One of Cayman’s best junior squash players who hopes to turn pro next year, has been given a unique sponsored opportunity to hone his skills in England.
Active Group, a recently established company in the Cayman Islands, is sponsoring Jake Kelly who took week’s ago became national champion at the club in South Sound.
Kelly will be able to start his coaching career thanks to the support of Active Services (Cayman) Limited. He will be taking the first level squash coaching award in Sheffield, England in January. While in the UK he is entering the Scottish and British Open tournaments.
He is also playing with the Cayman team in the US and Canadian Open Squash Tournaments later this month.
Ian Patrick is Managing Director of Active Group and Chairman of the Cayman Islands National Squash Association.
He said: ‘The junior programme has really evolved and Jake is one of the guys who really wants to pursue squash as a career. And this is an opportunity for him as the new club champion to go abroad as a protege and come back with coaching qualifications.
‘We’re proud to be sponsoring Jake and Active Group’s logo – never stands still – sums him up beautifully.
Kelly, 18, will be staying with his student brother in on a university campus.
Active Group is sponsoring Kelly $2,000. Is it money well spent? ‘We’ll find out!’ laughed Patrick.
Club coach Dean Watson has been instrumental in Kelly’s development over the years. Is he the best junior in the club? ‘Oh, God no!’ joked Watson. ‘Oh, okay, he has some potential but we won’t go into detail.’
Watson does admit though that Kelly has ‘great athletic ability’ and the overseas experience will help mature his game.
‘There’s no problem with his fitness and overall game but he needs to step up because he’s only six months away from entering the seniors which is far tougher than the juniors.
‘We’re going to the Canadian and US Opens but the English and Scottish are somewhat tougher.
‘I know when Alain Mudeen went to them he lost in the first round, so I’m hoping that Jake will make it to at least the second or third round. It all depends on the draw. They are pretty much the toughest tournaments in the world for juniors.
‘I think Jake has a chance as a pro, he’s just got to be a little bit more deceptive and like all sportsmen to be at the top of his game he has to be totally dedicated and single-minded.’