Squash NZ National Awards 2018
This year the SNZ National Awards were held at the Novotel Auckland Airport Hotel on Saturday 1st December. The evening started with drinks followed by a three-course dinner and awards ceremony, hosted by Joseph Romanos.
The winners of each category are profiled below:
Referee’s Award for Personal Endeavour – Jackie Hamilton (Otago)
• This year our winner was invited to be part of Squash history in January when she attended the inaugural Saudi PSA Women’s Squash Masters event as part of a female-only refereeing team. Hosting this event was historic for the Saudi Kingdom and recognised the participation of women in sport, both on the court and as sporting officials. For a New Zealand referee to be part of the team was fantastic recognition for our referee development programme and the opportunities that are open to us to take our skills onto a wider stage.
• She was also appointed to referee at the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast in Australia in April.
Both events have given her further experience on the world stage, which she has been more than happy to share with the wider NZ team and give other less experienced referees encouragement to further their skills and develop their abilities.
Derek Cook Memorial Trophy – Mike Jack (Central)
This award is presented for the most significant contribution towards refereeing during the year.
• Our winner is a District and National Squash Referee.
• He has been assessing 3 potential Central District referees and has spent many long days with them doing theory and practical assessments.
• Not only has he held rules and ref’s nights locally, but he has also refed when asked at his own club tournaments and finals of Super Champ National Finals.
• He was also appointed the Tournament referee for the Palmerston North PSA in June, the Senior Nationals and North Island Junior Age Groups.
New Coach of the Year – Chris Brewer (Bay of Plenty)
• Chris has volunteered and coached the Te Puke girls at New Zealand Secondary Schools for the last 2 years.
• He has coached several of the club’s junior members and senior members and inspired them to play squash more seriously.
• He organised and coached the D Grade Men for the Eliminations. The team won this, then went on to represent the Bay of Plenty at the Nationals which also they won. He not only coached the team but organised fund raising for the event.
• Not only is he on the committee at the Te Puke Squash Club, he is an excellent coach, mentor and valuable member of Te Puke Squash Club.
Club and School Coach of the Year – Kay Newman (Waikato)
• Kay has been a facilitator of the Squash NZ Modules and has developed over 35 coaches in the past year. She also coaches parents and teachers in the Adult Squash Start Programme.
• She has worked with close to 3,500 students from primary to high school age group in the past year with many of these players converting to club members.
• 75% of all Kiwi Squash Schools are still offering squash when she leaves which is outstanding for the development of our sport
• She coaches approx. 24 juniors each term. She has coached approximately 18 new member adults in an 8-week programme at the Lugton Squash Club and 16 new adults at the Te Awamutu Squash Club.
• She was also the Lugton F grade ladies team coach.
• She was not only a top player in her day, but she is a highly respected coach sought after by many clubs. She is commended for being reliable, flexible and dependable.
Performance Coach of the Year – Manu Yam (Auckland)
• Manu was the NZ world Junior Boys Assistant Coach, who travelled to Chennai.
• He coached the Westlake Boys Premier squash team who have won the Auckland title six years in a row and the National title 4 years.
• He was the NZ Young Kiwi Squad Camps Head coach and the Squash NZ Auckland HUB coach
• He was also the Auckland Quadrangular Junior team coach where they achieved 1st place and the NZ Secondary schools Trans-Tasman Head coach
• He was the Auckland Junior Team Coach where the Boys finished 1st and Girls 3rd at Junior Nationals
• He was the Squash Auckland Northern Regional coach and Auckland Northern Regional junior camps head coach
• On top of these he has also coached many Belmont Park Squash Teams and national age group champions
• He has attended several coaching modules and more recently he attended the latest world coaching conference in Australia.
• He is very well respected at his club, across the Auckland region, and throughout the country. He is constantly working with Squash Auckland to help improve the programmes being offered to players in the region, and works incredibly hard to encourage more players into our sport
Club of the Year – Tawa Squash Club
• They have increased their total membership by 18% and currently offer 12 membership options.
• They have maintained their 5 principal sponsors who have supported the club for over 20 years and introduced 2 other sponsors who have agreed to continue their sponsorship in 2019
• They have built a relationship with an additional school helping to get juniors into the game. This, along with a joint programme with another club, the junior club night and a small nix programme for 5-8 year olds, has seen a 31% increase in junior membership.
• They introduced a women’s coordinator to run ladies’ nights as well as a mums and bubs group. The mums and bubs group currently have 70 mums on their distribution list. The goal was to increase female membership by 10% however they increased it by 20%. They also introduced their inaugural Women’s tournament which was a huge success.
• They ran a 24-hour squash-a-thon to raise awareness and funds for the NZ Women’s refuge. They raised over $2000 as well as a car full of presents and food for the women’s refuge.
• Monthly leagues were run every month which involve 40-60 players. This along with their Monday club nights and ladder challenges catered for all levels.
• They have undergone great renovations to their club this year making the club very user-friendly. Not only did they update their facilities, introduce a digital scoring suite, but they also set up a more user-friendly booking system which has had great success. They have also managed to book out their club lounge for 80% of the time.
• They continue to communicate with their club members with regular newsletters and through Facebook which has doubled in the past year. Survey monkey was also introduced to capture feedback from tournament participants.
• They were a co-host of the North Island Junior Age group champions where they showcased squash NZ’s full glass back court. It was an impressively run tournament that showed clubs working together to achieve success in the squash community.
• They were the proud winners of the 2017 Squash Wellington Club of the year and winners of the 2018 Wellington Sports Club of the Year
Volunteer of the Year – Vicki Rae (Midlands)
• Vicki has been instrumental in organising the district’s junior programme for 2018. This included getting funding, organising 3 development camps, 3 one day tournaments and weekly squad training for the high performance players. She also convened the selection panel, organised and supervised groups of junior players to attend regional and national squash tournaments.
• She initiated, planned and organised senior squad training for the district’s senior top players.
• At a district level she graded all new players plus organised the tournament calendar. This included organising the triangular and quadrangular tournaments with neighbouring districts.
• At club level she successfully ran the Club open with 120 entries, ran pennant competitions and oversaw the running of the club. She will even be seen with a paint brush in her hand at the club working bee.
• Her bubbly personality helps all members feel welcome. She is passionate about squash and will always make herself available whenever anyone needs a helping hand. She will always go above the call of duty and thoroughly deserves this award.
Most Improved Female Player – Alana Kairaoi (Bay of Plenty)
Was an integral part of the Bay of Plenty Senior Women’s Team to win the New Zealand District Teams Event this year. As an A Grader, she has increased her ranking by 285 points over the season and has had significant wins over higher ranked players. She finished with a New Zealand ranking of 7.
Most Improved Male Player – Gabe Yam (Auckland)
Has tremendous potential to succeed at the highest level in the sport. He has improved his World Ranking by 125 places this year and has increased his points on the New Zealand grading list by 125 points in the same period. He has beaten several higher ranked players throughout the season and finished with a New Zealand Ranking of 5. He represented New Zealand at the World Championships in his age-group in India earlier this year
Personality of the Year – Joelle King (Waikato)
Joelle has become the face of New Zealand squash on the international stage. Her endurance shown at this year’s Commonwealth Games where she spent more time competing than any other athlete demonstrated her incredible internal drive to be the best and set the bar for the rest of the wider NZ team.
The rest of the Commonwealth Games team recognised her as a leader both on and off the court with Paul Coll stating after a doubles match ‘she calls the shots and I’m happy with that!’
She is a top-class athlete and a humble and gracious champion.
Chairman’s Award – Glen Wilson
Glen is a long-time ambassador and role model in the squash community.
He’s represented NZ at junior and senior level. His playing experience has helped shape his coaching knowledge of the requirements needed to perform on the international stage
His coaching took him to the US and Europe where he made lasting connections through which Squash in New Zealand still benefits.
He was a finalist for coach of the year at the 2018 Maori Sports Awards.
More recently he has contributed to the success at the World Doubles and Commonwealth Games in a coaching capacity plus has given countless hours to assist with coach development and team selection for Squash NZ.