Kingston, Jamaica – July 22, 2012: Golden girl Alyssa Mullings ensured that Jamaica had plenty to celebrate by winning the Under 15 title in front of her home crowd at the 2012 Caribbean Squash Area Association’s Junior Championships.
The poised 13-year-old faced down the formidable Larissa Wiltshire of Guyana beating the top seed 11/5, 11/8, 11/8. With the straight set victory, Mullings who was the two-time Under 13 Caribbean Champion, ensured that she leaves the regional championship with a title for the third consecutive year.
The match was not without its fair share of drama as Wiltshire crashed to the floor at the end of the first set and had to leave the court for medical attention. The Guyanese returned more determined than ever, but Mullings, who was cheered on by a boisterous capacity crowd, kept her head to win the following two sets and take the championship.
“I thought it would be a bit more challenging now that I’m playing in Under 15 but I was really motivated by crowd and family and I’ve been training hard,” Mullings said, who is also the reigning Under 15 All Jamaica Squash Champion.
“I really want to beat Victoria Arjoon’s (Guyanese) record. She has four consecutive titles so that’s what I’m going after,” she added.
Mullings saved the day for Jamaica as her fellow juniors fought bravely but went down to their regional rivals in the semi-finals.
All Jamaica Boys Under 13 Champion, Jonathan Walker lost a nail-biting five-setter to Kamal Cumberbatch of Barbados. Both youngsters showed grit beyond their years fighting to the very last point for the victory. Initially, Walker battled back from a one set deficit to win the second and the third, only for Cumerbatch to rally to take the fourth. The final set had the capacity crowd gripped and while Walker fought bravely, the Barbadian dug deep and managed to pull off the win.
Also putting up a brave fight was Jamaica’s top-ranked Under 17 player Mary Mahfood. Playing with a foot injury that took her out of last months, All Jamaica championships, Mahfood lost to Guyana’s Victoria Arjoon, 8/11, 11/8, 11/4, 11/3 in the semi-finals.
Similarly, Jamaica’s Under 19 Boys Champion, Ashante Smith went down to the flashy Kevin Hannaway of the OECS. Playing with style and authority, the top-ranked Hannaway beat the Jamaican 12/10, 11/6, 11/3.
The 2012 Caribbean Area Squash Association’s Junior Championship will run until July 26. The focus now switches to the team competition which gets underway tomorrow (July 23)