The Barbados Senior National Squash Championship promises to be a pulsating affair when three-time queen Meagan Best and ten-time record holder Shawn Simpson aim to repeat as champions when competition commences tomorrow at the Barbados Squash Club in Marine Gardens, Christ Church.
Best, the reigning three-time Caribbean women’s squash champion, returned home this week from the XVII Pan American Games in Toronto, Canada where she captured silver in the girls’ singles and gold in the mixed doubles with Barbadian teammate Khamal Cumberbatch.
The 17-year-old based at Choate Rosemary Hall School in Connecticut said she felt confident of capturing her fourth consecutive title at this year’s senior nationals.
“I feel good going in mentally and physically. I have a couple of sessions before the tournament starts on Thursday that I will be getting in to maintain a certain level for the tournament. I won last year, so I will be going in hoping to retain that again,” Best said.
The number one female squash player in the region has been focusing immensely on improving her fitness level. She explained that beside being based in the United States where they are a lot more resources, she also credited her South American rivals for being very fit which is the kind of push she wanted in preparation for nationals.
“I moved to America, and there are a lot more resources up there than here, so I have been working on my movements a lot because agility is one thing I have been working on for a while. So, I think I have improved, and I am thrilled with how that is coming along. I think my fitness has improved a lot compared to last year. I have been able to hold out longer with these girls because as you get older competition gets tougher, more matches, longer rallies, so fitness is something you definitely need to have, and I am also happy with how that is coming,” Best explained.
There are two groups for the women’s competition, and Best will feature in A with Jada Smith-Padmore and Jahcinta Adams while zone B has Barbados number two seeded Amanda Haywood, Sumairaa Suleman, Jodi Smith-Padmore and Lynn Decambra-McLeod.
Defending men’s champion Shawn Simpson is happy with how preparation has been going and said he expects a high level of play with stiff competition from the Cumberbatch brothers Rhett and Bryant along with Stewart St. John.
“Because I coach full time I am on the court every day, but in terms of my actual training I have been putting in three-four hours a week with either drills or practice matches, and that has been going on for probably the last three, four weeks. I am looking forward to this year’s championship because we should have a nice level of play,” said Simpson, who is chasing his fourth consecutive title and 11 overall.
The competition commences tomorrow Thursday, June 27, and runs until Sunday, June 30, at the Barbados Squash Club.