Keane, who is based in England.
“There was a lot of back and forth about only one spot being available for squash and I think the consensus was that it would for a male, so there was a lot of uncertainty about me going.
“A lot of things changed and I found out that I would in fact be going. Obviously, it’s gutting that there is only spot available in squash, but it’s just the way it was and I just feel so fortunate and grateful to be given the opportunity.
“Squash is not an Olympic sport and so this is probably one of the highest levels I could play in against some of the very best players in the world. I’m well aware how difficult the competition is going to be, but I will give it everything I have because I’m just so proud to be flying the flag for Bermuda.
“I’ve played on the courts in Birmingham before so that unknown quantity is taken away a little, but it will be just amazing to go back there and play in the Commonwealth Games.
“I’m also incredibly honoured to be selected alongside such a talented team. There is so much talent in the squad and just knowing I’ll be among some of the names involved is just phenomenal.
“I’m in no doubt that everyone selected will shine in their own discipline.”
Not only will this be Keane’s maiden appearance at the Games but her selection takes on even greater significance because it will also be the first time that a female has represented Bermuda in squash.
“First and foremost, I’m the first female to be selected for squash and that is something I’m very proud of personally,” Keane added.
“I definitely feel that it has greater significance because I think most would agree that squash is a male-dominated sport and so I want to take the opportunity to raise the profile and awareness of female players on island.”
One team-mate in particular, triathlete Dame Flora Duffy, has proved one of the major inspirations to Keane throughout her own career as she praised the impact of being in a team alongside the world, Olympic and Commonwealth champion.
“Having someone like Flora in the team is absolutely a huge inspiration,” she said. “I was at Warwick Academy at the same time that Flora was there and so I’ve seen the progress that she made from that young age.
“To see what she has achieved in her sport is a great inspiration to all of us. She, as well as a number of squash players, have given me inspiration and shown me a path to follow within sport.
Keane is now hopeful her own appearance at the Games can have a similar inspirational effect on the next generation of squash players on island.
“As I said, I want to take the opportunity to help raise the awareness and profile of the sport back in Bermuda,” she added.
“There are a lot of young players coming through in the sport and I want to show all of them, but particularly the young girls, that their dreams can come true with hard work and dedication.”