By HARRY CLARKE
LISA Camilleri has travelled the world playing squash, and now the sport is taking her and her young family on tour all around rural and regional Queensland.
With husband Marcus and daughter Mabel, the squash professional of 17 years and former world number 28 is spending several months on the road to bring her Squash Alchemy coaching clinics to small clubs across the state.
From Mackay to Ingham, Rockhampton, Chinchilla, St George, Tenterfield, Crow’s Nest, Dalby, Longreach and Mount Isa, the trip will cover thousands of kilometres.
From Mount Isa she hopes to take her coaching clinic into the Northern Territory, and the young family is doing it all in from the cosy living space of a motorhome.
“It’s not a tour for us to see Australia, it’s a tour to help smaller squash communities,” Camilleri said.
“We’re on a mission to visit as many rural, country squash centres as possible and bring elite coaching to these communities.
“It’s for the people living in smaller towns who don’t get a lot of opportunities for elite coaching.”
Originally from Tully in Far North Queensland, Camilleri became a professional squash player aged 19 and spent the next 17 years as part of the Professional Squash Association world tour.
She represented Australia at two Commonwealth Games and three World Championships, winning 17 titles during her career.
Now her passion is to give back to squash, raising the sport’s profile and encouraging participation along the way.
“When I was growing up in Tully my family would travel for three or four hours to get some coaching. You don’t get much coaching on how best to play the sport,” she said.
“With these coaching sessions, the players get more motivated and more excited about the sport when they’re shown how its done properly. They get more excited about playing and improving.”
The clinics were well received in Chinchilla, where Camilleri family spent four days giving coaching sessions to members of the local club.
President Teneale Luckraft said it was a privilege to have a professional at the centre, which recently underwent an $80,000 upgrade thanks to federal and state government grants.
“We have roughly 48 members on the books who play regularly and all together 97 players registered at the courts,” Luckraft said.
“The club’s going really well. We’ve been able to come back from Covid really strongly. We have a strong group of core members, and being a transient town, it’s fantastic to see a lot of other people who come through before moving on.”