Cayman talent can earn title

The best squash players in the Caribbean arrived in Cayman yesterday for another huge tournament.

Hennings

Hennings is a consistent performer. Photo: Ron Shillingford

This time it is the Cayman Contractor Store 2009 Caribbean Squash Championships which begins, with over 100 of the best athletes in the Caribbean taking part in the event.

Barbados, Bermuda, Guyana, Jamaica and Trinidad have sent teams of around 20 players each to compete against the best Cayman has to offer.

The current powerhouses in Caribbean squash are Barbados and Trinidad, but Cayman will be one of the dark horses of the event and could easily take some unexpected medals.

Tournament organiser Dan Kneipp from South Sound Squash Club said the event has a lot to offer Cayman. ‘It’s obviously great for us to host this event at home. It was supposed to be held in Trinidad, but they cancelled at the last minute, so Cayman has quickly stepped forward.

‘We have so many great people and sponsors in Cayman that allows us to host a tournament of this size with only eight weeks’ notice. It’s great to have the event at home, it brings a group of sports tourists on island during the quiet time, but it also showcases to our juniors what the best players in the Caribbean can do, and what our juniors need to do to get to that level.

‘It shows them the level of discipline and dedication that are needed to be the best.’

The Cayman Contractor Store 2009 Caribbean Squash Championships will consist of a men’s and women’s championships, followed by a team championships. The top seed for the men’s tournament is Shawn Simpson from Barbados, with Cayman’s Dean Watson also leading the event. Cayman’s other top ranked men are Cameron Stafford and Jake Kelly who are both in the top 10 ranking.

The women’s event is led by Nicolette Fernandes from Guyana. The former Caribbean Champion has been ranked as high as 28 in the world.

Cayman’s women will be led Chantelle Day along with Samantha Hennings, Marlene West and Caroline Heal. Samantha’s father Mark is the owner of Cayman Contractor Store. He is in the vets team.

Cayman will be a strong contender to take a medal in the team event, with John Macrury expected to win his age category. Former Cayman Commonwealth Games representative and current over 40s Caribbean champion Jeff Broderick would have been the favourite to defend his title, but he’s still recovering from hip surgery and won’t be able to compete.

The tournament runs until Saturday with matches going from 10am-2pm and 6pm-10pm. Viewing at South Sound Squash Club is free. More information is available at www.squashsite.co.uk/caribbean

It’s great to have the event at home, it brings a group of sports tourists on island during the quiet time, but it also showcases to our juniors what the best players in the Caribbean can do, and what our juniors need to do to get to that level.

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