Camana Bay will be all squashed up

The 2009 Cayman Islands Squash Open was such a resounding success that the 2010 event already has international television coverage confirmed.

The 2010 event will be played on a four-sided glass court on the waterfront at Camana Bay. The competitors will include the top 20 women in the world, the top 10 men and women from the Caribbean, and two of the top five men in the world.

Tournament director Dan Kneipp is pleased that next year’s event will broadcast the Cayman Islands to the world.

‘The combination of the beautiful and dramatic glass court setting at Camana Bay, and the increased prize fund for the pro players mean that we’ll have an international television crew filming the tournament and the Cayman Islands’ tourist attractions’ Kneipp said.

‘It will be broadcast on a range of worldwide stations, including SKY TV and The Tennis Channel.’

The 2009 event had great coverage, including a journalist from Vanity Fair. They published an extensive article online that included a photo of all the top female squash players at Stingray City. The magazine has already indicated an intention to cover the 2010 event.

Vanity Fair covered the inaugural Cayman Open in May because of squash’s popularity on the US East Coast, particularly in private clubs and Ivy League Colleges in the New York, Boston and Philadelphia area.

In the United States squash players are the second most affluent sport demographic, behind polo. Forbes Magazine describes squash as the sport of Wall Street, making it the ideal sport tourism base for the Cayman Islands.

The Cayman Open will attract hundreds of these sports tourist through four separate events. The glass court event at Camana Bay will also have a Pro-Am attracting US and Western European social players.

Earlier in the year there will also be an international junior tournament and a college event.

At the start of the year South Sound Squash Club had six US College teams here for a sports holiday. They’re anticipating 10 teams in 2010.

Attracting sports tourists will be easy with so many of the world’s top players praising the 2009 tournament and their visit to Cayman.

The international squash media covered the many tourist attractions of the Cayman Islands because the top players took advantage of Cayman’s attractions while they were here, including scuba diving and golf.

‘This is one of my favourite places in the world,’ said world No.2 Natalie Grainger from the United States.

World No.3 Rachel Grinham from Australia described it as ‘unbelievable, amazing… hard to find words that do the tournament justice!’.

But the best praise came from Nicol David, the current world champion and world No.1 from Malaysia who extended her stay in Cayman to see more of the island’s attractions.

David said: ‘The Cayman Islands for me is one of the most spectacular islands I’ve ever been to. Instantly there was a welcoming feeling the moment I arrived here and the tournament has been extremely well organised.’

The 2010 Cayman Open will inject a lot into the Cayman Islands economy. ‘The value of the 2010 Cayman Open, including the TV coverage, sports tourism and junior squash programme is over $2.7million,’ Kneipp said.

‘The event will cost a lot less than that to stage, so we know it will be a great benefit to the Cayman economy.’

An integral part of the Cayman Open’s plans is to offer free squash to Cayman youth. This year’s event worked with 13 different Cayman schools allowing hundreds of Caymanians to get squash lessons by the world’s best players.

Over $10,000 worth of equipment was donated to the junior programme and 13 Caymanians were given a ‘squash scholarship’ that included free equipment, membership and lessons.

Janet Sairsingh, a former Cayman champion who is now a director of the Cayman Islands National Squash Association explained how the next Cayman Open hopes to do much more for local juniors.

She said: ‘The free junior squash programme is the backbone of the Cayman Open goals and a way that we think the tournament can really make a difference to the lives of Cayman youth. We aim to be able to offer free squash equipment, membership and lessons to any Cayman junior. Hundreds of Caymanian kids will benefit from this.’

With the extensive international TV coverage, sports tourism, high praise from the world’s best players and the ambitions plans to offer free squash to Cayman juniors, the 2010 Cayman Open is bound to be a huge success. It runs from April 11-17.

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