Dec 31, 2018 Sports
By Sean Devers
President of the Guyana Squash Association (GSA) David Fernandes is elated with the outstanding performances of Guyana’s Women’s team at the 2018 Caribbean Squash Championships in the Cayman Islands where they achieved their highest ranking (6th) and qualified for the first time ever for next year’s Pan American Championships to be held in Peru.
The penultimate day of the Championships did not start as the Guyanese girls would have hoped as they faced the Colombian ladies’ in the team quarter-finals. Despite a win from Nicolette Fernandes, the ladies failed to win one more match to advance to the semi-finals and gain automatic qualification.
However, they were placed in the 5/8 draw for another chance to qualify, with a matchup against Brazil. Nicolette Fernandes won 3-0 before Guyana’s National Champion Mary Fung-A-Fat also registered a 3-0 win, while Taylor Fernandes won 2-0 to qualify for Peru which sparked joyous celebrations.
“Guyana’s Women’s squash team qualifying for next year’s Pan American games in Peru was the highlight of the year” said Fernandes.
In 2014, the Guyanese Women lost out on Pan American Championship qualification on a match ball situation and the memories of that close defeat is now behind them as they advanced for the first time ever.
The Men’s team qualified on three previous occasions; 1995, 1999 and 2015 but failed to do so this year.
“I would like to thank Nicolette for giving her full support to the team. Without her participating with the team in the Cayman Islands we would not have qualified,” the hands on GSA President said.
With no Senior CASA set for the year the GSA focused on the Junior CASA tournament.
“Shomari Wilshire and Michael Alphonso both won in their categories while the girls performed very well in their categories but did not win any titles, but we played outstanding squash to win the team title and the Girls played exceptionally well to finish second to Barbados,” Fernandes said.
Fernandes explained that the low for 2018 would be that the Boy’s team did not qualify for next year’s Pan Am Games. They were very close to winning the overall team title if they had won one of the key matches.
“The most satisfying thing for me was seeing both the Juniors and Seniors playing their matches and the amount of effort they put in. But having said that I think with a bit more training in the new year especially in fitness, we would do a lot better when we go to Trinidad for the Junior CASA,” The GSA top man said.
In November Ryan Jagessar (Trinidad Level 2) and Cameron Stafford Cayman Islands (Level 1 &2) conducted a course giving coaches a better insight into the processes of coaching, how to teach technique, how to explain, demonstrate and conduct an actual coaching activity in a progressive manner.
It included analysis and fault diagnosis, correcting faults according to level and experience of students, and striking a good balance between information and activity. The focus was on coaching the student not just delivering the activity. It also highlighted the value of building rapport with both students and parents and keeping motivation high. Applicants learnt about programme planning, group sessions, individual sessions and running tournaments.
The course was done at Coach Carl Ince’s training facility at Loo Creek on the Linden Highway as part of the developmental programme for local Squash.
According to Fernandes the GSA are in conversation with the NSC to look into the possibility of having a public/private partnership with regards to building the first doubles court in the Caribbean.
“Getting this done as a part of our developmental plans for squash and I think that would be major boost for us hosting Senior CASA here next year.
The medals that we would have won at last year’s CAC Games, were Medals in Doubles and we were quite competitive and if we have a facility that we could train on a doubles Court it would help us,” added Fernandes.
For the first time in five years Guyana will host the 2019 Senior Caribbean Area Squash Association (CASA) next year.
“We are looking forward that since it’s a big event not only for us but also for Guyana. Guyana’s squad could include Alex Arjoon, Guyana’s number one seeded player,” said the hard working Fernandes.
After the Senior CASA is completed here in August Guyana then participates in the Pan Am Games in Lima, Peru.
At the local level, GSA tournaments had sponsorship support from Ansa McAl (Lucozade Handicap tournament), Exxon Mobil, Woodpecker products, Digicel, Farfan and Mendes, Toucan Industries and Bounty Farm.
Squash sensation Shomari Wiltshire completed a dominant clean sweep through the under 15, under 17 and under 19 categories, as The Guyana Squash Association (GSA) Woodpecker Products Junior Nationals Squash Championships had its conclusion played out on May 13, at the Georgetown Club.
In the presence of a large and enthusiastic audience, Wiltshire who was the Most Outstanding Boy, showed immense form and skill as he defeated Daniel Islam in an intense match which saw Wiltshire winning his sets (11-5, 11-9, 11-5.).
Abosaide Cadogan defeated Kirsten Gomes in a highly competitive under 15 girl’s bout that went (11-5, 8-11, 11-3, 11-5) in Cadogan’s favour. Cadagon also secured her domination as she scoped the under 15, under 17 and under 19, then topped this off by taking home the Most Outstanding Girl trophy.
Wiltshire was also crowned king when the Farfan and Mendes Junior Skill Level Tournament concluded in November 17 at the Georgetown Club on Camp Street.
The brilliant Wiltshire didn’t drop a game despite Samuel Ince-Carvalhal making a firm bid in the third game of the final match.
According Coach Carl Ince, the Standard of squash in Guyana, as with many other places in the Caribbean, is on the up.
“We could have been climbing at a faster rate if our players had the opportunity to be exposed to more squash camps where the players can train all day, for several days, on repetition work.”
However, they are addressing that as we have had three junior squash camps in 2018 on the Highway and are in the process of building a third court in the hope of accommodating increasing numbers in 2019.
“My focus now is on passing on my knowledge to ensure our coaching capabilities develop and are more accessible. I have recently undertaken an upgrade from England Squash to coach coaches and will be delivering the new approach to my assistant coaches and candidates undertaking the courses,” said Coach Ince.
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