One of Barbados’s most outstanding squash players Amanda Haywood has earned a full scholarship to the University of Virginia where she will study finance for the next four years.
The 17-year-old St Michael School student told Barbados TODAY she was thankful and extremely excited about the opportunity to work with South African Mark Allen, a level five elite certified coach.
The national junior female captain, Haywood led Barbados to a 5-0 clean sweep at the 2017 Junior Caribbean Area Squash Association (CASA) Championships against host Guyana in July this year. She explained that the road to achieving a full scholarship took lots of hard work and dedication which included balancing training, while at the same time preparing for the Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examinations.
However, Haywood noted it was her academic drive and her love for squash that have led her to this point.
“Studying and training for me, the two goes hand in hand, because I use the discipline that I have gotten from the sport and apply it to my school work. After training, I do my homework straight away and training helps me not to procrastinate to an extent. I have that drive to succeed in my education and my results of three grade ones and a two at Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examinations speaks for itself, so I am very satisfied,” said Haywood, runner-up at the Barbados Senior Squash Nationals to teammate Meagan Best who is the reigning two-time Caribbean squash champion.
A national badminton player as well, Haywood was recognized as the outstanding junior athlete of the year in the sports of squash and badminton when the Barbados Olympic Association (BOA) held its award ceremony earlier this year.
Haywood is among the top junior squash players in the Caribbean having placed runner-up in the Under-19 division at CASA this year. She also has several other awards to her name and the women’s badminton championship title for 2016 at the BOA’s 50th anniversary Games is among her list of achievements.
When asked who or what inspires her, Haywood said that aside from her idol Amanda Sobhy, who is the highest ranked American female squash player at number seven in the world, she looked up to teammates especially national women’s captain and 15-time female national champion, Karen Meakins, whom she said has motivated her to keep playing.
“My teammates especially Karen have definitely motivated me and I hope to be like her one day and work towards accomplishing as she has in the sport. They [teammates] have also helped me to grow as a player because they [Karen Meakins and Alex Jordan] have helped me to grow as a player especially when we travel on tours and they work with me on and off court and I am very grateful to them,” said Haywood, who begins her journey at the University in September 2018.