Meakins wins it for Barbados
The Pride Of Barbados was in full bloom Monday night as reigning 14-time national champion Karen Meakins completed a dominant display to capture the overall women’s crown at the 22nd Senior Caribbean Squash Championships.
Appearing in her eighth successive final, the 42-year-old Barbadian was clinical against Mary-Fung-A-Fat of Guyana, taking just 20 minutes to overcome the former junior Caribbean champ 11-3, 11-7, 11-6.
It proved to be a watershed moment for Meakins, who recently returned to form following a spate of injuries.
“This means the world to me. It’s been a long road back to the top but I was determined to get the job done for Barbados,” said Meakins, who last won the region’s premier squash event in 2010.
Just four months ago, the 2010 National Sportsperson Of The Year underwent surgery to repair damage done to her right foot. This followed corrective surgery in 2011 to mend damaged tendons in her right shoulder.
“I’ve been playing really well all week and I had the home crowd behind me. During the final points of the match, all the emotions of the last couple of years came flooding back. Winning the title with my friends, family and teammates there means everything. It can’t get any better.”
Fung-A-Fat, a 20-year-old student who plays varsity squash for Drexel University, said she was also pleased with her performance.
“This is the farthest I’ve been at the Senior Caribbean Championships, and while I’m disappointed that I didn’t win the final, I think my result is encouraging and I will use it as a springboard for the upcoming Pan American Squash Championships in Mexico.
“Coming second to Karen is nothing to be ashamed of. She is a great player and it was a privilege to compete against someone like her,” she said.
In the highly anticipated men’s final, defending champion Chris Binnie of Jamaica defeated Cameron Stafford of the Cayman Islands 11-9, 11-7, 11-8 to secure his fifth senior Caribbean title.
Arriving in Barbados fresh off an appearance at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, the 25-year-old seldom looked bothered against Stafford – the same opponent he defeated in the 2012 final.
“This tournament has been fantastic – the organisation, the support from the fans, and the incredible hospitality of the Barbadian people,” said Binnie.
“I’ve had a decent year so far and winning this tournament now provides me with the impetus to return to the professional circuit with renewed vigour. Hopefully, some positive results will follow.”
Stafford, a semi-finalist last year, also competed at Commonwealth Games where he reached the final 32.
“Chris is an incredible player but I never really got going against him in the final. But with that said, hats off to him, he played really well and he deserves all the credit,” said the 22-year-old.
The four-day team competition begins today at the Barbados Squash Club. Guyana are the defending champions. (BA/PR)