Kirsten Gomes- Excelling on all fronts
- Junior squash player holds her own in Senior Championships
It is evident when we take a look at our junior sporting talent in Guyana that many of our promising young stars shine brightly in more than one discipline, and the exceptionally special 15-year-old Kirsten Gomes is certainly another example of this.
Her latest triumph came in the form of a Plate win in the Senior Caribbean Squash Championships in August, hosted on home ground.
The then 14-year-old competed against senior talent from around the Caribbean and proved grit, determination and talent can win out over experience when she battled for the consolation group crown.
The Queen’s College fourth former, who only just turned 15, started the summer break in Trinidad representing Guyana in the Junior Caribbean Squash Championships and overcame long-time rival and reigning champion, Sumira Suleman, in an incredibly exciting match to claim the well-earned Girls Under-15 Caribbean title.
Since 2015, Gomes’ first international showing, Bajan Suleman has pipped her to the post in Barbados, The Cayman Islands, Guyana and Jamaica in consecutive CASA’s. However, Gold belonged to Gomes this year and she took it in style.
More than just a squash player
As with many of the Squash family, Hockey is also a huge part of her life and with a full timetable, Kirsten is heading back to Trinidad again this week to defend the Paragon’s Indoor Hockey Tournament title she and teammates of Bingo Spartans won last year in the Under-16 category.
Kirsten highlights the difference between the two sports saying “although there is some pressure in Hockey being part of a team we share the load; it is not as intense as an individual sport. Also, Squash calls for a much higher level of fitness.”
President of Guyana Hockey Board Philip Fernandes’ consistent efforts to expand hockey by investing in juniors and running an excellent training programme keeps her interested and determined to one day to make the Girls Under-21 National Hockey team.
How does a youngster stay on top of her game in two disciplines and still maintain creditable academic scores?
In 2016, Kirsten placed in the top 1% at the Grade Six National Examinations earning her a spot in the top academic facility. She continues to do well in her studies, excelling in languages; Spanish in particular, but also Portuguese.
In addition, she takes an active part in her school sports activities. “It’s all about balance; balancing that and sports and having a social life with family and friends.”
Not that she has much of it, but in her free time she likes listening to music and drawing or painting. Most important though, is her passion for Squash and Hockey and her dreams and goals to go further and achieve top rankings in Squash.
Her aim is to continue training hard and attaining many more Caribbean titles.
“If it is possible and funding permits I want to go further afield and play in both the Canadian and US Open as well as Junior Pan American Games.”
Such a humble and grounded young lady, Kirsten gives much appreciation and credit to her coaches and all who have assisted her thus far. Most significant in her success is Coach Carl Ince, who encouraged a disciplined approach whenever she stayed over with her family at his highway farm.
Half grimacing and half smiling, she describes “nightly racket swings and daily training drills that had to be completed before swimming and family fun.”
His continued coaching and confidence in her abilities over the years, always pushing for better and better, has been the foundation of her success.
She is also grateful for the input of Garfield Wiltshire; Nyron Joseph; the backbone of Guyana Squash- David and Juanita Fernandes; and her parents for their unconditional love and financial investment. She also credits sports psychology mentoring for making her more confident and giving her true belief in herself.
Ultimately, Kirsten wants to be a role model for other young kids and players. She loves giving back and plans to attain both Levels One and Two Squash Coaching certifications to enable her to assist the coaching of the Junior Squash Programme and Hockey when time permits. (Feature submitted by Guyana Squash Association)