NORTH squash aces Alan Clyn and Greg Lobban have been named as the first two in their sport to be picked for Team Scotland at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games.
The duo will take to the courts at Oxenford Studios from April 5-15, hoping to secure Scotland’s first squash medal for 20 years.
Clyne in particular is determined to reach the podium next year, having finished fourth in men’s doubles at both the Delhi 2010 and Glasgow 2014 Games and results from the new partnership with Lobban suggests it could be third time lucky in Gold Coast.
In their first major tournament as a doubles pairing, they claimed World Doubles Championship gold in 2016, during a prolific summer in which both players were also part of the first Scottish team for 17 years to take a European Team Championship medal.
Following their success, serious injury put Lobban from Inverness out of action for several months, but he has made an outstanding return to the court.
Having never previously won a PSA Tour event, he had an incredible run of success in May and June 2017, reaching five finals and taking three titles; one in England and two in New Zealand.
Clyne, meanwhile, took his seventh Scottish national title in March and has risen to a career high of 24th in the world singles rankings, while competing extensively in the World Series and reaching the semi-finals of the 2017 Swedish Open.
Reunited for the defence of their World Doubles Championship title in August this year, the pair put on a phenomenal display to once again reach the final.
This time they had to settle for silver and, with Australia taking gold in a reverse of the result from 2016, the scene is now set for an epic showdown at Gold Coast 2018.
Jon Doig, Team Scotland Chef de Mission, welcomed the selections.
He said: “We are pleased to be able to confirm Alan and Greg on Team Scotland for Gold Coast 2018, allowing them to concentrate fully on their preparation over the next five months.
“They both bring a wealth of past Games experience and their recent results indicate their medal potential in April next year, which would be a first for Scotland since 1998. I wish them all the best with their training and look forward to watching them compete in Gold Coast.”
Maggie Still, chief executive at Scottish Squash, added: “At Scottish Squash we are delighted to see the early selection of Alan Clyne and Greg Lobban for the 2018 Commonwealth Games.
“Their recent past achievements will put them among the favourites for a medal on the Gold Coast and we know that both players always give their best for Scotland and are hugely focused and committed performers.
“The past 12 months have been challenging for both players, who have shown great resilience and demonstrated that they are outstanding role models. We are already extremely proud of their achievements and we wish them all the very best in the Games.”
Clyne and Lobban’s selection brings the total number of athletes named to Team Scotland to 33, following team announcements for swimming and lawn bowls in October. Further selections in squash are scheduled to be announced in February 2018.