By MOIRA GORDON of The Scotsman
MELBOURNE and Delhi were the warm-up acts but Harry Leitch is hoping it is third time lucky at Glasgow as he hopes to build on quarter and semi-finals and earn himself a place on the Commonwealth Games podium.
Currently rounding off his medical studies and a PhD, the Scottish squash player, who was included in the first round of Team Scotlandsquad announcements at The People’s Palace last week, says he is due to be starting working life in a hospital next summer but, as that clashes with the Glasgow Games, he is happy to postpone that reality to fulfil his dream of a medal.
“It’s great! I’m very excited. It is really good to have this early announcement because, in the past, I have always been selected very close to the Games,” said the Edinburgh-born Cambridge Blue who, along with his doubles partner Alan Clyne, lost out to the Australian pair in the bronze medal match in Delhi.
“But, from the sport-specific point of view, we can use the events that are left to develop different aspects of our game without having to worry so much about results, although, once you are on court, you always want to win. But, from a practical point of view, I have to apply for jobs in the next month and I can say that I am actually going to be at the Games, not that I’m just hoping to be at the Games. That means I will miss the first week of work and I can now make it very clear that I need a week’s holiday.
“I try, in a bizarre way, to keep the squash and my work separate and a lot of my medical friends might not even know I do the squash. It’s something I do in my spare time. I remember the last time, during my PhD, I don’t think my supervisors knew I played much sport so, when I asked for a few weeks off to go to Delhi, they were a bit surprised.
“It’s nice because, for us, these are such a big Games having come fourth the last time.
“It has been a very big motivation in training so it has been a step-by-step progression, from quarter finals, semi-finals and finishing fourth and now we hope it’s a medal and there’s no better place to do it.
“As everyone has probably already said, having the crowd around will be huge and having family, who never made the journey to Melbourne or Delhi, my brother and sister and four nieces and nephews, that will be nice. It will be great that friends and family will be able to watch.”