Vincentians will bear witness to some of the finest athletes in the region, as the 2010 National Lotteries Authority 18th Caribbean Squash Championships gets underway on August 15th. Over 100 players from 7 countries (Barbados, Bermuda, Cayman Islands, Guyana, Jamaica, OECS and Trinidad & Tobago) will hope to bring home the titles in the individual and team events. Among these players are 8 medallists (singles, doubles and teams) at the recent Central American and Caribbean Games in Bogota, Colombia.
Heading the women's field is Karen Meakins, coming off a fine silver medal performance at the CAC Games. The tall Bajan has been runner-up in the last 3 events and will be looking to capture her first Caribbean Women's title. An All-Barbados final is expected, with compatriot Cheri-Ann Parris coming in as the #2 seed. The 20-year old is coming off a solid rookie season at Bates College, where she was named NESCAC Rookie of the Year and will prove to be a formidable opponent. A pair of Trinidadian players will attempt to prevent this however, on the strength of 3/4 seeds Rhea Khan and Kerrie Sample.
On the men's side, much excitement will undoubtedly surround the return of Guyana's Richard Chin to CASA (Caribbean Area Squash Association) squash. 6-time Caribbean Junior Champion in the 80's, Chin has since gone on to coach in the US and has played for various US national teams. Chin will face stiff competition however, particularly from Jamaican Chris Binnie. The defending champion will be hoping to build on his historic performance from the CAC Games, where he became the first Caribbean male to win a medal in singles. As always, the men's field will be extremely competitive, with strong challenges expected from the likes of Trinidadian Colin Ramasra, Shawn Simpson (Barbados), Patrick Foster (Bermuda) and Cameron Stafford (Cayman Islands).
Following the individual event, Trinidad & Tobago will seek to repeat their winning performance of last year, returning most of the members from the 2009 squad, The men's team title will be hard to come by however, as many of the other teams have bolstered their lineups with strong additions from previous tournaments. The dark horse will be hosts OECS, as they welcome the debut of former World #10 Joe Kneipp, an Australian who has been living in the British Virgin Islands for the past few years. Defending the women's title will also be difficult, with Barbados in particular hoping to regain their former glory. The usual suspects will be coming out in full force in the veterans team competition, with heated battles expected between the teams from Barbados, Cayman Islands, OECS and Trinidad & Tobago.
Prior to the event, there will be a CASA Referee certification clinic on August 14th, sponsored by the National Olympic Committee. The clinic will be conducted by Canadian Rod Symington, one of only 2 Senior Assessors appointed by the World Squash Federation. The clinic is part of an initiative to improve the quality of refereeing throughout the Caribbean. In anticipation of a successful tournament, the SVG Squash Association would like to thank its sponsors: Title Sponsor - National Lotteries Authority, Gold - IK-TV, Karib Cable, Silver - BMC Agencies, Ottley Hall Marina, SVG General Services, RBTT, Ellco Rentals and Bronze - Mountain Top, Invest SVG. In addition, Fans can follow the tournament online at www.squashsite.co.uk