Madalena Sidoli Meeting Mick Antoniw at the Senedd - Squash Wales

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Madalena Sidoli Meeting Mick Antoniw at the Senedd

30th November 2023

JuniorNational news

Madalena proudly accepted the invitation to meet Pontypridd, MP Mick Antoniw at the Senedd, Cardiff Bay on Tuesday 28th November, 2023, in recognition of her outstanding achievements in squash.

Madalena was given a tour of the Senedd, observed politicians in process, before engaging in an informal chat/interview/ discussion on her squash journey.

MP Mick Antoniw (Pontypridd) was very impressed by Madalena’s squash achievements and proud that local facilities (Llantrisant Leisure Centre) were instrumental in helping to develop elite athletes to reach their potential and fulfil their dreams.

Here is a rough transcript of the conversation between Madalena and Mick

MA: *Asking about school*

MS: I attend Bryn Celynnog Comprehensive school, Beddau, Pontypridd.
Yes, the school is very supportive of me and my squash as they understand if I need to leave school early to travel to a tournament. The teachers always congratulate me too.

MA: *Asking about getting into playing Squash*

MS: I started playing squash about 5 years ago, when I was 7 years old.
My mum got me into squash. She thought I had good hand-eye co-ordination and took me to our local leisure centre Llantrisant junior squash session. The coach Mark Harris was impressed and after a few sessions I was in the squash academy, training in SWNC (South Wales National Centre) in Cardiff under Greg Tippings, Wales National Junior Coach.

MA: *Asking about the leisure center Madalena uses*

MS: I still train at Llantrisant with Mark, who is also the Squash Wales fitness coach. I have a fitness programme for the gym. I play in the adult league. I’m really lucky to have such good squash courts, 3 glass back and 1 enclosed court, so near to where I live that I can walk to.
The leisure centre staff all know me- because I am there so often! They always ask me how I’m doing, if I have any tournaments coming up and if so wish me good luck.

I have a Gold Card (free use of facilities for elite athletes who have achieved National Honours) which really helps me, as it means I can book a squash court for solo training, use the gym and swimming pool, so I have the fitness and stamina to compete in tournaments.

I always feel welcome and supported in Llantrisant leisure centre. It’s really friendly.

MA: *Asking about training*

MS: I train a lot! I attend weekly academy sessions in SWNC with Wales National Junior Coach Greg Tippings and the scheduled National Squad sessions throughout the season. I have target player sessions with Greg too. I attend weekly Strength and Conditioning sessions at SWNC. I have coaching with Nic Birt at Cardiff Squash Club and I’m a member of Rhiwbina Squash club (which I joined during Covid as Llantrisant Leisure Centre was being used as a vaccinations centre). They have all helped me develop and improve my squash. I am so lucky to have the best squash coaches. They have helped me get where I am today.

Thank you, Mark (LLC), Greg (National Squad), Nic (Cardiff Squash Club) and everyone else who has coached me at some point over the years. Thank you Greg, my National coach, for always believing in me and giving me the opportunities to succeed.

MA: *Asking about proudest moments and biggest achievements*

MS: I’m really proud of everything I’ve achieved and it’s really hard to pick just one. Obviously, being selected to play for my country Wales for the first time in 2022 –at the Five Nations in England was a huge honour and then again in 2023 in Scotland.

Being selected for the Wales U15 Mixed European Team, Prague 2023 at 12 years old was a very proud moment.
Becoming ( and keeping the title throughout the different age groups) Wales National Champion is always very special to me.

My most recent tournament- The British Junior Championships 2023 (October) where i placed 3rd and experienced being presented with my trophy on the podium with the other top players in Great Britain was really special, especially when the organisers were talking about squash being in the Olympics for the first time in Los Angeles in 2028, and said “the future stars are amongst us.”

I also loved playing in the Semi-final of the British Championships, as I played on the centre court, all glass court , which was live streamed too!

Other achievements I’m really proud of are being recognised as a target player (one with superb skill and talent) by Squash Wales-Sboncen Cymru
Being an ambassador for ‘sportsaid wales cymru’ who financially support elite and future athletes and share my achievements on their website/blogs.

Being nominated for the Outstanding Achievement Award.
Just knowing other people believe in you and are willing to support you is really encouraging.

I’m also very proud to be sponsored by the international squash brand ‘Karakal’. To sign a contract with Karakal is very special. They are amazing sponsors, who provide me with all my kit, clothing, goggles, racquets, trainers, bags and every other piece of equipment I need I am very proud to be part of the “Karakal Krew”.

I am also proud of my attitude. I have received lots of compliments on how I behave on and off the squash court, on my good sportsmanship, my politeness, my maturity and my focus of determination in my game.

I am really proud of my family, who are always there to encourage and support me. Thank you! – and to my younger siblings who often have to attend my training sessions and don’t complain – (well not much!)

MA: *Asking about upcoming tournaments*

MS: My next tournaments will be in the New Year, after Christmas. I hope to be re- selected for the Five Nations (Wales) and European Team 2024 in Portugal

MA: *Asking about the future*

MS: I would love to be in the Olympics one day! And the Commonwealth Games! – a big dream

I would love to be a professional squash player, travel the world, play and compete on the glass courts in Egypt, Giza, Pyramids and I know it will take a lot of hard work and dedication.

I would like to encourage other children to try squash and maybe this could happen in Wales National Eisteddfod 2024, in Pontypridd, Ynys Angharad Park , (3rd-10th August)

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