HIGHLAND squash star Greg Lobban can now gear his preparation solely on the Commonwealth Games.
Team Scotland made it official this week by announcing Lobban, from North Kessock, and fellow Highlander Alan Clyne as their first two squash players.
Speaking before he flew out for the Hong Kong Open, Lobban admitted he was sure of being selected but the confirmation made it a little bit more special.
“I’m always excited for the Games and it’s nice for it to finally be official,” he said. “It was in the back of my mind with winning the World Doubles last year that we’d met the criteria Scottish Squash had set for us. But it doesn’t feel real until it’s official.
“The difference this time is it getting announced five or six months in advance. For 2014, I think it was less than a month before. It allows me to prepare the best I can.
“It’s natural to think we’re more likely to get success in the doubles. I’m more excited for that event, knowing we’ve won the World Championship and got a silver this year. I believe we’ve got a strong chance of gold.
“But in the singles, it’s not out of reach for us to get into the top three if we have a good week.”
After he finishes the tournament in Hong Kong, Lobban will return home with Clyne for a week of training before the World Team Championships in Marseille on November 26.
“We’ve always punched above our weight as a nation, at both the Worlds and Europeans,” said Lobban. “We play well as a team and always save our best squash for the Scotland shirt.”
Lobban has rebounded after missing six months with a hamstring injury. He won three PSA titles in May and June – one in England and two in New Zealand.
“I’m in quite a good position with my ranking. I was injured this time last year and I can only add tournaments to my schedule now, rather than having to take them away,” said Lobban.
Clyne has risen to a career-high 24th in the world and won his seventh Scottish national title.
They fell short of retaining their World Doubles title in August, a competition they won the year before in Australia, and will team up again Down Under in April.
Munlochy-born Clyne will be heading to his third Games, after playing at New Delhi 2010 and Glasgow 2014, missing out on a bronze in the men’s doubles.
Lobban made his Games debut three years ago, reaching the quarter-finals of the men’s doubles.