National squash coaches, Dean Watson and Karen Cheung, are planning a junior tour on behalf of the Cayman Island Squash Association.
This year an extended group of seven boys and four girls will be participating in the Canadian and US Junior events.
The Canadian and US events have grown in popularity among regional players over the last three or four years, becoming the second most important events behind the Caribbean Championships.
Last year there were between 25-30 Caribbean players representing Cayman Islands, Trinidad, Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica and BVI.
The Canadian and US Opens are major junior events attracting the best players from around the world. The US alone attracts several hundred players from around the globe.
The girls’ coach, Cheung said: ‘This tour forms part of the preparation for the Caribbean Championships next summer.
‘The girls’ team is just starting to get established and we have some promising girls in the Under-17 and U19 age categories.’
While the girls are not expecting to bring home any silverware, Cheung is confident they will compete well.
Cheung is the former national coach of the Trinidad and Tobago Boys and Girls teams when the girls won a Caribbean gold medal in 2005.
She added: ‘I feel our national players need this exposure for competition and inspiration. It will also help to keep abreast with our regional rivals.
‘In my experience players typically return with a stronger work ethic, realising that, here in Cayman they are big fish in a small pond. There is no doubt they will grow from the experience. It will have a ripple effect in the wider squash community, as our grass roots juniors look to them for inspiration.’
Of course, any major venture like this requires financial backing. Cheung is a recent addition to the Cayman contingency to serve as the girls’ coach, chaperone and mentor.
The additional amount required to accompany them on the trip is $5,300. The juniors are working hard on and off the court to help raise these extra funds, in addition to studying for end of term exams. Some events include a boat trip, car wash and junior party.
The car wash and boat trip are during Pirates Weekend. The boat trip departs from Don Foster’s on South Sound to go to Hog Sty Bay on Saturday 8 November at 2.30pm.
The ticket includes all inclusive drinks, while watching the Pirates land. From 10am on the same day you can have your car washed in the car park of the South Sound Squash Club from 10.00am-3.00pm.
A junior party is in the planning for Friday 28 November from 6-9pm, also at the South Sound Squash Club.
The CINSA is seeking a single sponsor to make up the shortfall. In return, the sponsor will receive international exposure at events as well as recognition in the local media and squash websites. Other contributions of any size are welcome.
Any organization or individual interested in supporting CINSA in this venture, should contact Karen Cheung at [email protected] for further information.