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Squash queens excel

RIA GOODMAN, [email protected]

Squash queens excel

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Girls’ champions Meagan Best, Amanda Haywood and Jada Smith-Padmore surpassed their expectations when they came away overall champions at the Pan Am Junior Squash Championships in Brazil.

After eliminating highly-ranked teams such as Canada and the United States, the trio advanced to the final where they defeated Ecuador.

Best and Haywood also won the doubles to give Barbados two gold medals and a silver, also won by Best in the individual category.

Smith-Padmore said she was extremely proud of the achievement since they just went into the girls tournament hoping to give of their best and possibly medal, not win the title.

“I was pretty excited during that match and I really shocked myself because I wasn’t really expecting to win but I did it. I feel proud because we were not expecting to win gold, we were just trying to medal. To win gold was a really big achievement for us,” she said.

She said she was familiar with her opponent from the Canadian Open and knew she was a good player.

“I was trying to get as much points as I could but then I won the first two games, and I was like whew, I can actually beat this girl and I just went out there and did my best.”

Best missed out on the gold in the individual competition but she was pleased with her accomplishment.

“I am esctatic about the overall win for the girls, coming second and also taking gold in the doubles. Obviously, I wanted to come first but I guess I’ll settle for the silver,” she said.

She explained that while she was familiar with the competitors’ style, the matches were very keenly contested.

“I guess it’s who wanted it more on the day, and was feeling better. It all depends on how you climatise and stuff but kudos to the winner”.

On returning home, The St Michael student, who just completed her CXCs and will be attending the Choate Rosemary Hall High School in Connecticut in September, is hoping to work a whole lot harder in terms of preparing for the regional championship where she is the champion.

Haywood explained that she and Best prepared for the doubles competition just two weeks before the competition. She said though squash doubles were not normally played in Barbados, once they worked on their bond they knew they would be fine.

“It was the first time we ever played doubles together because it’s not like a thing down here. We just tried to build a relationship with each other on court so we could bond, because that’s very important in doubles. It’s not about one person on either side. It’s a relationship, you have to work together.

Of the 80 athletes from 13 countries who competed at the championship Best and Haywood were the only two athletes who captured two gold medals.

Best, 16, ended up with the most impressive record of all of the competitors. She competed in the singles, doubles and team events, racking up 14 victories in 15 matches over a seven-day period.

The last time that Barbados attended the Pan American Junior Championship was in 2004 when Nadia McCarthy won a bronze medal in the girls’ singles and the girls’ team won a silver medal in the team event. (RG)