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SQUASH: Scotland’s Stuart Crawford felt his chance had gone

Stuart Crawford resigned himself to missing out on representing Scotland at the Commonwealth Games when he lost a crucial match ahead of the Delhi event four years ago.

The Ayrshire-born squash player took on a coaching role and began honing young players such as Greg Lobban for Glasgow 2014.

But on Tuesday the 33-year-old will realise his dream when he lines up alongside 21-year-old Lobban in the men’s doubles.

Crawford said: “I missed out on Delhi, I was one match away from being selected but unfortunately we lost it on a winner-takes-all play-off. It was pretty devastating.

“I was a full-time player back then and had been training for six years full-time working towards that. When it didn’t go through, I looked at my options and ended up taking a job with Scottish Squash, working as assistant national coach.

“But the national coach and performance director (Roger Flynn) encouraged me to get back into it and gear towards Glasgow, and paired me up with Greg in the doubles.

“It’s gone really well and it has come as a bit of surprise because four years ago I would never have thought I’d be in contention.”

The eighth seeds face Malaysia, St Vincent and the Grenadines and Papua New Guinea in the pool stages over Tuesday and Wednesday and are looking to go all the way.

Crawford said: “A combination of his youth and my experience seems to be working well - I’m the brains and he’s the physical side!

“When I first started my job, Greg was one of the first players I was responsible for. I had a lot of faith in him as a player and I think he respected me as a coach and a former player. We gelled straight away off court and we have managed to develop that into a really strong playing relationship.

“Our results progressed and we are really confident we can challenge for medals.”

Crawford is a veteran of world and European championships but in his career he has never experienced what awaits him at Scotstoun.

“I think back to when I was a child and used to go to Scotland football matches at Hampden, the noise when I was that age was just so motivating and inspiring,” the Irvine-born player said.

“It’s one of the reasons why I was so motivated to get involved in sport. I wasn’t good enough as a footballer but eventually I stumbled upon squash and it seems to be the one for me.

“The closest I have come was playing against Germany in Germany in the bronze medal play-off at the European Championships, and there were about 800 people cheering against me.

“Even having that noise is pretty incredible but to have two or three times that many people cheering for you is just going to be something I can’t imagine ever experiencing again.”SQUASH:

 

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