The recent visit of squash champ Natalie Grainger is still causing a buzz around Cayman.
It was a spin off from March’s Honouring Women’s Month, organised by Merta Day from the Department of Sports and Mark Chalenor, the world class squash player based here.
The Friday night event was sold out with 125 adult tickets and 75 children tickets roughly another 30 sold at the gate.
Grainger, the world’s No.4 and former No.1, comfortably won all three matches in beating former Junior Caribbean champion Chantelle Day, then Marlene West who was silver medalist doubles CAC games and then club coach Dean Watson, 2008 Cayman National Champion and a past British Open finalist.
Minister Alden Mclaughlin was present to witness the event and lend his support to the event also Joel Francis from the Sports Ministry and Dalton Watler, Director of Sports. Lori Powell from the Cayman Islands Olympic Committee was also present.
The clinics on Saturday were well attended too.
Dalton Watler said: ‘I was very impressed with the players’ level of skills and fascinated with Nathalie’s way of playing the game.
‘In my opinion we need more top class players and games played in Cayman for our people to understand and see things with naked eyes what sport is about.’
Kristina Myren, 14, a junior player, was equally as enthused. “I was amazed. I could never have imagined such powerful shots. It was the best squash I’ve ever seen. After the clinic on Saturday, I feel like my game improved 150 per cent, just by fine tuning some of the basic shots. Natalie and Mark were so friendly and encouraging. I enjoyed every minute of it.”
Camille Josephs is a -player and clinic secretary for the squash club. She said: “It was really exciting seeing a world ranked player matched against the best players at the club.
‘It is quite motivating for females new to squash to know that with the right amount of effort and dedication to the sport the level of success which can be achieved.
‘I had an opportunity to attend the workshop clinics facilitated by Natalie and it was quite interesting to learn that the mental and physical approach to squash game for female athletes is quite different from that of the males. This for me was the highlight of the event and has positively affected my game.
Melissa Evans is a player and treasurer of Cayman Islands National Squash Association.
“It was a wonderful opportunity to see a top world class player – it is not very often that you get to see a squash pro in action. Natalie was a delight to watch. The Saturday clinic enabled Natalie to give valuable tips on playing from an professional athlete’s perspective.”
Chantelle Day, Merta’s daughter, said: ‘It was a great opportunity to play against one of the world’s best. The experience has left me with the motivation to work even harder to improve my game. The weekend was a success and it was clear to see that all present was impressed by Natalie’s fantastic performance as a player and coach at the clinic.’
Kim Rough-Moses is the club’s chair. She also assisted Merta Day in organising the event. ‘The clinic in particular was very well recieved by our members – aimed at female players who came early, prepared and ready to work,’ she said. ‘Their enthusiasm last long after the lessons ended and will continue to inspire and motivate them.’
Jeff Broderick, director on the club committee and also vice-president of the CINSA, said: ‘I thought it was a fantastic night! And I was impressed by Natalie’s ability to play three players at three different levels back to back yet still producing great squash.
‘Same in the clinic sessions Natalie and Mark conducted. She was able to coach players of many different levels while satisfying the varying needs of all her friendly outgoing personality was indeed a pleasure to witness. She is a great coach and the weekend was definitely a success!’
Grainger (top right) dispenses some tips
Grainger (left) and Day played an exhibition