Disappointment: Zac Alexander has been forced out of the Australian squash squad at the Commonwealth Games. Photo: Lannon HarleySquash player Zac Alexander has flown out of Glasgow after losing his place on the Australian team on the eve of the Commonwealth Games due to a verdict by the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
The New York-based 25-year-old was a member of the five-man men’s doubles squad in Scotland but was replaced at the last minute by Newcastle’s Matthew Karwalski, who won a two-month legal battle for selection on the eve of competition. While Karwalski is en route to Glasgow to take up his spot in the team, Alexander left the athletes’ village before Wednesday night’s opening ceremony at Celtic Park.
“He left Scottish soil [on Wednesday],” Australian team chef de mission Steve Moneghetti said. “I certainly did [speak to him] and may I say if you talk about people and the way they conduct themselves, Zac Alexander has been exemplary in this process. An outstanding Australian.
“He was seriously so good. I was just amazed at the way he understood the process. I was just chatting to him about making sure that he realised that it was a decision that was made, it was no reflection on him. As a team we stood behind him, and at the end of the day he’ll learn from the experience. There was no difficulty in the delivery because he was so professional and so strong with it.”
Alexander, the seventh-ranked Australian, had been selected ahead of third-ranked Karwalski when the team for Glasgow was announced in May, triggering the 28-year-old’s appeal. Moneghetti said the Australian Commonwealth Games Association paid for Alexander’s flight out of Scotland but the Queenslander had minimised disruption on the team by taking the bad news well.
“He organised his own bookings, so got on the internet and changed his own flights. He was happy to go,” Moneghetti said. “We had to go through the process for a like-for-like replacement and he understood that and was keen to go. The effect [on the team] can be unsettled but he made he did it so quietly and didn’t want to have any ruffles to the rest of the team. Seriously, he was an outstanding individual in the way he coped with the situation.”
Moneghetti believed there would be no awkwardness when Karwalski arrived in the athletes’ village to link up with the doubles squad, which begins competition on Tuesday. “It’s very clear-cut. The appeal process has been done and Squash Australia and the ACGA have been responsible for that process,” he said. “He comes into this village as an Australian Commonwealth Games team member. He’ll certainly be welcomed into the village.”
Meanwhile, Moneghetti confirmed track star Sally Pearson and rugby sevens captain Ed Jenkins had been chosen as the Australian representatives at an athletes’ lunch with the Queen in Glasgow on Thursday.
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