On the surface, you might mistake it for just another medal from Barbados at the recently wrapped-up Pan Am Games.
However, in the world of squash, particularly within the Caribbean, the names Margot Prow, Amanda Haywood, and Meagan Best are poised to echo through the ages.
In the sprawling spectacle that was the 2023 Pan Am Games in Chile, 30 athletes from Barbados participated in boxing, badminton, shooting, swimming, surfing, rowing, sailing, athletics, triathlon, squash, cycling, dressage, golf, gymnastics, table tennis, tennis, taekwondo, wrestling, weightlifting, and even Esport.
Yet, when the curtains fell on the Santiago games, it was Prow, Haywood, and Best who masterfully, or should we say “squashfully,” smashed their way to bronze medal glory in the women’s doubles and women’s team events.
In an interview with Barbados TODAY, Michael Best, vice-president of the Barbados Squash Association (BSA) and the squad’s manager in Chile, maintained that Prow, Haywood and Best were more than medallists, describing them as inspirations.
Their hope? To ignite a fire in young girls, encouraging them to train relentlessly and hustle for their taste of glory.
Until the 19th edition of the Pan Am Games, the Caribbean’s squash medals were as elusive as buried treasure, with only Guyana’s Nicolette Fernandes able to claim that prize.
She was a lone pirate in the English-speaking Caribbean’s Pan Am Games medal chest.
Squash pirouetted onto the Pan Am Games stage in 1995, but it wasn’t until 2011 in Guadalajara, Mexico, that Fernandes pilfered a bronze in the women’s singles, which was the first medal for the Caribbean in the sport.
Before 2011, Canada and the USA were the only English-speaking nations at the Pan Am Games to win squash medals.
But thanks to Prow, Haywood, and Best, Barbados now shares the treasure map with Colombia, Brazil, Chile, Peru, Paraguay, Argentina, USA, Canada, and Guyana as the only countries in the Americas boasting Pan Am Games medals in squash.
The BSA vice-president is excited for the 2028 Olympics, where he envisions Barbados stepping onto the podium.
With Maegan and Prow just 21 years old and their teammate Haywood a spry 24, the future of Barbadian squash looks radiant, much like a gemstone glistening in the sun.
“A lot of the girls who are currently playing at a high level in the world, they are well into their 30s or late twenties,” Best remarked.
He yearns for the success of these women to not only encourage more players but also to stir those in authority to invest in the sport.
The BSA vice-president is convinced that Barbados possesses the talent to battle the world’s best, only lacking the resources to unlock their full potential. The bronze medal, he said, serves as a rallying cry to both the sport’s administrators and its benefactors, beckoning them to pave the way for future success.
Best is quick to point out that the Pan Am region harbours a treasure trove of top-tier players, many of whom graced the courts in Chile.
As for Meagan and Margot, they’re eyeing the professional circuit, driven by the motivational windfall of this year’s Pan Am Games.
Meanwhile, the BSA’s vice-president has set his sights on a lofty goal; guiding the men’s team not only to the next Pan Am Games in 2027 but also to the grandest stage of all, the Los Angeles Olympics in 2028…a quest that promises a wave of excitement in the world of Barbadian squash. [email protected]