$18,000 of gear to squash kids up

The main benefit of hosting the
Cayman Open squash tournament here is that the juniors get great a chance to
meet and watch some of the best players in the world here.

It’s also provided new equipment to
the kids. Last year it was $10,000 worth and on Monday the youngsters were
presented with $18,000 of Dunlop and Wilson gear.

Knockabout rallies with the top
pros after they have played is another fillip for the children.

On top of that all of the event
profits go to the junior squash programme and the upgrade of the club facilities
in South Sound.

Youth development coach Dean Watson
said: “This is wonderful. Prior to last year’s and this year’s event we’ve had
racquets that are around five years old. So having brand new equipment which is
more than ample enough to provide for them is a wonderful opportunity for them.

“Having the right equipment makes
all the difference and hopefully they’ll come back and we’ll have tons and tons
of kids playing at grassroots level.”

Cline Glidden, West Bay MLA who is
also in the Ministry of Tourism, said: “This is a great programme. We’re proud
to be associated with the squash club. We think they’re doing great work not just
for the international side of the sport but also for local and also for giving
an opportunity for our kids.

“They have a school programme and
are working on an after school programme. They hope to be getting a bus so that
they can pick kids up after school.

“The after school programme
obviously has great interest for parents because in today’s society, during
school hours parents know where their kids are but their real interest is
having a good, wholesome activity for their kids after school, so we’re very supportive.

“Not only are they giving us
exposure to the professionals, they are concentrating on the young people as
well.”

Scotland said: “The squash
association is quite ambitious in hosting this tournament. I think they’ve done
a good job to pull it off. And even though the government couldn’t sponsor them
to the extent they wanted, we made sure the level of our sponsorship went to
the provision of equipment for the youth programme and to make sure access to
the school programme is there.

“We’re glad to see them pull it off
and get the equipment to the kids today.

“Cayman sports is making its mark
in the last few months. We’ve recently had the NORCECA beach volleyball,
CARIFTA track and field and now this squash tournament.

“We’re doing what we can to show
that Cayman is a premier location for sports tourism and the feedback that
we’re getting is that’s what we are.”

Watson beat the Barbadian Gavin
Cumberbatch 3-0 in his opening match on Monday at the South Sound Club. Cumberbatch
is the former Caribbean Champion. Watson won the inaugural Cayman Open last
year against all expectations.

“I hadn’t played Gavin before and
couldn’t really remember the match last year when Jake Kelly beat him,” said
Watson. “Jake was hot on his feet in that match and running all over the place.
So I really didn’t know what to expect.

“I’d heard a few people say that
Gavin hadn’t really trained much so it made me confident. After the first few
points my confidence went straight up and was a little too keen and perhaps
made a few stupid shots.”

But stupid shots or not, Watson
comfortably won. He now faces Trinidad and Tobago’s Colin Ramasra at Camana Bay
tonight. Ramasra beat Jake Kelly on Tuesday night.

“We’re both going to be playing on
a different court that we’re used and it’s going to be outside, so it’s going
to be hot and sticky and the ball’s going to be bouncing all over the place,”
said Watson.

“But he’s a pro and
does this for a living, so it’s going to be tough and I’m hoping that I’ll play
a similar game to last time and if he hasn’t changed his game hopefully that’ll
work.”

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