Chris Binnie begins hunt for ninth All-Jamaica crown

By November 25, 2019

Chris Binnie, Jamaica’s and the Caribbean’s number-one player, began the hunt for his ninth title at the All Jamaica Senior Squash Championships which began on Monday, November 25 and conclude on the 29th at the Liguanea Club in Kingston.

The top seed in the men’s draw and defending champion, Binnie will be seeking to cement his dominance and extend a streak, which has seen him go undefeated at the national championships for the last nine years.

However, to retain his hold on the crown, he will have to navigate a stacked field that includes his perennial rival, Bruce Burrowes, the number-two seed and former national champion, Dane Schwier.

Also gunning for the coveted championship are former junior champions, Tahjia Lumley and Jonathan Walker.  Lumley will be aiming to improve on his third-place finish at the 2018 Championships. Walker, meantime, has been sharpening his skills on the college circuit in the United States.  

Tournament Director and Jamaica Squash Association Secretary, Gill Binnie said the mix of seasoned players in good form and young guns blazing to breakthrough will make for an exciting championship.

“We expect to see some very competitive matches and high-quality squash as most of our top players will be in contention this year,” she said.

“Chris Binnie will be going for his ninth title, but Bruce and Dane are also itching to take the top prize, and Tahjia and Jonathan might be younger but they’re fearless and eager to see a changing of the guard.”

The tournament will also feature a Ladies draw, Men’s B and C draws and veterans will contest the Over 40 and Over 50 categories. 

 

Leighton Levy

Leighton Levy is a journalist with 28 years’ experience covering crime, entertainment, and sports. He joined the staff at SportsMax.TV as a content editor two years ago and is enjoying the experience of developing sports content and new ideas. At SportsMax.tv he is pursuing his true passion - sports.

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    Binnie, the record-holder of nine Caribbean singles championship titles, improved his World Squash Federation rankings in singles to 76th in 2020 before the COVID-19 pandemic halted play on the Professional Squash Association circuit. Binnie is also ranked 36th in doubles globally and 13th in the Americas region.

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    The 31-year-old Jamaican’s improvement represented a major comeback, as Binnie played his way to a career-high world ranking of 65 in 2018, but fell to 88th in 2019 when he was beset by injuries.

    Reflecting on the turnaround, Binnie said: “I was excited to start moving back up the rankings again. It (2019) was obviously a difficult year … I was plagued with injuries so my ranking definitely fell a bit. But last fall and early this spring before the coronavirus set in, I was doing really well. I had won a couple of events and I was moving back up the rankings, so I was very excited and looking forward, to once the Tour does start back, to get back out there and continue to do that.”

    Prior to the shutdown, Binnie was successful in winning the Life Time Atlanta Open in Sandy Springs, in February and the Pittsburgh Challenger series in January. In December also, he was a member of the Jamaica team that placed 18th at the World Team Squash Championships in December and at the Panam Games in Lima, Peru in 2019, he partnered with Lewis Walters to make the quarter-finals.

    Asked about the impact of the pandemic, Binnie said: “Yes, COVID is a big setback, but it’s a big setback for everybody, so I’ll try to use this time positively to help in other areas that I wouldn’t normally have time for and then I can build on that and help with my success once I’m back in competition mode.”

    The prospects of competition returning appear encouraging with the resumption - and approved dates for a restart - for a number of big competitions, primarily the German Bundesliga and other top European leagues including Spain’s La Liga and the United Kingdom’s English Premier League, in football, as well as the United States’ National Basketball Association (NBA).

    As he competes largely on the international PSA circuit, due to associated costs, Binnie was asked to comment on the support provided by the JOA.

    “The support from the JOA obviously I’m incredibly grateful for it. Without them, it’d be very difficult to do what I do. I’m just very thankful that they’ve been on board and they’ve been helping me over the years getting ready in these smaller competitions – Panam, CAC and Caribbeans where I’ve been meddling and also on the Pro Tour where they’ve continued to help with my development,” said Binnie.

    “I can’t thank them enough, (their support) it’s been invaluable and I hope that they can continue to do that. They’re definitely branching out support in many different sports now, that’s fantastic to see. I’m happy that they’re continuing to stick with me, even in the ups and the downs. Last year was a tough year and now I’m back on track so hopefully, things will continue to go well,” added Binnie.

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    "Some two years ago the JOA and the Jamaica Squash Association expanded their partnership to include the financial support to improve the sport within the country, as well as to increase the participation of their athletes in local and international competitions and we have seen the successes of this during the Commonwealth Games, CAC Games and PanAm Games," Foster outlined.

    "We also extended our support directly to Chris in his preparations leading up to tournaments which have had obvious direct impact on his rise in world rankings."

    As he continues to rise, Binnie is at looking at other horizons and primarily, the hope that his sport will soon make it to the Olympics.

    “The Olympics is an interesting topic. There was a bid to get it into the 2020 Olympic Games and that, unfortunately, lost out … so it’s obviously looking for the next Games after that. So thankfully this (Tokyo 2020 postponement) doesn’t affect me as much and it’s more about focusing on the World Tour to get my ranking up so that later on when the Olympics do become an option I’ll be ready to perform.”

     

     

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