President of the Barbados Squash Association (BSA) Kim Jebodhsingh is singing the praises of the progress the local association has made over the past year, describing it as eventful, busy and successful, despite COVID-19.
Jebodhsingh’s comments follow two days after the BSA held its annual general meeting on Wednesday, September 16 at the Garfield Sobers Sports Complex and persons were welcomed on to the new executive.
Monty Cumberbatch who is no stranger to the squash association having served more than once as president was unopposed for the position of vice-president as he replaced Josephine Haywood. Sylvester Nurse, who was a floor member before, replaced Don Benn as assistant secretary while Preston Parris is the honorary treasure. Captain Michael Jules is the newest council member with a 17 to 11 win over Roy Padmore. Meanwhile, the other council members are honorary secretary Coral Farley, pubic relations officer Mark Wilson and council member Julian Greig.
The BSA president explained that going forward the longterm plan of the BSA was to increase interest in the sport. For this to happen she said a national youth and adult squash facility was needed. Also, paid full-time coaches in an effort to contribute to the national drive towards having a thriving sports tourism sector.
BSA has already started to work towards a few of these goals, Jebodhsingh noted, as she referenced the School Squash Programme which commenced last year October for World Squash Day in collaboration with the Barbados Defence Force and the Barbados Olympic Association Inc. Based on her report, the BSA is happy about the development of the youth and other tournament development programs and promotion of the sport in general so far.
“I would like to thank all the past presidents, council members, conveners and subcommittee members and members of the squash community who provided advice and feedback along the way. I am also very grateful for the Barbados Squash Club management committee and members of the squash community who supported or and applauded our various successes in 2019. While the year has had many challenges, I am proud of what we have achieved as a council and as we strive for even greater success in the future, I welcome your continued questions and suggestions.
“Though the remainder of 2020 and for the foreseeable future into early 2021 is expected to be challenging and a tough period as a result of the continuation of the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, still much can be accomplished if we come together and work as a community towards the continued development of the sport in Barbados, “ Jebodhsingh said.
She added: “I assure you that I plan to continue using every effort in seeking to develop innovative initiatives for the BSA and squash and bring fulfilment to the player, coach and referee development, youth development, tournament expansion, media presence, fundraising and sponsorship initiative that was commenced in 2019. I know that with your continued support, the future of squash in Barbados will be bright.”
Among some of BSA outstanding athletes and awardees for 2019 is former Caribbean women’s champion Meagan Best. She received the National Sports Council’s (NSC) Junior Female Outstanding Sportsperson award. Also, she was named to the 2019 to 2020 United States (US) Squash High School All American list while on scholarship at Choate Rosemary Hall High School in Connecticut and also she captured silver at the United States of America Open in the Under-19 age group.
Khamal Cumberbatch also had a memorable year while on scholarship at Avon Old Farm in Connecticut where he was captain of the squash and lawn tennis teams and even received an appreciation award for Junior Male Outstanding sportsperson from the NSC.
National Under-15 player Alex Stewart brought home gold to Barbados after competing in the Under-15 age group at the Lifetime City Centre Silver Junior Championships in Houston, Texas. Meanwhile, Phoebe Gittens and Nathan King earned a national youth award each from the NSC.
The Masters also stood out on the court and Mark Sealy led the way when he claimed gold in the 55 and over Canadian Open in May 2019 and silver also in that category at the US Open played in Washington DC.
Based on those individual and team performances in 2019 by national players and teams, Jebodhsingh noted that this was a testament to the talent that is in Barbados. She said that with continued support, similar performances from the athletes could be accomplished.