Guyana Squash Association (GSA) president Andrew Arjoon says that squash has had a successful year as most of its major plans came to fruition and its hosting of and the team and individual wins at the Caribbean Area Squash Association (CASA) Junior Championships are among its proudest achievements.
With two thirds of the year already past, Arjoon said “We would classify this as a very successful year. Naturally the hosting of the Junior CASA tournament was our biggest achievement and not only that but also being able to walk away with a clean sweep of the [team] titles, that was very significant for us. I honestly don’t think we had any low points this year, it was another good year for us.”
The championship was largely sponsored by Digicel, through a three-year sponsorship deal the GSA enjoys with them. November will be two years since the deal was inked, Arjoon said, adding that it is significant that the GSA made their sterling achievements during this anniversary period. Also, during the same period, a five-member team including WISPA world ranked player Nicolette Fernandes contested the senior segment of the Championships. Fernandes brought back the Guyana women’s title while Richard Chin secured a runner-up position on the men’s side.
Despite ruling the regional scene, Guyana’s junior players still struggle somewhat in the international arena. Recently, four junior girls contested the World Junior Women’s Championships where they managed a few wins but found it difficult to keep up with the competition. However, Arjoon posited that it was only a matter of time before they catch up to the global competition as he believes that the local players are only struggling because they are currently focusing more on their education. Arjoon also noted that those who do well internationally are those who can afford to be fully dedicated to the sport; as is the case with Fernandes, who continues to make strides internationally and was most recently ranked 43 in the WISPA world rankings.
“We have one truly international player, and if you pay attention to her you’ll see she is a full-time player. And if you look at our junior players, you’ll see all of these children are in school and their priority is education, when you look at some of the junior players that are doing well you will see that most of them are full time players. The American girls’ junior champion, I believe she is being home schooled,” he said.
The GSA president said he is firmly behind the local players and continues to be proud of their achievements on the local, regional and international stages. He believes that as the players advance, they will be able to soar to better heights internationally, once they are dedicated and determined and have support.
Matches for the GASA games were hosted at the Georgetown Club and at the recently completed courts of the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports Racquet Centre. These are currently the only two facilities available for training for the sport, and while the Georgetown Club alone had in the past, proven to be sufficient as the sport develops, time will tell if the centres are enough to keep players in top form.