National players competing in the final round of the 2010 KRAFT sponsored Mash junior squash tournament, gave the crowd quite a treat on Sunday afternoon, as they all seemed to save their best for last. There were three impressive five setters which reminded everyone present why Guyana are the two time defending Caribbean champions in the Boy’s, Girl’s and Overall categories.
First up it was perennial rivals Victoria Arjoon and Mary Fung-A-Fat, these two young ladies have done battle countless times in both local and international tournaments and share a total of five Caribbean titles between them. The match followed the familiar pattern of Arjoon dominating the early exchanges with her exquisite racquet skills allowing her end points at will, while Fung-A-Fat just did her best to stay in the rallies. Then predictably Arjoon faded in the second as the fitter Fung-A-Fat ran down shot after shot and extended the rallies to the point where Arjoon became winded.
Arjoon surprised her opponent with an 8-1 burst to start the third before Fung-A-Fat calmly worked her way back into the game and reeled off eight straight points of her own to get to 9-8, but Arjoon stuck with it and was rewarded when she took the third 11/9. Arjoon made a valiant attempt in the fourth but after falling short 9/11, she ran out of gas in the fifth allowing Fung-A-Fat to take the win and the Category B title 11/7.
It was then the boys turn with the multi talented and fast improving Jason Ray Khalil doing battle with his long time nemesis Deje Dias. These two put on a spectacular show in the first two games with their amazing retrieving that drew gasps from the crowd time and again. Dias was in the zone, covering everything Khalil was throwing at him to get out to a 2-0 lead.
By the third the frantic pace had settled as both players were wounded physically, but it was Khalil who coped with the slowed pace better as he now had time to pick his spots and he took Dias apart in the next two games 11/7 and 11/7. Sensing the match was slipping away Dias willed himself to force the pace early in the fifth and was rewarded with a 6-1 lead, but he paid the price and his movement slowed dramatically over the next few rallies.
He was fortunate that Khalil made a few key unforced errors to get him to match point at 10-5, but by this stage we was completely spent and Khalil closed to within one of tying the match before Dias made a loud cry of relief as he dodged the bullet when Khalil was unable to retrieve one of his desperate front court kills.
The showpiece of junior squash in Guyana over the past few years has however been the encounters between Alexander Arjoon and Oliver Kear-Downes, and after their first game which lasted for twenty minutes and ended 18-16 in Arjoon’s favour, there was no doubt that this was the match of the day. Both players were physically exhausted going into the second but it was Downes’ steadier play that saw him through 11/5.
In the third Arjoon took control of the centre of the court and started to dictate the rallies, with Downes doing the majority of the retrieving to go down 7/11. The fourth was an even contest until Downes pulled off some amazing kill shots to close off the game 11/8 and force the decider. The fifth started with Arjoon investing in some long hard rallies which worked to perfection as Downes completely faded both physically and mentally, allowing Arjoon to move from 4-4 to 11/4 in a flash.
In his closing remarks assistant tournament director Deje Dias thanked the sponsors KRAFT through their local distributors Toucan Industries Inc. for making the tournament a success. He also thanked the Georgetown Club as well as the coaches, players and parents for there role in the tournament. In addition to the top three finishers in each category there were also four special prizes given out for sportsmanship, most outstanding player and most promising girl and boy.
All eyes will now be focused on the national selectors as name the national junior training squads to begin preparations for the Caribbean championships in Grand Cayman in July of this year.
Champion – Alexander Arjoon
Second Place – Oliver Downes
Third Place – Deje Dias
Champion – Mary Fung-A-Fat
Second Place – Joven Benn
Third Place – Victoria Arjoon
Champion – Lee Fung-A-Fat
Second Place – Akeila Wiltshire
Third Place – Gabrielle Fraser
Champion – Ian Mekdeci
Second Place – Ben Mekdeci
Third Place – Patrick Fraser
Champion – Larissa Wiltshire
Second Place – Taylor Fernandes
Third Place – Kevin Rodrigues
Champion – Alexandra Phang
Second Place – Mahendra Khusial
Third Place – Rebecca Low
– John Phang
Most Promising Girl
– Akeila Wiltshire
Most Promising Boy
– Ben MekdeciMost Outstanding Player
– Joven Benn
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