QUEENS Sports club squash professional David Hymas is celebrating winning the England Squash and Racketball Coach of the Year award.
The 26-year-old, who lives near the Halifax club at Savile Park, beat off five other contenders for the award at Lilleshall, where coaches gathered for a two-day conference this week.
Hymas was nominated for the award by Carol Cherry, regional administrator for England Squash, and said he was delighted to win.
“It was unexpected, particularly for someone to have won it so young,” said Hymas.
Hymas was the second major Yorkshire winner on the night with coach Malcolm Willstrop, whose son James is set to become world number one in January, winning a lifetime achievement award.
Hymas has only been at Queens since August, when he took over from Paul Hornsby.
He started playing squash aged 10 at Heaton Squash Club in Bradford and although he represented Yorkshire as a junior he realised he was never going to be good enough to pursue a professional playing career.
So at 16 he started coaching and gaining qualifications and three years later he became head coach at Huddersfield Tennis and Squash Club.
He also worked part time for England Squash’s north east office, based at Chapel Allerton in Leeds, and then full time before coming to the Halifax club.
Hymas has won the award for his initiatives in attracting a wide range of groups to squash and the increasingly-popular racketball, in which participants use a smaller racket but larger ball.
He is launching a “Five for a fiver” racketball project next month with five coaching sessions for £5.
And he is working with local schools such as St Mary’s J & I, Halifax Grammar and Crossley Heath Grammar to encourage more youngsters to play squash.
Hymas’s biggest frustration is that squash doesn’t get the recognition he feels it deserves, particularly in this country where players like James Willstrop, fellow Yorkshireman Nick Matthew, Peter Barker, Jenny Duncalf and Laura Massaro are among the world’s best.