Best lights up squash court in TT
Fourteen-year-old Barbadian squash sensation Meagan Best caused a spectacular upset Tuesday on Day 2 of the 24th Caribbean Senior Squash Championships at the Queen’s Park Squash Complex in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad, when she defeated the No.2 seed Ashley Khalil of Guyana in straight games. She became the youngest ever female finalist in the history of the event which was first held in 1977.
Best has enjoyed much success this year, winning the Barbados U-15 and U-17 titles in March, then becoming the youngest ever national ladies squash champion in April, and then winning her fourth straight Caribbean age group title last month in the Caribbean U-15 final in Cayman Islands, while helping the Barbados girls team clinch their second successive team gold medal at the 34th Caribbean Junior Squash Championships.
But this achievement in Trinidad and Tobago is her greatest thus far.
Seeded at No. 3/4 at this event, the powerfully built Best stormed to an emphatic 11-6, 11-5, 11-4 victory over the reigning Caribbean U-19 junior champion, Larissa Wiltshire of Guyana, in their quarterfinal match in the morning and then returned in the evening’s semifinal to emphatically dispatch the No. 2 seed from Guyana, Ashley Khalil, 11-7, 11-5, 11-5 to reach her first ever Caribbean senior ladies final and in so doing became the youngest ever player to do so.
Best’s opponent in this evening’s women’s final was Barbados’ top player for the last 15 years, Karen Meakins, the top seed and three-time defending Caribbean ladies champion, who reached her record 10th successive Caribbean final after two fairly routine victories yesterday.
Meakins defeated Guyanese Akeila Wiltshire 11-7, 11-4, 11-4 in her quarterfinal match and in her subsequent semi-final dispatched Wiltshire’s Guyanese teammate, the No. 3/4 seed Mary Fung-a-Fat, 11-4, 11-8, 11-8 in a repeat of the 2014 Caribbean women’s final that Meakins also won.
In other results involving Barbadian players, 16-year- old Amanda Haywood, defeated Akeila Wiltshire in the 5-8th playoff semi-final after brilliantly pulling back from a 0-2 deficit to win 6-11, 7-11, 11-7, 11-9, 11-9 and was slated to play Akeila’s younger sister, Larissa, for 5th place this evening .
Barbadian teenagers Jada Smith-Padmore (14) and Chelsie Samuel (13) both won twice yesterday and faced each other today in the ladies consolation plate final. Smith-Padmore defeated Bermudans Meagan Jackson 3-1 and then Morgan Lightfoot 11-6, 11-9, 11-5. Samuel first defeated the experienced Jamaican Nathlee Boreland 3-0 and then another Bermudin player, Grace Edy, in three close games 13-11, 11-8, 11-9.
The men’s final will be between two Jamaicans, Chris Binnie, the six-time champion, who reached a record eighth successive men’s final when his Guyanese opponent, Sunil Seth, unfortunately had to retire with what looked to be a serious ankle injury at 2-all in the fifth game in their semi-final. Binnie will be faced by compatriot Lewis Walters who upset the No. 2 seed, Cameron Stafford of the Cayman Islands in three close and hard-fought games.
The team competition for the women, men and veterans will start from 9 a.m. Thursday and will conclude on Sunday, August 14th.