Wednesday 27 February 2008

Natalie defects to the Netherlands

Natalie GrinhamNatalie Grinham announced today that she was switching her nationality from Australian to Dutch.

Her comments on Squashsite explain that the decision was due to her long-standing residency in the Netherlands, and marriage to Dutch player Tommy Berden.

But do I detect a whiff of irony in some of her words, given fallings-out with Squash Australia in the not-too-distant past ...

The younger of the Grinham sisters is quoted on Squashsite as saying:

"I'm looking forward to being able to represent Holland so that I can give back something to the country that has helped me improve so much".

Is this a veiled swipe at Squash Australia? It was in in the build up to the 2006 World Team Championships in Edmonton that both Natalie and her older sister Rachael decided to not participate due to what they saw as a flawed selection policy.

The quarrel was not about the individual support she had received - rather the perceived injustice at the most worthy players not being picked for the team at the time.

Grinham's explanation for relinquishing her Australian eligibility does refer to this episode in particular, but it does lead one to speculate as to whether is was a contributing factor.

Natalie has had success in recent years wearing Australian colours, picking up 3 gold medals in the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne.

The change of nationality is particularly good news for women's squash in the Netherlands, with 9 women now inside the top 100 of the WIPSA rankings.

Squash Australia chief executive officer Gary O'Donnell said he wished Natalie Grinham all the best:

"We understand Natalie's reasons for choosing to represent the Netherlands, although we are obviously disappointed to lose a player of her standing from the Australian ranks."

The changing of nationality echoes Peter Nicol's move from Scotland to England, and it will be interesting to see if any fallout renders it as controversial.
Squash Australia

1 comment:

  1. My hunch seems to have been correct - comments from Squash Australia in the Australian suggests that the relationship between both Grinham sisters and the governing body had been very poor for a while:,,23284703-2722,00.html?from=public_rss

    SA president John Holland commented:

    "They're highly-strung sports people ... Squash is an individual sport and they concentrate very much on the individual."

    So I think we can assume that differences were nowhere near to being resolved ...


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