Dubbo squash rising star Sophie Simpson has been named one of the lucky few to receive a Commonwealth Games Grant.
Simpson was named one of 41 athletes to be recognised by Commonwealth Games for their outstanding talent and potential in their respective sport.
Simpson was also the first to receive the grant for Squash NSW while a male player in Coffs Harbour also was fortunate enough to be recognised.
Simpson has received $1000 in the grant and was understandably quite pleased to be named a grant recipient.
"I'm stoked," she said.
"It will help out a lot.
"I live out in Dubbo and we only have two courts.
"There isn't many coaches.
"So I'll do a lot better for Dubbo squash wise."
Simpson said lack of courts and coaches in town is something which makes competitions more difficult, especially when other competitors have full-time access to facilities, as well as another concept which a lot of country kids struggle with.
"The travel to the competitions too (is tough)," she said.
Simpson was quite aware she was the first recipient of a grant and knows there is still work to do.
"First out of two people and the first girl," she said.
"There's another boy from Coffs."
Receiving the grant capped off what was a pretty incredible individual year for Simpson who also won the state championship.
Simpson competed in the NSW State Squash Championships in Thornleigh late last year and won the under 17 state title in a tight five-set match which had spectators on the edge of their seats.
Simpson believes a lot of her success came from the training she had during the COVID-19 lockdown period from August through to October in 2021.
"I started training during COVID (lockdown) and we starting building a squash court," she said.
"I was out there everyday training everyday for it.
"(The lockdown period) was a blessing and curse."
Looking ahead to 2022, Simpson said she has a few things in mind on what she wants to achieve over the next 12 months while still continuing to improve.
"Training and competing," she said.
"I have a few goals.
"As well as that I'll be travelling to competitions mainly in Sydney or up at Coffs Harbour."
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