Thirst for success as Robert earns major coaching award

Robert Thirst receives his Young Squash Coach of the Year award from England Squash's National Senio

Robert Thirst receives his Young Squash Coach of the Year award from England Squash's National Senior Coach, David Campion, at the National Squash Championships in Manchester. Picture: Tim Thirst. - Credit: Archant

Norfolk's Robert Thirst has been crowned by England Squash as Young Coach of the Year 2016/17 at the National Squash Championships in Manchester.

The judging panel was made up of Gayle Pink, workforce development manager at England Squash; Tom Duggan, performance director at England Squash; Paul Main, England Squash national forum representative; Paul Hulme, sport strategy manager at Manchester City Council and Lucy Johnson, marketing director at Polar.

Robert was nominated for, 'his progress in squash and his determination to promote squash, particularly among children, which provides a role model for other young people looking at a career in squash and shows him to be an excellent ambassador for the sport in England'.

The panel reviewed hundreds of nominations, and decided that, 'Robert's commitment and dedication to the sport really stood out',

Robert, along with his family, was invited to the awards ceremony which took place at the National Squash Championships in Manchester.

Since being introduced at school to playing squash, Robert decided this was to be his passion in life. As well as actively playing and representing Norfolk, Robert studied sport at Paston College and in 2016 became a Norfolk County Scholar for achieving the highest grades in the county with his final results. As part of his course he had elected to introduce school children to squash by purchasing his own nets and rackets, and going into schools on days off to take mini-squash.

Debora Gillespie, the PE lead at Stalham Academy said: 'I was very impressed with his enthusiasm for the sport and how well he managed the pupils. The pupils responded well to his teaching and they all enjoyed the sessions and how their skills developed. They all built up a relationship with him and were proud of their success on their last session with him. I would definitely recommend Robert to coach or teach squash to primary school pupils. I wish him well in his sporting future.'

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While still at Paston College, Robert decided he wanted to make squash his career and successfully qualified as Level 1, Level 2 and finally a Level 3 England Squash Coach while only 17.

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