Thursday, November 30, 2023

Comeback Queen Lisa Camilleri excels on and off court

Aussie ace Lisa back to top form after launching website for athletes while out injured
By KIM SCHRAMM – Squash Mad Australian Correspondent

Lisa Camilleri at work on her new website
Lisa Camilleri at work on her new website

Australia’s Lisa Camilleri has just received the WSA Vicki Cardwell Comeback Player of the Year Award at the recent World Championships presentation dinner.

A delighted Camilleri said: “I was so happy and honored to receive the Comeback Player of the Year Award. It came as a complete surprise but I was so happy to be recognized and awarded for all my hard work coming back from injury.”

In June 2011 the then 29-year-old from Tully in North Queensland was on cloud nine. She had won 18 WSA World Tour titles and had built her ranking up to a career high 28 before tragedy struck.

Camilleri, pictured right receiving her WSA award from Aussie squash legend Sarah Fitzgerald, recalls her injury as having started with plantar fasciitis. “It’s where you have this horrible heel pain. I struggled with this for seven months before straining my plantar fascia. This caused my whole ankle area to weaken, become very swollen and inflamed to the point where it hurt to walk and stand on my feet.lisasarah

“With all the research and doctors’ advice I received they all suggested that surgery was the last option. I had to first give it 10 to 12 months of rest, elevation and time off my feet to let it heal. In this 12-month period I also undertook three cortisone injections and five PRP (Platelet Rich Plasma) injections but nothing seemed to work,” Camilleri added.

Eventually she had no choice but to go under the knife. It was a mighty risk because it had the potential to end her career. After the 12 months of frustration, Camilleri made a tough call.

She said: “I had no patience left. It was time to get surgery. Keep in mind I was only given 50% chance of coming back to an elite squash level after surgery”.

With 18 months out of the sport and a lot of hard work spent rehabilitating herself back into shape in terms of strength, fitness and confidence Camilleri remembers some dark moments “I still had my doubts mid 2013 whether I was going to be able to play to my full potential again”.

Then in the space of two weeks Camilleri enjoyed tremendous results winning three tournaments in succession: the Queensland Open, Caboolture Open and Mackay Open. Camilleri bounced back into the World Top 50 and enjoyed once again renewed energy and confidence to strive for more.

During her time away from the game Camilleri used her time wisely and built an awesome website to help all squash players worldwide.

Camilleri outlined that Club2Athlete was not just for squash players. “I want to be able to help all athletes and people involved in sport. Sport is such a huge, healthy and vibrant community that I believe needs its own social media website, a website where everyone can gain something beneficial from it – connection, communication, promotion, fundraising and to partner with companies to help them raise sales. I think people can learn and help each other from sharing from their own experiences.”

When asked if she had achieved her vision for Club2Athlete Camilleri explained: “Honestly, it’s only just begun. Creating something as big as Club2Athlete is a never ending project. It’s something that will always evolve, to offer the sporting audience ways they can benefit from the website at some level.”

Camilleri describes Club2Athlete as “a unique place for the sporting world to visit, to gain inspiration, connect with others in their sport, to build their profile and secure sponsorship.”



Picture courtesy of Lisa Camilleri


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