After literally flying halfway around the world, local squash queen Karen Meakins is once again flying the Barbados flag high – in Hong Kong, China – at the 2014 edition of the Biennial World Masters Squash Championships.
Meakins has an excellent record in this event having competed in the last two editions of these championships in the ladies’ Over-35 age group and finished runner-up in 2010 (in Cologne, Germany) and fourth in 2012 (in Birmingham, England). This time around, in her debut in the ladies Over-40 age group, the 14-time Barbados national squash champion has been seeded by the World Squash Federation at No. 2 (out of 30 competitors).
After receiving a first round bye, Meakins coolly dispatched Lenka Fuzy of the Czech Republic in the round of sixteen, 11-4, 11-1, 11-2 in 13 minutes to progress to last night’s quarter-final match. This proved to be a much sterner test but Meakins did not disappoint as she overcame Mylene de Muylder of France 11-5, 6-11, 11-3, 11-7 in 22 minutes to reach her third successive semi-final at this World Masters event.
Meakins said she was pleased with how things had gone so far.
“Hong Kong is amazing and the two squash venues here are fantastic. My first match was fairly comfortable and it was just nice to get that one out of the way after being here for almost a week. Today [Tuesday] was much tougher, which I had expected as my opponent knocked out the No. 5/8 seed in the first round. She likes to play at a fast pace so I knew I had to try to slow things down to stay in control. I did this really well in the first game but then let her get into her rhythm in the second game which I lost. I got back on track in the third and won that comfortably. I got a good start in the fourth but then she got a few points back, so I was very happy to close it out 11-7.”
Meakins’ opponent in her semi-final tomorrow will be the No. 3/4 seed Becky Clarke who emigrated from England to New Zealand in 2001 and who Meakins remembers from her junior squash days in the United Kingdom.
Another Barbadian player, Lynn DeCambra-McLeod, who is the reigning Caribbean Over-50 ladies champion, is competing in this event for the first time in the Over-60 age group and played a great first round match to beat the No. 5/8 seed, Canadian Sue Wastie in five close games 12-10, 8-11, 11-4, 9-11, 11-5 in 31 minutes.
DeCambra-McLeod then played the No. 3/4 seed Gaye Mitchell from Australia in the quarter-finals last night but lost in straight games 7-11, 4-11, 5-11. She will now play off later tonight (Barbados time) in the special plate competition and will be trying for a strong showing and hopefully a fifth place finish out of 21 competitors.
Lynn’s husband, Paul McLeod, is also in Hong Kong and competed in the Over-55 age group but lost his first round encounter with Australian Andre Luca in straight games at 3-11, 6-11, 1-11 and is now in the plate competition which also begins tonight local time.