Glasgow 2014: Robert Blair finally medals in a Scotland shirt

Imogen Bankier and  Robert Blair celebrate
Imogen Bankier and Robert Blair celebrate
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If it is the last of his three Commonwealth Games, then Edinburgh-born Robert Blair will have many happy memories of Glasgow 2014.

At Manchester 2002, he took silver for England, it was a bronze for England in the men’s doubles at Melbourne 2006 and yesterday it was a bronze for Scotland in the mixed alongside Imogen Bankier. Blair, 33, a former pupil of Preston Lodge High School, spent his early life in Longniddry and played for Scotland as a junior and during his early senior career. But it was when he went to Loughborough University that new opportunities opened up if he became ‘English’.

He joined the high level training programme at Milton Keynes and had a greater choice of partners. As a result, he made it to the 2004 Olympics and won a silver World Championship medal in 2011.

But he admits the St George’s Cross was always a flag of convenience. “Winning here in Scotland means so much more,” he said after being presented with his bronze medal. “In the past, I always wished I was wearing a different shirt.

“In Glasgow I was playing for pride and for my country. When it was England is was more of a professional job.”

Blair and Bankier had been devastated to lose the semi- final match 14-21, 14-21 to Chris and Gabby Adcock – the English husband and wife partnership went on to win gold.

But they bounced back to defeat Malaysia’s Peng Soon Chan and Lai Pei Jing 21-17, 21-11 in the bronze medal play-off.

“After the morning defeat we had to pretend that it hadn’t happened and focus on the medal match,” said Blair whose next assignment is the World Championship in Copenhagen at the end of month.

Scotland’s Kirsty Gilmour, meanwhile, fell short in her quest for gold as she lost 2-0 to Canada’s Michelle Li in the women’s singles final.

Glasgow-based Gilmour, the second seed, was unable to impose herself on the third seed and lost 21-14, 21-6.