In the inaugural birthday honours for King Charles III, our very own Sian Johnson was awarded a British Empire Medal for her services to Squash In Wales. As we approach the announcement of the New Years Honours list, we wanted to take the opportunity to catch up with Sian and talk to her about winning such a prestigious honour.
SQW: Hi Sian, or as we should say say Sian Johnson BEM officially, how did you find our about winning the award in the first place, is there an official letter you receive in advance or did you just find out through the news?
SJ: That sounds a little grand. I found out about the award when I received an official letter from the Cabinet Office telling me I was receiving a British Empire Medal for Services to Squash in Wales.
SQW: It’s such a special achievement to be granted a BEM – what were your first thoughts when you found out and how did it make you feel?
SJ:I could not believe it at first. I was shocked, surprised, pleased and proud in equal measure. To be acknowledged in this way is very gratifying.
SQW: Going back to the start now I guess – but what got you into Squash in the first place and why did you choose it over any other sport?
SJ: I played tennis when I was in my teens in Llanelli LT&SRC. Graham Griffiths was the squash coach there and he suggested I tried squash to keep up my racket skills during the winter months. So, it is down to him that I began playing squash. It began with Saturday morning junior sessions and progressed from there. The more I played, the more I came to love the game. I soon realised it was great for my fitness and I enjoyed the competitiveness of the games.
SQW: Now that you’ve got the BEM, are there any other achievements or accolades you would like to receive in the future for your work in Squash, or anything you do outside of the Squash world?
SJ: Working in squash is really rewarding seeing the youngsters playing, progressing and developing. I don’t think anyone who coaches in any sport does it so they can receive accolades, although they are very nice when you do get them. On a personal level, I would like to hopefully win a European or World Masters title in the future.
SQW: Finally, what’s been your most memorable moment in your Squash career, either on the court or as part of your training and coaching work?
SJ: Choosing my most memorable moment in squash is very difficult. One of them has to be selection for the Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur, but there are many others. What is very satisfying as a coach is to see the juniors progressing, developing and competing successfully in tournaments.
SQW: Thanks so much for agreeing to speak with us Sian.
SJ: Thank you.