Unflappable Khan takes it all in her stride
By TOBY ROBSONLAWRENCE SMITH/Fairfax Media
FIRST LOSS: New Zealand’s women’s pair of Jan Kahn and Manu Timoti have fallen to their first loss of the Commonwealth Games.
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Jan Khan’s hairdo isn’t quite right.
She reckons the “NZ” stencilled into the back of her head is slightly off centre.
The problem was, her daughter Stacey, a hairdresser, couldn’t get up to cut her mum’s hair last month because of a snowdrift.
“It’s not quite centred, but never mind. I told the guy I need it centred, but whatever,” Khan said after walking off the Jawaharlal Sports Complex’s No 5 rink last night, not overly concerned by a 7-9, 8-7, 3-2 tiebreak loss to Canada.
A bronze medallist at the last two Games in Manchester and Melbourne, the relaxed 52-year-old is the perfect foil for her young lead, Manu Timoti, chewing gum and media shy.
“We struggled,” Khan said. “It [the green] was sweating and I didn’t click on to it and it was tracking as well. It was difficult to get the right weight and line.
“But, hey, it’s all about the person behind it, it’s what’s upstairs and both of us went off at the same time, so that was unfortunate.
“We feel really comfortable. We’ve been going well. I said to Manu, don’t worry about this, we’ve got the afternoon off, so here’s an opportunity to take a break, settle down and come back strong tomorrow.”
Khan’s relaxed personality may be behind her success on Delhi’s tricky and variable artificial surface.
While others have tied themselves in knots trying to unravel the variations from rink to rink and green to green, she’s got on with the job.
The women’s pair are fast shaping as the Black Jacks’ best chance of gold, having won four of their opening five matches.
Khan’s taking everything in her stride, including the giant eagles that swooped down to dine on the dragonflies and tiny moths that settled on the playing surface during the loss to Canada.
“I’ve ducked, thinking they were going for my head, but they weren’t,” she laughed.
“They were after the dragonflies. They chase them, then they swoop in and pluck them right out of the air.”
Khan’s other secret is the luck of the Irish and the support of her family.
She wears a four leaf clover, which hangs on the silver kiwi necklace her daughter gave her, while there is a pohutukawa badge on her collar, a gift from her late, great bowling mother Millie.
The women’s pair will be back in action today against Zambia and the Cook Islands before finishing with a tough stretch against Australia, India and Northern Ireland.
Meanwhile, the men’s triple got back on track after their heartbreaking tiebreak loss to South Africa the previous evening.
Skip Richard Girvan’s trio made short work of Brunei 10-3, 10-3 to extend their record to three wins and two losses ahead of their afternoon match against Niue.
No2 Shannon McIlroy said every team was trying to work on the pace and line of the greens, which differed depending on the time of day.
The surface was slower in the middle of the day when it was hot, but sped up as the temperature dropped in the evening, he said.
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