Guyana’s Junior Squash Team Impresses at CASA

Junior Squash players from across the Caribbean descended onto Tortola Sports Club, British Virgin Islands, for the junior edition of the 2024 CASA tournament.

CASA Junior 2024

Both Barbados and Guyana took home honours, with the former claiming another team title making them one of the most successful junior Squash teams in the history of the CASA competition.

Guyana was the talk of the tournament, as their junior players performed well across the different individual categories of the tournament.

Guyana dominate singles

The individual segment of the Caribbean Area Squash Association (CASA) Junior Championships in Tortola, British Virgin Islands, has been tremendously successful for Guyana, as nine athletes won medals.

Leading the charge was Nicholas Verwey with a second successive Boys’ Under-19 gold and Avery Arjoon completing a title repeat in the Girls’ Under-15 category.

Verwey faced a familiar face in Barbadian Alex Stewart, and once again, he came out on top in a superb 11-6, 11-9, 11-2 triumph. This marks his third gold on a trot—U-17 in 2022 and the last two at U-19.

The clinical Arjoon mirrored Verwey’s success in getting her third successive gold in the same timeline, with the titles being in U-13 and two U-15 categories – her latest triumph was against Lowe, winning 11-5, 11-2, 11-1.

Family celebrate medal success

Another talking point of the tournament was brothers Ethan and Egan, who made the last four of the U13 category.

Ethan had to settle for silver after getting injured in the Under-13 final against the hosts’ Jakob Noblett. Noblett won the first set 13-11, but Bulkan led the second 6-4 set despite experiencing pain.

Meanwhile, elder brother, Egan, claimed bronze at his first CASA when he defeated Barbadian Ethan Cyrus 11-7, 11-5, 11-3 in the U-13 third-place match. Following this success, Egan replaced his injured brother, Ethan, in the team segment.

Success across the board

Following Nicholas’s success, his teammates went on to achieve wins in the other junior categories of the tournament.

Michael Alphonso Jr. got the better of Seth Thong (Trinidad & Tobago) 11-3, 11-9, 11-8 in his Under-19 match, while Sumner got U-17 bronze by defeating Sarrayah Yearwood (Barbados) 13-11, 11-7, 11-6.

Emily Fung-A-Fat also got a big win as she took down the talented Josie Thong 9-11, 11-6, 11-6, 11-8.

Tehani Munroe won her first individual medal after playing an exceptional match, defeating Jamaican Varenya Singh 11-6, 11-6, 12-10, to win the bronze.

Individually, Guyana returned home with a strong showing of nine medals, including Kaylee Lowe (U-15) won a silver medal, highlighting her prowess in the sport.

Barbados and Guyana battle for team honours

Following on singles success in the individual category, the Guyanese Junior Squash Team secured an impressive second-place finish at the Caribbean Area Squash Association (CASA) Championships, following a week of intense competition at the Tortola Sports Club, British Virgin Islands.

Barbados emerged victorious for the second consecutive year, clinching the top spot.

On the final day, Guyana’s boys’ team clinched bronze in the team segment with a commanding 4-0 victory over the British Virgin Islands. Nicholas Verwey, Michael Alphonso Jr., Zion Hickerson, and Justin Goberdhan all dominated their matches, showcasing their skills and determination.

The girls’ team secured fifth place with a convincing win against St. Vincent in the play-off. Emily Fung-A-Fat and Safirah Sumner led the charge, while Kaylee Lowe secured the winning point, demonstrating the depth and talent of the team.

Guyana’s doubles pairs were also impressed. Verwey and Avery Arjoon secured gold in the Mixed Doubles category, while the boys’ duo of Alphonso Jr. and Mohryan Baksh collected silver. Lowe and Sumner displayed strong teamwork, finishing joint third in the girls’ doubles.

Final Thoughts

The outstanding performances of these young athletes underscore the strength and potential of Guyana’s squash programme, promising a bright future for the sport in the region.

There is no doubt, that any of the junior Squash players from either Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica or the other Caribbean nations will take part in the Olympic Games in 2028.

Tournaments like CASA Junior Edition are a great testament for junior Squash players at a grassroots level in the Caribbean to compete, along with a launchpad for a professional Squash career, to play in international tournaments.

From a supporter stance, we reckon any one of the Guyanese junior Squash players has the talent to compete in the British Junior Open and any other PSA junior-sanctioned tournament.

Looking ahead, the next major tournament in the Caribbean is the Senior CASA Championships from August 17-25, taking place in Guyana promising another exciting event.

The next edition of the Junior CASA is expected to take place in Bermuda or the Cayman Islands, setting the stage for another round of fierce competition.