Squash team on quest to rekindle Caribbean dominance

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By Akeem Greene

From 2005 to 2016, the Guyana Squash Association locked away the cherished Caribbean Area Squash Association junior title in their cabinet.

Their stronghold came to a dramatic end in 2017 on home turf as Barbados took home the coveted silverware. With the 2018 tournament quickly approaching, Guyana is aiming to regain the crown.

Though 2017 was a tough pill to swallow for the locals, they have shrugged off those painful memories and are approaching this year’s tournament, scheduled for July 8-14 in Jamaica, with great optimism.

Head Coach Carl Ince in an exclusive interview with News Room Sport, stated that while they are not currently the best team, they are ready to give a good account of themselves.

“I am not saying we are the best at the moment; Barbados are still very (good), but we will give them a run. This year it is going well; we realise we have to step up on our fitness,” Ince explained.

A big change will come in the artillery since there will be no Taylor Fernandes, who won the Under-19 title in her last year, no Larissa Wiltshire or Benjamin Mekdeci.

Madison Fernandes and Nicholas Verwey are just two of the many players engaged in daily practice at the Georgetown Club Courts

The hopes for individual titles will come from the ever consistent Shomari Wiltshire, who won the Under-15 title last year, Rebecca Lowe and Sarah Lewis.

Furthermore, Ince cautioned against placing too much pressure on the newcomers.

“We have to be very careful not to put them under too much pressure by telling them they are expected to do what the others did. We have trained them well and tell them what they need to do in order to play better squash (and) play their best.”

He added, “I think it is always good to have new ones coming up, with different technique, different styles, and they will look at the others who had performed and I have no doubt they will perform.”

In retrospect to the 2017 performance, the veteran coach contended that complacency stepped in and they are now conscious of what needs to be done to return home with the silverware.

“After winning for so many years, we would get complacent in some areas. We tightened up on those areas and of course we have younger players now. We are on schedule, we have done most of the work that we usually do by this time of the year,” he stated.

In the lead up to the championships, the players are expected to shift their focus from fitness and technique to more match situations.  A squad with roughly 20 members is expected to be named shortly.

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