World No 27 squash player Alan Clyne has played in major events right across the world but never before in Glasgow.
That could be about to change when the Commonwealth Games arrives in the city next year, giving the Inverness 26 year old and the sport in general its best opportunity ever to showcase itself to the Scottish public.
Clyne competed in the 2010 Delhi Commonwealth Games, partnering Harry Leitch in the doubles and just missing out on a medal. It’s a score he plans to redress second time around.
“My ultimate ambition in a Commonwealth Games is to medal and I want the medal to be gold”, he declares.
“Last time we came fourth, just missing out on a medal but I reckon we have improved since then and we will hopefully get into the medals and try and make it as high as possible.”
“The singles will be tough with England looking pretty strong at the moment but I’m still hoping to try and get a medal. The doubles is our big opportunity though.”
Last month Team Scotland’s qualification period opened for squash athletes. To gain a singles place Clyne needs to keep his singles ranking in the world’s top 30 between the start of next year and May 1, or achieve at least two wins against top 20 players in recognised events between now and May 15 next year. In the doubles he has at least three events in which to achieve qualification.
If he is selected then he is likely to be one of the fittest athletes competing for Team Scotland in Glasgow next summer. Qualifying as a PE teacher from Edinburgh University before embarking on a full time squash career in 2008, he certainly practises what he preaches.
When not involved in a tournament he trains twice a day for six days a week, combining strength training, circuits and cardiovascular sessions on a treadmill and bike with his on court activity.
“It’s quite a heavy regime but I think it’s one of my strong points and I’m one of the fittest guys”, said Clyne who is coached by Roger Flynn at Edinburgh’s Herriot Watt University.
“There is always room for improvement and I’m working on technique and tactics with Roger at the moment. My game has improved a lot since he took charge and through the work we are doing I’m trying to raise my game a bit further.”
A worthy prize for improvement would be a medal in the Glasgow Games. The memories from Delhi are still clearly etched on Clyne and a supportive Scottish public would almost put the Glasgow Games off the scale of personal highs.
“Being in the Commonwealth Games as part of a big team with lots of other sports and athletes together with a huge crowd was a fantastic experience”, he said.
“I’ve not really had any big events in Scotland before so hopefully I can qualify and have friends and family in Glasgow with a big Scottish crowd behind us.”
“Home support means a lot and it spurs you on when you get on court. I’m hoping everyone will get behind Team Scotland and hopefully we can better our medal tally from last time. Having great support from the Scottish public will help us achieve that.”
You can follow Alan on Twitter @Clynesquash
Photo Credit: Alistair Devine