Tennis player Chin ready to serve at Junior Pan Am Games
Jamaica’s John Chin is ready to serve as the island’s only tennis qualifier for the inaugural Junior Pan Am Games.
Chin is also the Caribbean’s only male qualifier for the games. However, the region has one other male competitor, but the Dominican Republic player got in with a wild card entry.
Chin, who hails from Manchester, was introduced to the sport by Elmore Haye at the age of four. Ryan Russell of Russell Tennis Academy then helped to hone his game during the ensuing 12 years.
Chin became a fixture in regional tennis at the under 12, 14, 16 and 18 age groups, while becoming the highest-ranked player in the Caribbean and Central America, and achieving an international junior ranking of 211 in 2019 at the age of 16.
Based on his rapid growth, good form and international junior ranking, he had set his sights on qualifying for the junior Grand Slam tournaments — Australian Open, Wimbledon, French Open, and the US Open — but was prevented from doing so by the novel coronavirus pandemic which brought tennis competitions to a screeching halt across the world.
“I think I was on track to get to the junior grand slams before everything shut down but since I lost the last two years in juniors because I wasn’t able to compete internationally for most of that time, I set a new goal for myself to get in my best form for college tennis,” said Chin.
The 18-year-old currently competes in Division I college tennis as a freshman at Middle Tennessee State University under the guidance of Coach Jimmy Borendame.
Chin is excited by the prospects of competing at the games.
“It will be an honour to represent Jamaica at the first-ever Junior Pan Am Games. The level of competition will be high because the draw will have top-ranked players but competing in Cali will be a great way to end my junior tennis career,” he noted.
Having competed extensively on the local scene as a junior, Chin said that he took advantage of every opportunity that was offered to him to participate in regional tournaments and training camps organised by Central American & Caribbean Tennis Confederation (COTECC) and COSAT (the International Tennis Federation (ITF) governing bodies of the Caribbean, Central America, and South America).
“The ITF took me on an Under-13 tour to play tournaments in three different Caribbean islands. After that, I was hooked on competitive tennis and knew that I wanted to take it to the next level and play internationally.
“My ITF coach on that tour, John Goede, told me that ‘whatever happens, stay cool, ignore the noise, play the plan and stay the course’ and I have been trying to do that ever since,” Chin stated.
The Junior Pan American Games’ opening ceremony today in Cali will welcome 3,500 athletes aged 17-22 from 41 countries in 315 events spread across 28 sports. The Games are the junior version of the Pan American Games — the continental multi-sport event which is held every four years since its inception in 1951, in the year prior to the Summer Olympic Games.
Jamaica will compete in a record 12 sporting disciplines, including tennis.