Robert crowned as England's young squash coach of the year
PUBLISHED: 15:08 01 March 2017 | UPDATED: 15:30 01 March 2017
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 and 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.
Robert, along with his family, was invited to the awards ceremony at the National Squash Championships in February.
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.
While still at Paston College, Robert decided that he wanted to make squash his career and successfully qualified as Level 1, Level 2 and finally a Level 3 England Squash Coach while still only 17 and has already become a county grade referee.
At weekends he also helped coach children at Broadland Sports Club to start playing squash. This also included his 10-year-old sister Jasmine who in her first season became Norfolk U11 Girls Champion.
After deciding not to go to university, in the few months after leaving college he was actively looking at where he could make the biggest contribution to squash in his career. This involved discussing with sports clubs the possibilities and advantages in further promoting squash and resulted in his subsequent appointment as assistant squash program director at Broadland Sports Club in Norfolk.