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Nick ready to fly the flag

England Flag bearer Nick Matthew stands in George Square after the Flag bearer announcement

England Flag bearer Nick Matthew stands in George Square after the Flag bearer announcement

Sheffield’s Nick Matthew will lead Team England into the Commonwealth Games after being named as the squad’s flag bearer.

The 33-year-old multiple squash world champion will walk out first at tomorrow’s opening ceremony at Celtic Park after being nominated by his team-mates.

It is deserved recognition for Matthew who will defend two Commonwealth titles in Glasgow.

A gold winner in the singles and doubles in Delhi, he has been an unsung success story of English sport for some time, having turned professional in 1998.

He won the first of his three British Open finals in 2006 before his Delhi success triggered his maiden World Open victory which came against compatriot James Willstrop.

In 2010 he topped the world rankings for the first time, with his further world titles following in 2011 and 2013.

Although not as well-known as fellow Sheffield athlete Jessica Ennis-Hill, Matthew’s star is a bright one and in his home city he has a showcourt named after him at the Hallamshire Tennis and Squash club.

His Games participation was not always assured, though, having been committed to knee surgery four weeks ago, but his return to fitness is now complete.

Matthew inherits the honour from badminton player Nathan Robertson and follows in the footsteps of the likes of Darren Campbell and Mark Foster.

Matthew said: “I’m quite humbled to be Ieading these guys out, some amazing athletes like Sir Bradley Wiggins.

“It’s been hard to keep it a secret as I wanted to shout it from the rooftops.”

n See Nick Natthew’s column on page 36.

 

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