Rising squash star moves up a Gear at World University Championships

The Great Britain team at the FISU World University Squash Championships (Credit: University of Birmingham Sport)

It’s been less than a week since former TASS athlete Grace Gear struck team gold at the FISU World University Squash Championships alongside teammates – and fellow TASS alumni – Lily Taylor and Adam Auckland.

But the talented trio’s performance in Birmingham is sure to inspire student-athletes from across the country for weeks to come following a historic maximum triple gold-medal haul at the tournament.

“We put in an amazing team effort,” said Gear, who is currently studying for an undergraduate degree in Sport Science alongside pursuing her squash ambitions.

“It was tough as we didn’t get a rest day after the individual competition so we had to go straight back into competing the following day,” she admitted. “However, as a team we all got behind one another to push on and perform well.

“This was my first time representing Great Britain. It was an honour to be selected for the Team GB squad and to win a team gold is even more special.”

Grace Gear competes at the FISU World University Squash Championships (Credit: University of Birmingham Sport)

After entering the tournament – held at the University of Birmingham – as top seed in the women’s singles and being knocked out in her second match, Gear showed impressive mental and physical resilience to return to form for the team tournament.

“There’s a different type of pressure in the team event as you have to perform,” the student-athlete explained. “When stepping on court you have to forget about the stage you’re playing on and think about playing your best squash.

“My most challenging match was against Hong Kong in the semi-final of the team event. I had already beaten the girl in the individual competition, however we were 1-0 down so I had to win my match in order for GB to progress. In the end, I won my match 3/1 and then Adam won too so we made it to the final.”

The host nation’s success at the Championships will undoubtedly help to shine a spotlight on a sport that also returned an impressive four medals for England at the Gold Coast earlier in the year.

“Squash is a great a spectator sport,” said the TASS alumna. “The coverage of the Commonwealth Games gave the sport a huge reach during the event with a live audience viewing.

“The English athletes did amazingly to bring back so many medals and it was really inspiring to watch. Hopefully in a few years that will be me aiming to bring back medals like they did.”

While her sights are set on returning to Birmingham to compete at the Commonwealth Games in 2022, Gear is also determined to complete her Sports Science qualification without compromising on her squash development.

“I’m now moving into my third year which is a really important year for my degree. I plan my training at the start of the week and then look at my uni schedule. It’s then a case of fitting in my training around my lectures so that it all fits together,” she added.

“I’m really glad I chose to go to uni as I’m still training just as much as when I am at home. It’s motivating to know that when I leave at the end of my third year that I have been training really hard as well as getting a great degree.”

China will host the next World University Squash Championship, in Shanghai in 2020.