The Digicel Caribbean Area Squash Association (CASA) Junior Championships which will be held in Guyana from July 8–14 is expected to showcase the best junior squash players in the Caribbean with competition among players from seven different countries.
The event was officially launched yesterday in the Campbell Room of the Georgetown Sports Club, Camp Street, and it is being staged by the Guyana Squash Association (GSA) in collaboration with Digicel, Banks DIH and Ansa McAl.
The competition is scheduled to be held at the courts of the Georgetown Sports Club and the newly-completed courts of the Racquet Centre built by the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sport on Woolford Avenue.
The championships will feature competition in the individual age categories as well as team competitions.
The competition was last held in Guyana in 2003, and much is expected of the Guyana team as they are performing on home soil in a bid to maintain their stronghold on the title. According to GSA Tournament Director Deje Dias, Guyana has had a hold on the title for the past six years and they are looking forward to keeping up their good record.
President of GSA Andrew Arjoon is very confident in the local team’s capacity, declaring this year’s team to be one of the best he has seen in the past years.
“Right now our team is the strongest and fittest team I’ve seen in a number of years. The team has been practising each day of the week except Sunday and I know that we are fielding a very, very strong team,” Arjoon stated.
Guyana has already listed a squad of 34 players, all of whom will be allowed to participate in the tournament in the individual categories. However, the individuals who will be in the team segment have not been named as yet. Vice President of GSA David Fernandes pointed out that in having the competition in Guyana there is no demand for the members of the team to be named since Guyana is afforded the privilege of naming the members to participate in the team segment of the championships after the individual events.
Arjoon said that the strength of the team is expected to lie with the girls and will no doubt include reigning Caribbean girls under-19 champion Ashley Khalil, along with the Jeffrey sisters, Keisha and Kayla.
Meanwhile in the boys category, Dias said that the team’s strongest competition is expected to come from the Cayman Islands team, gauging from the competition they put forth at last year’s championships. “Our boys came a narrow second to the Cayman last year, they’re definitely on our radar but given the nature of Caribbean squash a fierce combatant can be met in the first round,” Dias said.
The overseas-based teams were expected to begin arriving from yesterday, with competitions scheduled to begin from tomorrow morning at 9am.
Also present at the press conference were representatives of the three sponsors. Speaking on behalf of Digicel, which is also the official sponsor of squash in Guyana, Public Relations Officer, Shonette Moore expressed the company’s elation at being able to be a part of the event. Digicel last year November signed a three-year sponsorship contract with the GSA. Similar sentiments were also expressed by representatives of Banks and Ansa McAl. Meanwhile sponsors and officials from the GSA took the opportunity to encourage the public to view the tournaments and admission is free.