A 14-member team including seven former Caribbean junior champions has been selected by the Guyana Squash Association to represent Guyana at the 30th Caribbean Area Squash Association (CASA) Caribbean Junior squash Championships in Jamaica, July 20-26.
Rebecca Low, Taylor Fernandes, Larissa Wiltshire, Victoria Arjoon, Akeila Wiltshire, Ashley DeGroot and Mary Fung-A-Fat make up Guyana’s Girls team, while the Boys team comprises Shomari Wiltshire, Ben Mekdeci, Patrick Fraser, Nyron Joseph, Jean Claude Jeffrey, Steven Xavier and Jason Ray Khalil.
Former Southern Caribbean Champion Garfield Wiltshire has been chosen as the Team Manager and stated that the athletes were chosen based on their performances in all locally held tournaments as well as previous performances at Junior CASA.
For overseas players such as Arjoon and Jeffrey, Wiltshire said that GSA also relied on results submitted from their tournaments abroad. Arjoon, who attends St. George’s High School, reportedly played undefeated in the Independent School League in the USA.
Five other juniors, Daniel and Anthony Islam, Sarah Lewis, Andrew Peroune and Alec Melville who did not make the cut will also make the journey to Jamaica to compete in the individual category.
Of the 14 that will be competing in both the team tournament and individual category, seven have won at least once at these junior championships. Joseph and Akeila Wiltshire captured their maiden titles in the boys and girls under 15 categories last year but both will be making their debut in the under 17 category this year.
Arjoon, who already has four junior titles and Fung-A-Fat who has three will be competing in the Under-17 and Under-19 categories respectively for the second straight year.
Mekdeci, who is the reigning Caribbean Under-13 champion, will also be moving up to the Under-15 category, just as current Under-17 champion Khalil, will be debuting in the Under-19 division.
Overseas based Jeffrey, who won the Under-15 title two years ago, will be trying to return to winning form this year in the Under-17 category. Eight-year-old Shomari Wiltshire, who competed in the individual category last year received his first call to national duty for team Guyana and will try to hold his own in the Under-13 category.
Guyana has won the last seven consecutive overall titles at the CASA Caribbean Junior Championships and even though the team this year is without some of the players that helped win most of the seven titles, GSA remains confident in its chances of extending the streak. Among the players who are no longer eligible to compete at the junior level are five-time Caribbean champion Keisha Jeffrey and twin sister Kayla, along with Ashley Khalil and Alex Arjoon.
National Coach Carl Ince said that although the present team is not as strong as the 2011 overall champion team, he is confident that the current crop of players will be able to produce a high standard of squash good enough to win again this year.
Ince said that the players are very committed and have been training continuously. He did confess that they are a bit behind schedule in training but is confident that the team should shift into gear by next week.
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