Goal is to be among top 20 in professional Squash circuit
By Sean Devers
At age 20, former Caribbean Under-17 Squash Champion Jason Ray Khalil’s ultimate goal is to be ranked among the top 20 players in the Professional Circuit and judging from his recent performances both at the Caribbean and local level the talented right-hander has all it takes to make his goal a reality.
It is said that a goal without a plan is just a wish but Jason wanted to be a Squash player since he was seven years old and trains three times a week with fitness trainer Kezqweyah Yisrael at the Top End fitness Gym. He engages in two-hour practice session on Mondays and Wednesday with his sister Ashley, who is a National Squash player and does solo training workouts for two hours on Tuesdays and Thursdays before hitting the road on Sundays for a three-mile run.
So Jason has a well constructed plan to get to the top of his game and fully understands that Squash is a ‘content grind’ and that one has to be willing to work hard if they expect to see results.
In 2011, Jason rose to prominence as a 16-year-old multi-talented athlete when he dominated veteran Brendon Mounter to win the Bounty Farm Mash Squash Handicap tournament at the Georgetown Club in straight games 15/10, 15/11 to win the main draw of the tournament and finished the tournament without dropping a single game.
This was just after he had helped his school team, Marian Academy, to the semi-final of the Saint Stanislaus Inaugural Basketball Tournament.
Jason, who played in the 22nd Senior Caribbean Squash Championships in Barbados last year August, is now preparing for July’s 17th Pan American Games in Toronto Canada after the
Guyana’s Men team qualified for a team spot at the highest level of competition he will compete in.
Jason made his entry into this World on July 15, 1974 and is the only son among two sisters born to Raymond and Amanda Khalil. He grew up in Meadowbrook in Georgetown and became interested in Squash because his sister’s involvement in the sport.
“My sister Ashley was already playing Squash and because of this I did not want to be left out so I started playing too. I was seven at that time,” Jason remembered.
Jason, who successfully defended his title in the Open Champion in the Bounty Farm Handicap Squash tournament, works in his parents business, the ARK Enterprise and Container House.
“I enjoy playing Squash and most sports. When I am not involved with sports I like spending time with my friends and family,” Jason reveled.
When asked who are the People who have assisted him with his squash career Jason said, “Firstly my family, who always encouraged and pushed me, and still do, to be the best person I can be on and off the Court.”
He thanked Robert Fernandes, Carl Ince and all the others who have helped him to improve his game and informed that winning the Under-17 Caribbean Squash title in 2011 has been his most memorable moment.
“The biggest tournament I have participated in so far is the Pan Am Games qualifiers where Guyana’s Men team successfully secured a spot in the team championships and I am really looking forward to playing at that event in Canada,” disclosed Jason, who says the ‘Straight dying Kill’ is his favorite shot.
He added that he couldn’t remember experiencing any major disappointments since he says, “In life there will always be ups and downs and it’s the way you view life that will make that instant a disappointment or a learning experience.”
The confident and articulate youngster feels Guyana’s Squash is on the rise locally especially at the junior level. Ten times defending junior team Caribbean Champions Guyana has dominated the sport at the Caribbean Junior level. Jason has helped the team to capture the boys and overall team title when he played as a junior in the Caribbean Area Squash Association (CASA) Championships which was first played in 1981.
“I believe the standard of Squash in the Caribbean is improving. Caribbean players are gaining valuable exposure by attending more International tournaments. They are also players who attend Squash Schools,” explained Jason.
When asked who are some of players to watch? He said with a grin ‘me of course’ but quickly added “Nyron Joseph, who has three CASA titles, one at U-15 (2011) and two U-17 (2012 & ’13) is surly one for the future while Shomari Wiltshire, Alex Arjune and Ashley DeGroot are all outstanding players” Jason opined.
At present, Caribbean Women’s Squash Champion Nicolette Fernandes is the most recognized Guyanese on the professional Circuit. Sunil Seth, Richard Chin, Max Weithers and Alex Arjune are the other Guyanese players who have played on the Professional Circuit.
Jason, who will intensify training for the Pan Am Games later this month when he returns from a short vacation, informed that his favorite Squash player is retired professional Jonathon Power and former Caribbean Men’s Champion Richard Chin.
Jason Ray Khalil has the ability to help team Guyana win a Pan Am Games Squash Medal in July in Canada.
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