Squash Championship opens with One Caribbean message
By Akeem Greene
No racquets, no running on courts, no pain of defeat or joy of victory ensued the Georgetown Club for the first time this week, as the Senior Caribbean Squash Championships team events made a colourful opening on Wednesday.
The sweet sound of Steel Pan greeted players from Barbados, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Jamaica, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago and hosts Guyana on entry to the venue.
Players proudly displayed their national flags and all stood astutely to listen the national anthems, showcasing a deep sense of Caribbean pride.
President of the Guyana Olympic Association (GOA), K.A. Juman Yassin, was the first to allude to the togetherness the tournament has brought.
“I told the president [of the Guyana Squash Association, David Fernandes] I felt a lovely buzz and I was very lovely buzz last night and you could see the camaraderie, you could feel the togetherness and that is excellent.”
The tournament which began on Sunday, August 18, has completed both Men’s and Women’s Singles, along with Doubles on Tuesday evening.
Yassin furthered appealed to the parents present that they should encourage their children to find a balance between sports and academics since there are many sterling examples of inspiration.
Fernandes noted, “As we head into the Team Championships, we are sure to witness more of the intense competition that has fuelled the thrills, passion and excitement thus far. There is nothing quite like the buzz in the atmosphere as the team take to the courts for this part of the tournament and no matter how many teams take to the courts and no matter how many CASA’s we take part in, there is always a feeling of anticipation about who will cause the upset this time around.”
Assistant Director of Sport, Melissa Dow-Richardson, reminded all the impact of Guyana’s best and current Caribbean Women’s Champion Nicolette Fernandes had on society in her meteoric rise to number 19 in the world.
Dow-Richardson added, “Sports is not peripheral, but integral to the national economy. Within sports we try to dispel antiquated notions, proving the value of structure and physical education as essential to producing healthy people and societies.”
“This is why at the level of the National Sports Policy [Draft] many areas including sports intellectual property are addressed to protect athletes’ rights, images and the environment of sports in Guyana.”
Philip Fernandes of John Fernandes Limited noted the company he represents is one which promotes goodwill among local communities, Caribbean and further afield.
Guyana Squash Association’s Vice-President Owen Verwey thanked a long list of sponsors, which include E-Networks, ExxonMobil, Digicel, National Sports Commission, Connections Travel Service, Bounty Farm Limited and Parc Rayne Event Centre.
Guyana’s men dropped British Virgin Islands 4-1 in their opening match, while Trinidad and Tobago won 3-2 against Cayman Islands. In group one, Jamaica edged Barbados 3-2.
Likewise, in the Women’s Guyana cantered to a 5-0 triumph over British Virgin Islands, while Barbados got over the line, 3-2, against Cayman Islands. Trinidad and Tobago won 4-0 over Bermuda in the round-robin contest.
Matches continue until Saturday.