Settling into a chair in his Edinburgh home, the secretary general of the World Squash Federation might be a long way from IOC banquets and VIP lounges, but each transatlantic conversation is another step closer to the Olympic movement.
Over the past few years, Mieras has made hundreds of these calls as he attempts to charm, cajole and convince those of influence that his sport should be included in the 2020 Games. It can be a grubby business, and one demanding a masters degree in hypocrisy given the need to smile while engaging in a process often characterised by self-interest and deceit.
The end, however, justifies the means, particularly given the disappointments endured by squash in recent decades. A place in the Sydney Olympics was snatched away amid accusations of bribery; voting technicalities ensured they were absent from London; and the commercial lure of golf and rugby proved too tempting to those charged with Rio's schedule. The target now is to ensure that they are included in eight years' time. Six sports – karate, wakeboarding, rock climbing, rollersports, the martial art wushu and an amalgam of baseball and softball – will join squash in lobbying for a place, with whichever sport that is dropped from the London programme also a contender.
Mieras, however, is confident that squash will finally be rewarded. "We've got a campaign going with a real head of steam," he says. "I've been to every event where I can meet and lobby IOC board members in the past few years, including the Olympics, Commonwealths, Asian Games and Pan-American Games, and while it sounds glamorous I'm more often than not heading for the VIP room to see how I can see and be seen by. I can quite easily be somewhere for a week and not leave the hotel for six days."
So how does he sell squash between the lavish lunches? "Well, Forbes magazine described it as 'the healthiest sport in the world' and there is no more efficient sport in terms of energy used in the shortest time. It's economically affordable as well as being both physically and mentally demanding because, played properly, it's like a chess match. It really does have it all."
Mieras himself was convinced the very first time he stepped on to a court. It was while a research student at Edinburgh University that he and a couple of colleagues wandered over to the union one day in 1967 during a prolonged bout of procrastination and began playing. Having played a fair amount of badminton, he soon picked up the racket skills and revelled in the lack of a net between himself and his opponent and the fact that the ball invariable returned to his feet and so need not be retrieved. "Don't put me on a treadmill or exercise bike because I'll be bored out of my mind," says the brother of former rugby player and referee David. "Going out for a run? Don't be ridiculous. That's why they invented the bicycle and car."
It took a fearsome hiding one afternoon from a far superior player to hone his competitive instincts, though. Immediately, he vowed not only to take lessons but resolved to pass on the knowledge he gained to youngsters; within a few months he had taken a junior national team to Sweden and eventually guided them to fifth in the world junior rankings.
All the while, he was running his own club. Colinton Castle, based in the grounds of Merchiston Castle school, was founded by the former teacher and Neil Kilpatrick in 1972 to cater for the kids that Mieras found himself ferrying around Edinburgh to play. The success of the venture has been such that they celebrate their 40th anniversary this year; an apposite time, thought Mieras, for him to stand down as chairman.
"I'm not playing anymore and I'm not around as much because I'm all around the world representing the WSF so I was no longer on top of the job as I should be," he says, having stopped playing after an angina attack suffered during a 1am trip to turn off a rogue burglar alarm. "Besides, I was past my sell-by date."
Despite his protests, there is an undeniable freshness about Mieras and his ideas. Mere mention of facilities sparks a treatise on how new technology has the potential to revolutionise squash clubs, the 67-year-old immediately rummaging around for a document outlining not only how glass cubes could be erected in sites as diverse as the Taj Mahal and Hong Kong Harbour to attract a new audience but also how the moveable walls of courts enable local clubs to enhance the returns generated by their square footage.
Able to deliver the sort of withering riposte that made him an engaging chemistry teacher, Mieras laces his observations with sharp analysis, his perceptive views making his selection as the man to lead squash's entreaties to the Olympic movement. Indeed, his immersion in the administrative side of the sport came when he realised that the world governing body would not permit Scotland to become a member – "I thought 'right, these bastards need someone to keep an eye on them'" – and he has been involved in the promotion of squash ever since.
"It has opened doors and taken me all over the world," he says. "I've played squash in 40 or 50 countries. It's constantly cost me time and money but I would not swop it for anything because sport is a passport to friendship. Someone could ask me to put them in touch with someone in country X so they could have a game of squash and a drink with them and chances are I'll be able to sort something out."
With such a network of contacts to complement his persuasive personality, it is easy to imagine Mieras convincing a few more wealthy Americans of the merits of squash.
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