The Barbados Junior Squash team is looking to improve on last year’s performance at the Caribbean Area Squash Association (CASA) tournament and is confident of bringing home gold medals in all divisions this time around.
A contingent of 19 players will travel to Guyana on Friday to compete in the week-long tournament at which Barbados is expected to perform well.
They won six gold medals last year, the most ever by a Barbadian junior team, and the girls’ team will be defending their title for the second year in succession.
Speaking at the Barbados Squash Association today, coach Rhett Cumberbatch told the media the team was well prepared this year to make a clean sweep.
“We put in a lot of work in training, we’ve been training hard since early February, training consistently straight through. This year our plan is to go for gold in both boys and girls.
The girls are the defending champions for the last two years and we are willing to maintain that. The boys had a tough draw last year, came third but we are looking for gold this year. That is the plan,” Cumberbatch said.
He added that their biggest rivals would be host nation Guyana but he believed it was Barbados’ time to shine.
“Based on the seeds, we are going in with a pretty strong team, we are the ones to watch and Guyana have been saying it in their media too. We are definitely ready this year, we haven’t won since 12 years ago when I was playing on the team, so this year is ours. We put in the work and we are ready. This is our year.
“Certain players are expected to win and the rest are toss ups. The toss up games, we will work our strategies based on what we see against the opponents to come out on top.
We have done a lot of fitness work and it’s all on the day. But I think we have the stronger team , I think we look stronger than Guyana this year,” Cumberbatch said.
He added that this team was more united than previous squads.
“This team looks like the team we had before, (comradeship), training wise, I think the squash itself fell apart a bit.
This team is a development one that will be strong now and the next couple of years.
We have leaders who are inspiring the young ones to win and setting good examples,” he said.
Team captain Amanda Haywood told Barbados TODAY the team was poised for success in the upcoming tournament and they had high aspirations.
“Our team has been training very hard, since last year we never stopped training. We came together as a team, therefore since we have been training that long it has been paying off and growing together is also important as a team.
“We definitely have high expectations, all we have to do is go out there and do our best and we should (come out on top). I don’t think we have any pressure we know what we are going out there to do and we will be good.”
Nine-year-old Arman Suleman is the baby on the team and said that although he felt anxious he was ready to give his best for his country.
“I feel nervous, it took a long time for me to get into it, I’ve been playing games with my coach every day and it’s been hard playing, I expect to do my hardest.” He said.