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Glasgow could step in to stage world doubles

Scottish Squash officials are considering a bold bid to bring a World Championship event to Glasgow just weeks ahead of the Commonwealth Games.

If the staging of next week's British Open Doubles at Scotstoun goes well, Scottish Squash believe they will know whether they can realistically take on the running of the World Doubles which was due to be played in Malaysia in June but was recently cancelled.

World Squash put out an SOS last week following the cancellation of the tournament which was to have taken place in Penang from June 11 to 15, calling on another country to volunteer to take over.

As they seek to capitalise fully on the profile boost their sport should receive from the Commonwealth Games, officials of Scottish Squash and Racketball Ltd (SSRL) have consequently registered their interest.

"It was just last week we were told that the World Doubles scheduled for Malaysia is not to be. The sporting case for this event and the case for holding it in Scotland ahead of the Games are utterly persuasive but time is very tight," said John Dunlop, SSRL's chief executive.

"We shall see what is possible. The new proven rules for Doubles, in which Scotland's Coach Roger Flynn was one of the main movers and shakers, have made the format more challenging for the elite and created a great spectator sport. If we were to host the Worlds this summer it will the first Squash World Championship to be held in Scotland for a very long time, and long overdue."

Dunlop has made no secret of his disappointment at the failure of Commonwealth Games organisers to put in place permanent facilities that will allow Scotland to attract major squash events in future, in spite of spending vast sums on staging their squash tournament.

None the less, he believes the availability of the World Doubles tournament provides a significant additional opportunity this summer. "We need to re-establish squash as both a leading sport and Scotland as leaders in the sport. We are working on that but not everyone is quite getting it yet," he said. "We know awareness of our sport is very low, particularly amongst schoolchildren. By its nature the sport is not very visible. However, where the courts are visible, in places such as David Lloyd, Aberdeen Sports Village and Scotstoun, the sport thrives.

"The absence of mainstream TV coverage does not help. Next week's British Doubles will be streamed free on the internet and we are offering the afternoon sessions free to local schools. Events are vital to raise awareness of the sport.

"The Commonwealth Games will help squash exposure at the margin but 2014's preference for renting marquees and courts at a cost of over £1m is an unforgivable missed opportunity to invest in events infrastructure for the long term and makes no sense to anyone except themselves.

"That is all the more unforgivable since 2014 staff were party to our major events strategy, but I guess sometimes bad things happen to good people."

As well as the British Doubles at Scotstoun next week a professional squash association (PSA) event is taking place at Edinburgh Sports Club this weekend, while Dunlop indicated that a bid is also being considered to stage a PSA tournament in Inverness, home city of Scotland's top two male singles players Alan Clyne and Greg Lobban.

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