The Digicel sponsored Guyana Squash Association’s national championships commence this evening at the Georgetown Club with the women’s singles title up for grabs since last year’s champion Nicolette Fernandes will not be defending her crown.
Fernandes is ranked number 24th in the world by the Professional Squash Association and her absence will see a host of contenders battling it out for the coveted crown.
Favourites to snatch the title in Fernandes’ absence include Ashley Khalil, Akeila Wiltshire, Taylor Fernandes and Ashley De Groot to name a few.
Khalil, last year’s losing finalist to Fernandes (0-3) is seeded number one, with Wiltshire the number two seed and Taylor Fernandes and Larissa Wiltshire seeded three and four respectively.
Defending men’s champion Nyron Joseph, who defeated Jason Ray Khalil in a tough five setter, is the number two seed.
The number one seed is Alex Arjoon, the 2013 national men’s singles champion while Khalil and Kristian Jeffrey are seeded three and four. Among the veterans former Caribbean men’s singles champion Garfield Wiltshire headlines a stellar field which includes Javed Ali, Douglas De Groot, Joe Meckdeci and Robin Low among others. Wiltshire will contest both the men’s over 35 and over 50 veterans’ divisions.
Play will commence this evening with play in the veterans’ over 35 and over 50 categories.
Meanwhile, President of the Guyana Squash Association (GSA) David Fernandes said he envisions a very competitive Men’s Open division championships.
In a brief comment with Stabroek Sports, he said “I have no idea what to expect, a lot of players have an opportunity to win. We will actually see what will unfold by the weekend. It will be very competitive especially in the men’s division.” According to Fernandes: “It’s in the men’s division that I expect it to be very competitive because we have many talented players and anyone of them could succeed during this week.
Fernandes said it was difficult to predict a winner.
“I really don’t know, I could probably tell you after seeing some of the matches who I think can win because based on training leading up to the tournament, the opportunity is there for anyone to win.”
Quizzed on the Female Open section and if anyone will be able to challenge Ashley Khalil, Fernandes said:” I think it will be very difficult for any young player to beat Ashley Khalil, she is extremely fit and working hard in the gym and I expect her to do well at the Senior CASA.”
Asked about the importance of the event for national selection, he said: “It is always important but they are always some players who will come from overseas that will be eligible and part of the team. He further said that the Senior CASA will be staged during the month of August in Trinidad and Tobago.
The event which is scheduled to conclude on July 3rd, will be held at the Georgetown Club Facility and will feature six categories.
They are Men’s Open, Women’s Open, Novices, Veterans Men’s 35-49 years old, Veteran’s Men’s over 50 years old and Women over 35 years old. Meanwhile, only males will contest the Novices category.