David keeps her record going

The Cedrus Investments Cayman Open
wrapped up on Saturday at the glass court in Camana
Bay and it was another resounding
success for not just the squash community but sports tourism generally in the Cayman Islands.

Coming off the increasingly popular
NORCECA volleyball tournament a couple of weeks earlier, the third staging of
the Cayman Open really reinforced how well established these shores are
becoming for staging world class sports events.

Tournament director Dan Kneipp drew
on his years of experience in staging major squash events in Europe to create
this one and it has grown exponentially since initially held at the

club in South Sound only two years
ago.

Nicol David, the Malaysian
superstar who has dominated the sport for the past five years, loves visiting.
It’s not just because she always wins, but because the vibe, friendliness,
glorious weather and infrastructure makes Grand Cayman a no brainer when
deciding whether to compete here. The $68,500 prize money put up by Cedrus
Investments head honcho Rani Jarkas helped too.

In fact, 17 of the world’s top 20
women players were over. It all went according to seeding and David met England’s Jenny
Duncalf, the world No.2, in the final. David triumphed 11/7, 11/6, 12/14, 11/4
to keep her Cayman record intact.  

David said: “It’s so great being
here in Cayman, the people are so friendly, the sponsors put so much into the
event. Dan does a great job organising it and the crowd really make it a great
tournament. We’re all looking forward to coming back next year for the World
Open.”

In previous Cayman Opens all the
best male players in the Caribbean would
battle it out, but this time the budget extended to bringing over two of the
world’s best, Ramy Ashour, the charismatic Egyptian who was the 2010 world No.1
and is the former world champion, and top Englishman Alister Walker, the world
No.19.

The head to head between Ashour and
Walker stood at 7-0 to the Egyptian, but the tables turned this time.

Walker, originally from Botswana
and who recently took up residence in New York, played exceptionally well and
Ashour’s shot making skills were a little blunted, He often shook his head in
puzzlement after some of his favourite shots found the tin, but Walker was
making him work, not giving him anything easy to pounce on and it paid
dividends. Walker
won 11/5, 13/11, 6/11, 11/8.

In the highly entertaining rematch
of the minister’s challenge, MLA Cline Glidden beat minister of sport Mark
Scotland 14-12 11-7. Glidden joked that Scotland
secretly had intensive squash lessons on a recent visit to London but he said he was ready and so it
proved.

Glidden announced last week that
Cayman has been offered the opportunity to add to hosting next year of the
Women’s World Open by also hosting the Men’s World Open. This is an enormous
compliment for the team behind the tournament’s organisation.

On top of all that, all of the
profits of the 2011 Cedrus Investments Cayman Islands Squash Open goes to the
junior squash programme. Over $32,000 worth of equipment will be donated to the
programme and considerable funding will go to the squash association to allow
free and subsidised squash for Cayman’s juniors. During the tournament over 300
juniors from 12 different schools got free workshops with the visiting pros.

Cayman’s elite and national junior squash teams
got to train on the glass court with profits from the tournament raffle helping
fund the national junior team attending the Caribbean Junior Championships in
Guyana
in July.

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Duncalf, left, could not find the shots to beat David.
Photo: Matthew Yates
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