$65M squash facility to enhance Guyana’s portfolio to host int’l tournaments
By Akeem Greene
Guyana’s squash is on the fringes of transformation with the construction of a multi-million dollar facility that will house Doubles courts for the first time in the country.
Doubles courts are larger than a standard squash court.
The new facility, which will be built at the National Racquet Centre, Woolford Avenue, Georgetown, is funded by the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sport at the approximate cost of G$65 million, and should be ready for usage within six to eight months.
Minister Charles Ramson Jr. made this announcement on Saturday and members of the Guyana Squash Association (GSA) and national players welcomed it with cheers after he further indicated that construction is to commence on January 9.
In detailing some of the plans, the minister revealed the building would cost approximately G$25M while the internal fittings for the courts are about G$40M.
To fast-track the process, the plan is to begin the installation of equipment at an appropriate point during construction so as not to wait until the building is finished to commence inputting the internal fittings.
Noting it is a joint effort between the National Sports Commission (NSC) and GSA, the minister firmly believes the completion of this facility will place Guyana in good standing to host Central American and Caribbean (CAC), and Pan American Championships in the near future.
“Once it is completed, we will be able to put our bids in of hosting seniors games, and all of the sports we have identified as core sports, for which squash is one of them, we are looking to have the larger Championships being held here,” Ramson Jr. told the gathering.
According to Ramson Jr., the aim is to host the Senior Pan American Championships which would be a “big achievement” for Guyana and it will increase the competitive pool.
“It is important we set our targets early about what we want to do and take all of the sports and sports in general,” he lamented.
There is also the “unquantifiable factor” of inspiring the next generation to represent Guyana by being able to see top-level athletes compete in Guyana, and ideally, create a winning culture.
Additionally, Director of Sport, Steve Ninvalle, who had touted the construction of the courts in July as Guyana prepared to host the Junior Caribbean Area Squash Association (CASA) Championships, noted its importance that infrastructural development is vital to support the developing Sport Academies.
“This shows that we are doing exactly what we said we would do. I know we are speaking about squash but other disciplines will be able to have this sort of support from the government,” Ninvalle expressed.
Owen Verwey, GSA President, expressed similar by stating, “I am very much impressed that we have moved from the stage of speaking to now seeing implementation in a real form, that does not always happen but where we are going with the reality, is going to take us to a much higher level.”
Adorning that Guyana’s squash has done tremendously well within the Caribbean, this facility will help them make an impact at the international level, and it boosts their capacity to do more intense training.
Meanwhile, the minister said the works on the tennis court will soon be completed and construction will continue on the home for badminton and table tennis, with the foundation already being laid.
The National Racquet Centre opened in November 2011.