Camille Serme and Simon Rösner won gold for Germany and France, respectively, in Poland last night to bring the four-day Squash Championships in the World Games at the Hasta la Vista club in Wroclaw, Poland to a close.
A full house crowd at the world’s biggest squash club cheered, clapped, stamped and whistled in appreciation of a series of exhilarating rallies on the all-glass showcourt, where medals were also won by Hong Kong and Malaysia – with France claiming an historic gold, silver and bronze set.
Squash was making its fifth appearance in the World Games, the quadrennial multi-sport event for non-Olympic programme sports – the 10th edition of which is the biggest sports event ever to be staged in Poland, under the patronage of the IOC.
Serme faced surprise opponent Joey Chan in the final, with World No.19 Chan producing the event’s biggest shock when she dethroned Nicol David, the three-time gold medallist, in a five-game semi-final.
The match clearly took its toll on the left-hander from Hong Kong as Serme swooped to victory in just 26 minutes, winning 11-4, 11-3, 11-4.
“That’s the best I could have expected,” said the French No.1.
“Joey played two five-setters in the last two days, so I think she was tired – I played some shots she didn’t even go for.
“I am very happy to win – beating a top 20 player 3-0 like that will give me confidence going into the new season.
“At the beginning of the week we [France] didn’t expect to do this well. We have tried to get into the Olympics three times now, so if Paris win the 2024 bid, I hope this success will show that we have the chance to win medals.”
(L-R): Gregoire Marche, Simon Rösner and Mathieu Castagnet pose with their medals at the 2017 World Games
In the men’s final which brought the final day to a fitting climax, top seed Rösner battled for 78 minutes with French outsider Gregoire Marche, a 5/8 seed who overturned two higher-ranked opponents to reach the title decider.
German No.1 Rösner, runner-up in the event four years ago, led 6-2, 8-5 and 9-7 in the first game before reaching game-ball at 10-8 – but underdog Marche went on to have two game-balls of his own before Rösner finally clinched the game 15-13.
After winning the second, World No.11 Rösner built up a 7-3 lead in the third as the gold medal looked in sight. But Marche, ranked 12 places lower on the PSA World Rankings, fought back to 9-9 before closing out the game 11-9 against expectations to reduce the deficit.
The German favourite seemed to have refocussed when he stormed to a 6-1 lead in the fourth but a succession of unforced errors allowed Marche to establish leads at 7-6, then 8-7.
That was the end of the 27-year-old Frenchman’s run, however, as a patient Rösner, 29, moved ahead point by point before converting his first match-ball to win 15-13, 11-6, 9-11, 11-8.
“It’s amazing,” said Rösner.
“I am truly over the moon. Greg is such a tough competitor – in that third game when I was 7-3 up he was fighting hard and I might have been too impatient.
“In the fourth I needed to be 100% focussed – actually 200% – to get through.
“It was such a great feeling playing in front of such a great crowd – and it’s been like this since day one. That’s what makes this event so special.”
France’s third medal of the day came in the bronze medal play-off when Mathieu Castagnet defeated Peruvian World No.19 Diego Elias, while David overcame England’s Fiona Moverley to take the bronze medal in the women’s event.
Final: 2017 Men’s World Games Squash Championship
 Simon Rösner (GER) bt [5/8] Gregoire Marche (FRA) 15-13, 11-6, 9-11, 11-8 (78m)
Bronze Medal Play-Off
[5/8] Mathieu Castagnet (FRA) bt ¾ Diego Elias (PER) 14-12, 12-10, 11-8 (56m)
Final: 2017 Women’s World Games Squash Championship
 Camille Serme (FRA) bt ¾ Joey Chan (HKG) 11-4, 11-3, 11-4 (26m)
Bronze Medal Play-Off
 Nicol David (MAS) bt [5/8] Fiona Moverley (GBR) 11-4, 11-8, 11-3 (28m)