Ready for action

junior squash players confident ahead of championships

The Barbados Squash Association (BSA) may not have a permanent home but that will not stop their juniors from serving up a big performance at the 2015 Junior Squash Championships being hosted on the island next weekend.

Speaking to the media during a press conference held this morning at the Barbados Olympic Association, coach and former national player Rhett Cumberbatch said Barbados’ chances with home court advantage looked good and they were ready to take on the rest of the Caribbean.

“Guyana won for the last nine years and the last time we beat Guyana was when I was playing on the team. Based on what I have seen so far it will be fairly close. But we did our groundwork and everybody is ready. I just want to see the other competitors because once I see what I am working with I will know how we can edge them out.

“My players are confident and most of them feel that they can actually win which is the right mind [set]. It is going to be us and Guyana and as I told them already once we can get in two finals and get Guyana out of one final we should be good,” Cumberbatch said.

He added: “We don’t get as much time as we would like [to train] but we get enough. We do like two hours [training] but now it’s vacation we have more time on the court. We could only use what we have and if we had more courts it would have been better. We do off court work also like going to the Garrison and training.”

This is the fifth year that Barbados will be hosting the championship which according to president of the BSA Monty Cumberbatch will cost around BDS$110,000. Cumberbatch said that even though Barbados junior squash players have performed considerably well on the international stage they still needed more facilities.

“Last year the juniors did very well in the United States and Canadian open. We had a third place and a fifth place in Canada in respective categories and this is against teams from around the world. So the juniors that we have here are performing at a high level. But clearly there are not enough facilities for them to use. They are practising a maximum of two hours a day and if you want to be world class and compete with the world class athletes you need to be practising at least five hours a day. Unfortunately we don’t have those resources available,” Cumberbatch said.

However the president said through Kensington Oval Management Inc BSA will be seeking to lease a building which will be a joint partnership with another sporting organization whom he said would remain nameless because of unsettled contractual agreements between the two groups.

Bermuda, who hosted the 2014 championship in which Barbados came fourth with four gold medals, are scheduled to participate along with Jamaica, Cayman Island, Trinidad and Tobago and undisputed champions Guyana. Reigning under-15 junior squash queen Amanda Haywood who is scheduled to play in the U17 division this year will lead the females. While Benjamin Griffith who is currently based at Avon Old Farms School in Connecticut is back home and will lead the males.

The team will be managed by Josephine Haywood. There are a few new faces in the line-up and among the girls will be Chelsie Samuels in the u-13 along with twin sisters Jada and Jodi Smith-Padmore in the under-19. They will join the experienced Megan Best who is the current U13 queen from last year and will be looking to make an impression this year in the U15 showdown. Meanwhile the boys have the services of Reginald Brewster in U19, Shemane Griffith the younger brother of Benjamin in the U17 along with Khamal Cumberbatch in U15 and Darien Benn in U13. Both Shemane and Cumberbatch won respective titles in the U15 and U13 divisions last year.

The championships which are being sponsored by Jammin Catamaran Cruises run from July 18 to 25 at the BSA club and Pleasant Place Squash Club with more than 120 junior players from eight Caribbean islands vying for supremacy.

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