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Leading junior squash player Emma Millar has a busy year ahead. She’s left the comforts of home and moved to Hamilton, enrolled in two university degrees, found a new club and coach and has tournaments to win.
Millar has been awarded a Sir Edmund Hillary Scholarship to attend Waikato University where she’s studying degrees in management and sport and leisure studies. Hillary Scholarships are awarded to students who are high academic achievers and who show potential in the arts or sport. Scholars have their course fees covered, receive specialist coaching and mentoring and take part in personal development and leadership programmes.
Eighteen year old Millar hails from Paraparaumu on Wellington’s Kapiti Coast. She’s been playing squash since she was seven and is the current New Zealand Junior Open Champion. “My father played squash and we were always down at the club so it wasn’t long before I’d picked up a racquet.” This year though, rather than playing for Wellington she’ll play for Waikato and be coached by Lindsey Walters.
“I found out about the Hillary Scholarships through other squash players and decided I should apply. It’s such a relief not to have to pay study costs and it’s a huge comfort to know that there are staff around to support us on campus as we try to juggle sporting and academic success. Already I’ve found talking to them really useful.”
Squash Waikato is a Hillary programme partner. Partners provide specific sport support to Hillary Scholars regarding skills training, monitoring performance and progress. They assist in identifying prospective Hillary Scholars and in the recruitment process.
Squash Waikato manager Karina Ormsby says Squash Waikato is excited to have Millar involved in the Waikato Junior Coaching Programme and Squash Academy. “She’s a talented player and we’re pleased to have her in contention for representing Waikato at Nationals this year, and in years to come. The Sir Edmund Hillary Scholarship is a great incentive for talented individuals to study in the Waikato and provides our players with the opportunity to concentrate on their training, competition and studies without the stress of fees.”
It will take Emma Millar five years to complete her BMS/BSpLS and she’s keen to continue her squash career, chasing New Zealand titles and selection in national teams.