Coronavirus spread puts Junior Caribbean Squash Championships in jeopardy
By Akeem Greene
The Junior Caribbean Squash Championships, slated for Bermuda in July, hangs in the balance given the current coronavirus pandemic.
According to President of the Guyana Squash Association (GSA), David Fernandes, there is a strong possibility the tournament could be postponed or totally shelved in the interest of safety.
Last year, the tournament was held from July 14-20 in Trinidad and Tobago, where Guyana, for the third consecutive year, finished second to Barbados.
The boys, as expected, won gold, while the girls had to settle for bronze. There were four individual titles for the Guyanese.
The players now face the possibility of no tournament in 2020, since the management of Junior CASA could take the same posture as the International Olympic Committee.
The Olympic Games, which were slated to start on July 24 in Tokyo, have been postponed to 2021 due to the deadly virus.
There has also been a cancellation of the Junior Pan-American tournament, which was slated to be held in El Salvador from July 4-11.
The Senior Caribbean Squash championship, fixed for August in Jamaica, could also be in limbo. Guyana hosted the championships in 2019 from August 18-24, where they regained the overall title.
“For sure Junior CASA is in jeopardy now, Senior CASA is until August but as you are well aware, they already cancelled the Olympics, so the Junior CASA, following in the footsteps of the Olympics, more than likely will not be had in July, even if it is held this year, it might be pushed back,” Fernandes told News Room Sport on Tuesday.
However, should the tournament be pushed to a later date, Fernandes explained they are having discussions to allow persons would have become overaged to still compete.
“If there was a specific date for the tournament and even if the date was moved, we would allow those players who would have moved up in age to still participate because it is no fault of their own that they would have aged out of their category. I think the reasonable minds within the senior management of CASA would probably allow such.”
Locally, the GSA has put a halt on impending tournaments such as the Toucan Distributors Skill Level tournament and the Woodpeckers Junior National tournament.
“It is really dependent on the disease and how it progresses for the local tournaments. We have to be patient and cautious in the interest of the health of everyone. Everything depends on how quickly things return to normal; we have to be realistic, the health of the people of Guyana is more important than any sport at this moment.”
He added, “The weekly organised training sessions on Saturday have been suspended in the interest of coach [Carl] Ince’s health as he is a senior and we don’t want anything to happen to him or anyone who participates in the sport.”
The GSA head urged all players to stay fit and eat healthy since fitness is a serious component of the sport.
“In every sport a major component in your performance and to be able to excel is fitness. You don’t need to be on a court or field to stay strong.”
Fernandes also encouraged Guyanese to act responsibly and stay safe as the country seeks to curb the spread of COVID-19.
“In addition to social distancing and washing hands etc., I would like everyone to subscribe to wearing a mask. If you wear a mask, you protect me, if I wear a mask, I protect you.”