Barbados will have a heavy presence at two of the most prestigious junior squash tournaments next month.
Eleven players will represent the country at the Canadian Junior Open at the The Club at White Oaks in Niagara between December 12 and 15, while six players will compete at the US Junior Open at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut between December 19 and 22.
Junior national coach Rhett Cumberbatch will be travelling with the team that includes five reigning Caribbean champions.
“Junior squash is enjoying a rebirth of sorts and it’s clear that the national setup in Barbados has attracted and retained some of the best talent in the Caribbean. Make no mistake about it, we have a high-calibre team on both sides of the court from the Under-11 division right through to the Under-19 division,” Cumberbatch said.
“We are also lucky to have five regional champions and some players with a bit of overseas experience under their belt, so while they are playing two individual tournaments, we will be competing as a team. Once someone returns home with some hardware that will be mission accomplished. A medal is our ultimate goal,” he added.
Leading the charge at both tournaments will be Khamal Cumberbatch, the reigning Under-15 Caribbean champion who finished an outstanding fourth overall in the Boy’s Under-13 division at the Canadian Open last year.
Joining him in Ontario will be regional squash queens Amanda Haywood (Under-17), Meagan Best (Under-15) and Sumairaa Suleman (Under-13). Best and Haywood also enjoyed success at last year’s tournament, finishing fifth in the Girl’s Under-13 and sixth in the Girl’s Under-15 divisions respectively.
Suleman, who shot to prominence earlier this year by winning the Caribbean crown in her first outing, will be making her international debut in the Girl’s Under-13 division, along with the effervescent Chelsie Samuel.
Other members of the team include sisters Jodi and Jada Smith-Padmore (Girl’s Under-15), Darien Benn (Boy’s Under-11), Alex Stuart (Boy’s Under-13), Kemar Lord (Boy’s Under-15) and Zachary Proverbs-Harris (Boy’s Under-17).
Cumberbatch and Best will then make the trip to Connecticut to join Benjamin Griffith (Boy’s Under-19) and brothers Reginald and Ronald Brewster who will play in the Boy’s Under-17 and Under-19 divisions respectively. Completing the team will be Shemane Griffith, the reigning Under-17 Caribbean champion.
Best won the bronze medal in the Girl’s Under-13 division last year.