Monday, April 22, 2024

Strong squash team for CAC

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A STRONG SEVEN-MEMBER team has been selected to represent Barbados in squash at the 21st Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Games in July.Top players and captains Karen Meakins and Shawn Simpson lead the team which will join ten other countries in Bogota, Colombia from July 15 to 26.Meakins is the defending women’s champion and ten-time Barbados Open winner. Also among her list of accolades are four Trinidad Open titles and four St Lucia Open titles. She has reached the individual final of the last three Caribbean Squash Championships and won two bronze medals at the 2006 CAC Games in Cartagena, Colombia.Simpson is the reigning national champion and has reached the finals of the last eight national championships, winning six of them. He won the 2009 Trinidad Open and reached the final this year. He was also runner up in the 2009 Barbados Open and Cayman Open.Ranked No. 3 in the Caribbean, Simpson won a bronze medal in the men’s doubles with Gavin Cumberbatch at the 2006 CAC Games and teamed up with Meakins to win silver in the mixed doubles at the Pan American Squash Championships in Ambato, Ecuador last year. He has also represented Barbados in volleyball, but will be unable to do so at these games since volleyball will be in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico, where the majority of the disciplines will be held.He has opted instead to work towards the Pan American Squash Championships and the Commonwealth Games.The other team members are former junior champions Cheri-Ann Parris and Lilianna White; brothers Bryant and Gavin Cumberbatch and Mark Sealy who has also represented the island in cricket and hockey.Barbados Squash Association president Craig Archer said they were very proud to have won three of Barbados’ 19 medals at the 2006 games in Cartagena, and had high expectations for this year.“I don’t like to make predictions, but I would be extremely disappointed if the team does not return home from Bogota with at least one medal, and I am reasonably sure that we can win more than one medal in squash at the CAC Games this year,” Archer said during Friday’s press briefing at the Olympic Centre, WildeySimpson was even more confident.“Our goal this year is to do extremely well at this tournament, given the fact that last CAC we won three medals and were almost in the mix to win a fourth with the men’s team, but we lost that tie against Guatemala in the quarter-finals by one game,” he said.“Craig is saying he would be disappointed if we only get one medal, but I would be disappointed if we get less than three, given the fact that we performed so well last time.”The biggest challenge the team faces will be competing at altitude – 8 600 feet above sea level. Simpson and some of the players experienced that in Colombia last year at the Pan American Squash Championships and they are working on fitness with coach Jonathan Gallacher to counter it.Competition will be held in the men’s and women’s individual divisions; men’s doubles; women’s doubles; mixed doubles and the team events. The other countries are British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Guyana, Jamaica, Mexico, Trinidad and Tobago and Venezuela.
Team Barbados: Karen Meakins (captain), Cheri-Ann Parris, Lilianna White, Shawn Simpson (captain), Bryant Cumberbatch, Gavin Cumberbatch, Mark Sealy, Orson Simpson (manager), Jonathan Gallacher (coach).

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