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Squash champion Camilleri serving it up at Raymond Terrace

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She’s travelled more than 16,000 kilometres in the past 12 months to promote the sport she loves.

But, former Australian squash champion Lisa Camilleri shows no signs of slowing down on her national coaching tour, which will arrive in the Hunter this week.

The dual Commonwealth Games representative is scheduled to host a number of clinics and private lessons at the Raymond Terrace Squash and Fitness Centre on Friday 4, Saturday 5 and Sunday 6 March.

Owner Phil Jenkinson said it was a massive coup to lure Camilleri to the region.

“She’s a legend within the sport’s ranks,” he stated.

“So, we’re thrilled Lisa’s coming to Raymond Terrace.

“You don’t get too many chances to learn from a player of her class in person.”

Camilleri is equally thrilled to venture to the local area.

“Raymond Terrace will be the 31st location my family and I have visited in the last year,” she said.

“It’ll also be the final centre on our first loop around Australia.

“We’ve been focussed on country, and rural, squash clubs… to bring elite coaching to regions who don’t usually get such opportunities.

“Can you believe 100% of the clubs we’ve been to have never seen a professional coach in their complex before?

“A small percentage have witnessed mentors, however that was more than two decades ago.

“So, there’s been a massive gap between local players coming in contact with elite-level coaching.”

Camilleri, who captured in excess of 30 titles in a distinguished career, said it was important to lift the profile of squash once more.

“I guess it’s my calling now to do that,” she told the Newcastle Weekly.

“Squash has been my life as a player.

“So, it’s my turn to give something back to the sport.

“I’m keen to rebuild it again.

“Getting out to the courts is the first step.

“Channel 7 followed us around for a bit in Queensland and undertaking this tour has created some exposure for the sport in country areas.

“It’s funny, people who’ve played the game 30, 40 or 50 years have never actually had a squash lesson before.

“All of a sudden they’re learning how to do things a lot easier on the court.

“You can see within a visit that their motivation/energy lifts their local squash community.

“They start talking to their mates – then that trickles down to more people coming down.

“It’s such a wonderful game, with so many health benefits.

“However, sadly, it’s not on too many peoples’ radar these days.

“Twenty years ago, everyone was playing; therefore, the kids were at the centre and picking up a racquet, too.

“But, these days, there’s more to do and squash isn’t high on anyone’s agenda.

“With any luck, I can change that.

“The national coaching tour has helped tremendously – and I hope people embrace it at Raymond Terrace this weekend.

“When we kicked it off, we thought we’d see how it would go.

“It’s been very well-received, so we’ll be going around again.

“Everyone’s enjoying it.”

Camilleri remains proud of her appearances at the 2010 and 2014 Commonwealth Games.

“Definitely representing Australia at Delhi (India) and Glasgow (Scotland) was the highlight for me,” she said.

“The experience was amazing, being in the village, travelling with all the other athletes as a group.

“Squash is an individual sport, so you rarely come together as a team.

“However, being part of a huge national squad – where you’re having lunch and dinner; and attending meetings with all the other sportsmen and women – it’s a terrific feeling.

“I then retired in 2017 and, very early on in my coaching career, I was awarded Australian Coach of the Year in 2019.

“That was quite an honour to receive that, especially from my peers who I greatly respected.”

If you’re interested in attending one of Lisa Camilleri’s clinics, or a private lesson, phone the Raymond Terrace Squash and Fitness Centre on 4983 1350.

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