The Jamaica Squash Association (JSA) has continued to support young players from Penwood High School in St. Andrew, who participated in its outreach programme, even though the training sessions have been suspended as a safety precaution due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Premier Caribbean men’s squash player, Chris Binnie, has earned high marks from the Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA) for his professionalism and humility, among other things, as sports’ governing body here highlighted his ascent in the racquet sports global standings.

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.

Commenting on his rise, Ryan Foster, CEO/Secretary General of sports’ apex sporting body, said: "The JOA is extremely proud of the recent rise in the world rankings of Chris Binnie. His hard work is a testimony to dedication and perseverance and we want to also congratulate the Jamaica Squash Association for their diligence in ensuring the success of their constituent member.

"Chris is the epitomè of a true professional, one of integrity, fair play and humility, all characters which represent Olympism. These traits led us to elect Chris to be the flagbearer for the recently held Panam Games in 2019. We will continue to strengthen our partnership with squash and all our member associations while we continue to lead the movement within our country,” added Foster.

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.

Under the leadership of Christopher Samuda, its President, the JOA has ramped up its earning capacity in recent years, enabling their ability in contributing to its body of local sporting affiliates. Foster explained the nature of their support to squash.

"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.”

 

 

The Jamaica Squash Association (JSA) has suspended all scheduled tournaments and competitions as a safety precaution for players and in compliance with the Government of Jamaica’s stipulations on public gatherings to curtail the spread of COVID-19.

The 21st annual KPMG Squash League will kick off on Tuesday, February 18, 2020, with a jam-packed roster as 22 teams do battle for top honours. 

The popular handicap tournament will have close to 90 players in action with ages, gender, experience and skill-levels ranging across the spectrum.  The competition’s unique format will ensure that each player is on a level footing with their opponent, which makes for exciting matches and unpredictable outcomes game by game.

Defending champions, the Adams Family are back in the hunt, fielding the same four-man line-up of Robert Roper, Adam Hugh, Adam Lee and Allan Roper, who got the job done last year.

Similarly, 2019 runners up, the Power Bolts, have kept their roster intact and the team, which includes four junior national squad players; Aman Dhiman, Savannah Thomson, Mia Todd and Dylan Vaz, is determined to take the title this time around.

Also in the mix are multiple-time champions, the Milex Eagles whose star-studded slate includes former Caribbean Junior Champions, Larissa and Akelia Wiltshire, former All Jamaica Junior Champion, Tahjia Lumley as well as Shane Slater, an experienced competitor.  In the same vein, 2018 winners, the ‘Cereal’ Killers, another all-juniors team, are also hoping to return to the winner’s circle.

“The KPMG League is a tournament that the entire squash community looks forward to because the participation cuts across the board and showcases the range of players who compete in the sport,” Chris Hind, President of the Jamaica Squash Association said.

“We are also pleased that this year we have strong representation from our junior players, and this will sharpen their skills for the national and Caribbean championships that are coming up later this year,” he added.

Tarun Handa, Managing Partner for KPMG in Jamaica said, “KPMG has supported this tournament for over 20 years and we continue to be impressed by the way the competition brings out a wide cross-section of players and spectators making it a true community event, and this year should be no different.”

The first phase of the tournament, which will feature a round-robin format is expected to run until the end of March.  The top 8 teams will advance to the knockout stage which will be played in the first half of April.

Chris Binnie is hoping that winning the Life Time Atlanta Open in Sandy Springs, USA, on Sunday will be the first of many more tournament wins this season that will result in a significant climb up the world rankings.

 Jamaica had a creditable showing at the Men’s World Team Squash Championships finishing 18th out of 23 as the tournament concluded over the weekend in Washington DC in the United States.

Competing against the best players on the planet, the Jamaican Team, which included 9-time national and regional champion, Chris Binnie, Lewis Walters, Bruce Burrowes and Tahjia Lumley, improved on the country’s performance in the previous championships in 2017 when the team finished 21st.

The week-long campaign got off to a challenging start with 3-0 losses to Hong Kong, the number 6th ranked team and Australia, who were seeded at 7; as well as a 2-1 defeat at the hands of rising global stars, Kuwait.  The results landed Jamaica in the playoff for places 13 to 23.

The playoff round brought brighter moments with the highlights being a surprise 2-0 win over South American stalwarts, Colombia and a 2-1 victory against Singapore.  However, a 3-0 defeat at the hands of the US and a 2-0 loss to Ireland landed Jamaica in 18th place overall.

“We are extremely proud of our performance at the World Team Championships, we improved on our position from the last tournament, two years ago, we finished ahead of higher-ranked teams like South Africa and a powerhouse like Colombia who we actually beat in the playoffs,” said the Jamaica Squash Association’s President, Chris Hind.

“We are extremely proud of our performance at the World Team Championships, we improved on our position from the last tournament, two years ago, we finished ahead of higher-ranked teams like South Africa and a powerhouse like Colombia who we actually beat in the playoffs.

“There were great wins along the way from our number one and two players; Chris Binnie and Lewis Walters and there was a hard fight from our other players Bruce Burrowes and Tahjia Lumley and it’s onwards and upwards for Jamaican squash in 2020.”

Jamaica's men were swept by the United States in quarter-final-round play at the World Men’s Team Championships in Washington on Thursday.

Jamaica celebrated their first win at the 2019WSF Men’s World Team Championships in Washington in the United States on Wednesday.

Defending champion, Chris Binnie, won an eighth consecutive All-Jamaica Senior Squash title after posting at the Liguanea Club in Kingston over the weekend. Binnie, who was winning his ninth title overall, defeated second seed Bruce Burrowes 11-6, 11-4, 11-3.

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.

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