New home for squash
Facility to be hopefully opened next year
Once everything goes according to plan for the Barbados Squash Association (BSA), there will be a spanking new facility in 2015 along with a full time coach.
This was revealed by BSA president Craig Archer during a Press conference yesterday at the Barbados Olympic Association (BOA) to highlight the achievements of six squash athletes who recently returned home from the just concluded Central American And Caribbean (CAC) Games held in Veracruz, Mexico.
Speaking to the media, Archer said the association was faced with two major constraints, with the most significant being the lack of facilities.
“Their are two major constraints right now and the most significant one is facilities. There are not enough courts on the island and having seen the magnificent venue in Veracruz, my goal and the task I am setting myself as an administrator is to try to break ground at least in 2015 on a new facility,” he maintained.
“Hopefully it will be located somewhere in this area near the Gymnasium. We will have to have discussions with the Gymnasium Limited, National Sports Council and the Ministry of Sports.
“We do not have a full time coach to train any of our squad and we are looking to rectify that in the shortest possible time,” Archer said.
Once a spot has been identfied, Archer outlined that the aim of the association will be to build a doubles and at least three singles court.
“We need to have a doubles court because they are no doubles courts in Barbados for the international game. For the international game, there are no doubles courts in the entire Caribbean and many Caribbean countries now have won medals in doubles at the CAC level. And I think in terms of a sports tourism opportunity I think it will be an excellent opportunity for squash and for Barbados to secure a doubles court,” the BSA head explained.
Barbados is also set to host the Junior Caribbean Championships in the second or third week of July 2015. Over 100 squash athletes are expected to compete in the tournament which will run over eight days, with the singles matches being contested over three days and the doubles for the remaining five.
The pair of Karen Meakins and Gavin Cumberbatch, who were responsible for one of Barbados’ four medals at the CAC Games –– capturing bronze medals in the mixed doubles –– were also lauded for their performances.
The medal was Meakins’ fifth at the CAC Games, which includes one silver and four bronze. The only other athletes to achieve more than five medals for Barbados are swimmers Nicholas Neckles who finished with seven and Bradley Ali with six.
“Once again it is a great honour for me to play for Barbados in my third CAC Games and amazing to medal again. It is what any athlete strives for. You work really hard and you hope that you can win some tournaments, and certainly at CAC Games to win I am certainly proud that I was able to do that,” said Meakins who is currently the reigning Caribbean female squash champion.
Meanwhile, Cumberbatch, who captured his third overall medal, said he saw his medal as a representation of the entire men’s team. Originally Shawn Simpson who has captained
the Barbados men’s team since 2007 was supposed to play in the doubles with Meakins, but unfortunately had to leave the team in Veracruz and return home to Barbados earlier than expected due to work obligations.
Barbadian born referees Orson Simpson and Marlon White who were not present during the conference, were recognized for their outstanding performance at the Games with an award compliments the BSA.
The sport of squash has been able to capture six medals overall for Barbados at three successive CAC outings and president of the BOA, Steve Stoute lauded the BSA initiative in recognizing their team and medal winners even though they were faced with a number of challenges in Veracruz.
“I would say that I laud the BSA for this initiative in recognizing their team and medal winners. I would say overall that there were a number of challenges at the games in the State of Veracruz Mexico.
“Accommodation posed a problem for the team in Veracruz, the weather played havoc with a number of sports, especially sailing and there were a number of other structural and administrative problems which made the competition difficult for a number of sports and for a number of competitors. So basically I am very pleased that squash has once again been successful in winning medals,” Stoute said.