Squash in Jamaica on the rise — Binnie


Squash in Jamaica on the rise — Binnie

Saturday, May 04, 2019

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THE performances in the Jamaican squash world have been improving as a new generation of players makes their mark on the regional and global scene, says Chris Binnie, the country's top-ranked player.

The highest Professional Squash Association-ranked player in the Caribbean, Binnie spearheaded the Jamaican team at the 2018 Pan American Championships in the Cayman Islands. Winning a silver medal in the men's event and playing on a team which placed in the top eight of the qualifying countries, he signed a sponsorship agreement with JN Fund Managers in April 2019.

“We are receiving medals in games for which we never qualified before,” Binnie said at a signing ceremony held at the company's head office in New Kingston. “This makes Jamaica the leading squash power in the Caribbean.”

Much of Jamaica's success is due to Binnie himself, who is ranked in the top 100 players by the World Squash Federation. He says he has a target of breaking into the top 50 players in the world in 2019.

“The country is moving in the right direction however, we have to keep up the momentum,” he said. “There is more than enough talent here to make substantial improvement.”

Binnie, who received his second Sportsman of the Year nomination in 2018, is playing a leading role in developing this talent.

“I participate in training camps, working directly with our players,” he said. “And, I get to share the experience I gained from my international exposure.”

He pointed out that after returning to the United States of America for a series of tournaments, he will go to Australia to train with his personal coach Rodney Martin, formerly ranked number two in the world. His training will involve 10 weeks of intensive preparation for the 2019 Pan American Squash Championships in July, for which Jamaica has pre-qualified.

Binnie also noted that along with Jamaica, Bermuda and Guyana have also qualified for the Pan American Squash Championships.

“Right across the Caribbean we are rising in the squash world, with every major country having at least one professional player,” he said. “I think a part of that improvement is due to the fact that many players, like myself, went to the United States of America and got exposed to one of the most dynamic squash environments in the world.

“The United States is the fastest-rising power in squash,” he said. “The funding for squash there has given them the facilities and a wealth of knowledge from coaches who are attracted to the country.”

Binnie said that his exposure to the United States environment was what enabled him to get top-ranked international players for the 'Yankees vs Yardies' tournament, held at Liguanea Club in St Andrew last year. He added that a bigger tournament with a much wider scope is being planned for next year.

Jermaine Deans, deputy general manager, JN Fund Managers, told the player, “It is a worthwhile investment for us to give our support to you in the service of the development of squash. Our own team members, whom you have coached, tell me that the sport is growing in popularity because it is easy to learn, time-efficient, and they have a really good time playing.

“Chris, your own personal achievement, and your commitment to help develop squash through coaching and advocacy are an inspiration to all Jamaicans,” Deans said. “We wish you, and the Jamaican team, all the best.”

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