Mac is happy glass court will stay

There had been a lot of fanfare
beforehand and it was fully deserved. The Cayman Open started on Sunday at the
South Sound Squash Club with preliminary matches but really took off on
Wednesday night when it moved to a magnificent glass court in Camana Bay.

It had rained heavily the previous
night much to everyone’s relief after weeks of almost totally dry weather, but
concerned the Cayman Open organisers somewhat because no one wants to have
their parade rained on.

Thankfully, the weather gods were
on the side of organiser Dan Kneipp, squash president Jeff Broderick, the whole
team that put it together and Premier McKeeva Bush who gave a speech at the
opening ceremony.

Mr. Bush praised the squash
organisers for their dynamism in recent years and said that he hopes the junior
programme will grow to be as big and successful as the way that swimming coach
Dave Kelsheimer developed it when he arrived in Cayman in the early Nineties.

Mr. Bush said he could see the
value of the sports tourism product in squash. Around 30 players from all over
the world have competed this week and they have brought friends and family,
spending invaluable dollars here.

He said: “What impresses me about
squash is that they have a really vibrant youth programme. I recall when I
first became minister and how well the swimming programme did and the Fraser
boys (Shaune and Brett) came out of that.

“And now Mr. Kneipp who is such a dynamic
figure is building up the youth development programme. This is the kind of
programme the government wants to support.”

Mr. Bush also said in his speech
that he was pleased that Cedrus Investments has bought the glass court so it
won’t be leaving the island when it finishes in Camana Bay on Saturday night.

It means that there will be plenty
of opportunities to hold more tournaments, particularly colleges from the US
coming here.

West Bay MLA Cline Glidden Jr also
said a few words in his role as a junior tourism minister. He did mention too
the interest being shown in his squash exhibition game against sports minister
Mark Scotland on Scotland. CG joked that the winner will play McKeeva next
year.

Nicola Grainger, former world No.2,
currently ranked No.8, and president of the Women’s International Squash
Players Association, said how wonderful it is to be back in Cayman.

She said it is one of her favourite
places on the WISPA tour and can’t wait to return in better shape because she
is just getting over serious injury.

Cayman’s Marlene West was having
her first serious contest since knee surgery last summer. She did not look
rusty initially and pushed the world’s No.11 Camille Serme of France in the
first game before losing 3-0.

Serme said after that West was much
better than she expected!

Cayman’s Cameron Stafford is the
Caribbean Under-19 champion and it showed as he comfortably won 3-0 again
Jamaican Anthony Dougall.

The final match of the night saw
the women’s world No.1 Nicol David ease her way into competition by taking on
world No.17 Jaclyn Hawkes of New Zealand in three games.

Before that final match four New
Zealanders, including Cayman Radio’s Koro Vaka’uta, performed the haka. It
didn’t help!

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Grainger with Mr. Bush
Photo: Matthew Yates
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