The 2012 edition of the Caribbean Area Squash Association Junior championship is all set for the beautiful Liguanea Club in Kingston, Jamaica under national coach Karen Anderson and the Jamaican Squash Association team.
Players from 8 nations – Bahamas, Barbados, Bermuda, Cayman Islands, Guyana, Jamaica, Organization of Eastern Caribbean States and Trinidad and Tobago – playing in the individual championships (Boys and Girls U19, U17, U15, and U13) from July 2th – 22nd and then the team event from July 23rd – 26th.
This is the pinnacle of the squash season for all the Caribbean juniors and coaches, and as a Canadian down in the islands for the first time, I can tell you that the energy is absolutely electric. With colorful uniforms, fantastic team spirit and rowdy fans, parents and coaches, so far the tournament has a feel much like a US college championship weekend. An opening ceremony after some preliminary matches will feature all of the athletes parading into the club in team uniforms, national anthems and an address from the Jamaican sports minister amongst others and kick the event into high gear.
The Boys Under 19 event will see top seeds from 4 different nations with St. Vincent’s (OECS) #1 seed Kevin Hannaway the slight favorite over #2 Noah Browne from Bermuda, Guyana’s Jason Ray-Khalil (3/4) and Trinidad and Tobago’s Mandela Patrick (3/4). Each of these players has at least 1 CASA junior title already under their belt in another age group, making this year’s event very interesting.
6-time defending women’s team champion Guyana is the squad to beat in the Girls Under 19 draw with heavy favorite and 3 time former CASA junior champion Mary Fung-A-Fat as the top seed and teammate Ashleigh Degroot at the bottom of the draw at #2. Playing the spoiler will be talented Cayman Islands player Eilidh Bridgeman who is the 3rd seed and the current junior and senior national Cayman champion.
The Boys U17 draw is another intriguing event with all of the Top 4 seeds having a legitimate shot at the title. #1 D’vario Thompson of Bermuda and #2 Julian Morrison of Jamaica will try and fend off the dangerous (3/4) seeds both from Guyana in Canadian based Jean Claude Jeffrey and 2011 U15 champion Nyron Joseph.
The girls U17 will see one of the most anticipated rivalries in the Caribbean with 4 time CASA champion Victoria Arjoon who moves into the U17 division in the rare position as the #2 seed and underdog against Trinidad and Tobago’s #1 seed Charlotte Knaggs, who is one of the most improved players in the tournament and the 2011 U17 champion.
When not taking in the famous Caribbean hospitality that I can’t seem to hide from (A Guyanese parent negotiated on my behalf with tournament director Karen Anderson to be paid in Red Stripes for each report written…) we will be sending pictures, scores and reports daily.
National Squash Academy, Toronto, Canada