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Wednesday, 31 July, 2002, 23:22 GMT 00:22 UK

Power starts to get serious

By Clive Lindsay
BBC Sport Online in Manchester

It was somewhat ironic that the film 'Braveheart' should be used to plot Peter Nicol's downfall.

But Jonathon Power has for so long been the most colourful and most unconventional man in squash.

It is entirely in keeping with the 28-year-old's character that he should use the movie so often seen as inspirational to the Scots as motivation to beat a world number one who swapped the thistle for the English rose.

Victory in Manchester hours after he stumbled across 'Braveheart' showing in the athletes' village not only meant that Power added Commonwealth Games gold to his glittering rainbow of achievements.

"I am started to erase the going out all night part"
Jonathon Power

He also exacted revenge on his arch rival following his controversial defeat in Kuala Lumpur four years ago.

That was perhaps the first time that a world television audience had been exposed to the volatile nature of the man often described as the 'John McEnroe of squash'.

Frustrated at let calls from the judges, Power time and again barged theatrically into his opponent.

Nicol, the resolute Scot, stood firm to claim the title.

But Power had posted his intent. And although Nicol has subsequently made the world number one spot his own, the Canadian has so often proved to be his Achilles heel.

Victory at this Commonwealth Games was the world number two's fourth tournament victory over Nicol in a row.

It also ended what Power viewed as his jinx of never having won an event in Nicol's adopted homeland of England.

Power put his recent form down to a change in a lifestyle often inadvisable for a professional sportsman.

"I still enjoy the buzz of winning"
Jonathon Power

"Instead of burning a candle at both ends - long nights followed by hours of training - I am starting to erase the going out all night part," he insisted.

"I really like to enjoy my summers, but I have also stopped playing golf before training as I realised I had to get my head down.

"I went through a patch last year when I was getting injured a lot and was not enjoying squash, but I am moving better now and enjoying it more.

"I have been playing for a long time now, but I am not thinking of quitting any time soon.

"It is all I have done since I was a little kid and I still enjoy the buzz of winning."

Especially so against Nicol, who switched to England as he felt their training programme would help his bid to stay on top of the world.

That may be a forlorn hope.

Power, viewed as the wayward genius of the squash courts, is starting to get serious.


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