While World Doubles medallists Alan Clyne and Greg Lobban are celebrating their selection to Team Scotland for Gold Coast 2018, and aiming for a podium place next April, the next generation of Scottish Squash stars are waiting in the wings.
Step forward Georgia Adderley – at just 16 years of age the Scottish Senior National Champion and most recently, British Junior Champion. All the more remarkable given that, until May of this year, she was splitting her time between Squash and playing age-group football for Scotland.
Having made the decision five months ago to concentrate fully on her Squash, Georgia is already seeing the benefits as she aims for her ultimate ambition – a place on Team Scotland at a future Commonwealth Games.
“It was a really, really difficult decision, but one that I’m really glad I made,” she says. “Whichever way I decided, I knew that I had to focus on that sport and try to make a future out of it and I’m really seeing the benefits now. I’m able to train a lot more, recover better and I’m just able to put more time and energy into one thing. I’m able to have more coach one-to-one time and I’ve also been able to be a bit more relaxed and chilled going into events because I’ve felt like I’ve prepared a bit better. It’s all really encouraging.”
In a year of change, Georgia also took the decision to move from school to college, to give her even more time to dedicate to her sport and the inevitable travel that comes with top level competition.
“I was missing a lot of school last year which meant I had to do a lot of catching up. This year when I’m away I’m not missing too much, one or two college classes, which is a lot better than three or four days of school. It gives me more time to come back and recover, instead of rushing off to the next thing. That was quite tough last year, as much as I loved it.”
There is a fair amount of travel planned in the next few months with the US Junior Open in New Haven, Connecticut at the start of next month, followed by the British Junior Open in January, her last event in the Under 17 age-group. She’ll then be back to her favourite type of event, competing for Scotland, with representative matches, including the European Senior Championships, on the cards through March, April and May.
“Representing your country is the best part,” she says. “It’s not about winning for yourself, it’s about winning for the team and certainly I’ve found that, when you win for your country, it feels so much better because you’ve got people around you, supporting you a lot more. That’s why the Commonwealth Games is such a big, big target.
“Watching the Games in Glasgow was amazing, going along to watch the Squash and supporting the team. Team Scotland is just fantastic and to compete alongside some of the best athletes in the world looks amazing. It’s a big dream to compete and to win a medal for Team Scotland at a future Games.
As Scotland’s first British Junior Champion in almost 25 years, could she make an appearance at Gold Coast 2018?
“It would mean the world to be part of Team Scotland and it’s been a goal since I first started playing for Scotland, but I’m still very young for Gold Coast. I’ll take it one day at a time and see what happens. Squash players peak later in their career and you can improve so much in just a few months. 2022, with four or five years more training, is probably more realistic so I’ll just keep training hard and see where it takes me.”
With Scotland’s top players regularly training together, Georgia doesn’t have far to look for inspiration in pursuit of her goals.
“It’s so great to see the likes of Greg and Alan doing so well in the World Doubles and looking to see if they can take medals in Gold Coast. It’s inspiring to be in the gym or on court with them, just watching the way they play and train. That’s such a great thing about the way we are in Scotland because you’ve got this amazing environment and it means that young players like myself can be right next to some of the best players in the world. It makes you want to get so much better so much quicker, because you’re aspiring to be where they are.”