March is traditionally when Cayman
celebrates Honouring Women Month and it is fitting that Janet Sairsingh is one
of the first to get that accolade.
As an Assistant Vice President and
longstanding team member of Aon Insurance Managers (Cayman) Limited, Sairsingh
knows about teamwork.
Much of her teamwork and team
building skills were honed in her youthful years through her involvement in
She undoubtedly knows about sports,
having excelled for many years as one of the top in netball, bodybuilding,
badminton and more recently in squash.
Sairsingh is among several women
who are being recognized by the Department of Sport as part of its observation
of Honouring Women Month.
“Mrs. Sairsingh combines her love
for netball with tenacity, determination and consistent high performances,” said
Merta Day, Coordinator of Women’s Sports in the Department of Sport.
“In addition, she is known for
being active in the community and we are pleased to recognise her outstanding
civic and sporting contributions.”
Sairsingh said: “This is a good way
to celebrate women and encourage them to get involved.”
She also benefited from the 2008
Honouring Women Month, after writing an essay on the reason she would like to
lose weight and regain control of her life.
Sairsingh, who was inactive for
several years and had gained weight after becoming a parent said she was
encouraged to participate in HWM as a means of getting back into sports and
starting her weight loss programme.
“Merta knew from my bodybuilding
days that whatever I wanted to achieve, that I had the determination to stick
with a required programme, so I accepted the challenge,” she said.
She completed a six-week programme and
lost 26 pounds, and continued on her own to lose over 50 pounds. Noting that
she had to relearn things she always knew, she focused on changing her diet and
taking time to care for herself.
“I started walking first, and then
cardio at the gym, and then introduced light weight-training after eight weeks.
I started playing squash again and it felt good to be active again. Going to
the gym or playing squash is now part of my weekly routine. I try to do some
physical activity at least five days per week.”
Like most young girls growing up in
Cayman, Sairsingh began playing netball in primary school.
She continued playing in the adult
league and was good enough to play for the national side.
Over the years, she won several
local titles, including “Shooter of the Year” and “Best Defender”.
She also won a Shooting Competition
at the Netball Caribbean Championship but is unable to recall the exact years
of these awards because she lost her certificates and trophies during Hurricane
As a former badminton champion for
many years, the highlight for Sairsingh was winning the triple crown (singles,
ladies doubles and mixed doubles) in 1987.
While netball was her passion, she
took up squash as an alternative sport. She also excelled in this game and took
various club championships.
She represented the Cayman Islands
as a member of the women’s over-40 age group team at the Caribbean championship
in 2009, which Cayman hosted.
She won the title in the division
and was placed second in the women’s open division. Cayman won the veterans
event and was second in the overall tournament.
“From team sports, I have learnt
the importance of working together to accomplish a common goal.
“By being team captain and vice
captain at the national and international levels, I have learnt to shoulder
responsibility and to cope with defeat. I learnt about being consistent,
remaining focused and concentrating on my goals.”
Sairsingh attributes her successes
to discipline learnt from sports.
“Working full time, attending to family life,
studying and training for the national team was not easy but I learned the dynamics
of time management and balancing work with play.
“This has shaped the person I am a
wife and mother, a professional person, an administrator, an umpire, a coach
and an athlete.”
Sairsingh cites many gains from
being involved in sports, including the numerous opportunities she had to
travel to represent Cayman and to visit countries that would otherwise not have
been in her plans.
“I feel strongly that I and other
players should give back to sports by guiding and mentoring young players.”
It is why Sairsingh is heavily
involved in coaching and sport administration.
She is a director of the Cayman Islands National
Squash Association and the South Sound Squash Club. She assists with coaching
squash beginners on Monday nights. In netball, she is an umpire for the league
and assists in other ways, whenever she is needed.