Badrinauth’s dream is to compete in Commonwealth Games By Isaiah Chappelle
Guyana Chronicle
July 19, 2002

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NATIONAL squash champion Shawn Anthony Badrinauth’s immediate dream is to compete in the Commonwealth Games that open next Wednesday in Manchester.

When the squash team was selected, Badrinauth had not yet clinched the National title, but he was good enough to be named as a fourth member of the team as five more places were allotted to Guyana in the Games - awaiting funds for the trip.

Unfortunately, the Guyana Squash Association cannot fund his trip. He embarked on seeking sponsorship personally, raising US$900, but still needing some US$800 up to yesterday.

The champion told Chronicle Sport: “I really want to go to the Commonwealth Games. It’s my dream. A lot of professional players will be there, so I will get the experience and learn from the Games. I see myself as a professional player later down in the future.”

Badrinauth now has a momentum that propelled him to the top of the country’s squash. He consolidated that achievement by winning the Barbados Open, last week, competing against players from the host country, Trinidad & Tobago and England.

That momentum probably accelerated last year when he upset Caribbean champion Luke Fraser in the semifinals of the National Championships, but ended runner-up to Regan Pollard.

“It was a big turnaround for me. I told myself I could beat other good players,” Badrinauth said.

Shawn’s squash career began 1989 when close friend Javed Ali introduced him to the game at the Georgetown Cricket Club. He was eleven years old and he played cricket and football for fun.

The following year, he attended coaching sessions conducted by Georgetown Club, every Saturday. He never won a title as a junior but went close as runner-up.

Badrinauth’s first tour in the National colours was to Bermuda for the 1992 Junior CARASRA, reaching the Individual final but losing to a Bermudan for the title.

However, the budding champion did not play for three years - 1993 to 1995 - because of injury to his thigh muscles and problems with his ankles. His ankles still affect him, so he has to rest after major tournaments.

Shawn was back on the court in 1996 and ended his junior years with a silver medal in Junior CARASRA, staged in the Cayman Islands that July, losing in the Individual final to Regan Pollard.

The following month, he made the senior team for the Southern Caribbean Championships in Trinidad & Tobago, placing seventh or eighth in the Singles competition.

“From there I made the senior team coming out in the top four,” Badrinauth recalled.

But Shawn had one major problem - he lost his temper easily and had some bad times as a young player.

Fortunately, despite the stiff competition on court, the players developed a friendship that was not affected by one beating the other in play and Pollard and Luke Fraser encouraged him.

“They gave me good inspiration. They told me never to give up but continue playing hard. That was a really good foundation. We would sit down and discuss what we did wrong in a game,” Badrinauth said.

His friends spoke to him about his attitude on court, which affected his game.

“I corrected myself and started to play good squash about three years ago. From there I started focusing on the game. I learnt to ignore bad calls by the umpire and looked to the next point. That was the turning point for me,” Badrinauth recalled.

The first signal that Shawn was ready to occupy the top slot in the country was when he won the Bounty tournament last year. Then he upset Fraser in the National championships, ending one slot away from the crown.

Then June 30 last, three days before his 24th birthday, Shawn was crowned National champion. He celebrated his birthday on July 3.

“I adjusted myself to harder training to reach the final. If it were not for Coach Carl Ince, I would not have been playing hard squash. I’m on top of my game now,” Badrinauth declared.

Court speed, retrieving the ball and fitness were assets that served him well in achieving the coveted title.

“I see myself going a far way, but it will take time. I have to train pretty hard. I am looking forward to winning the Individual title at the Southern Caribbean Championships in Trinidad & Tobago in August,” Badrinauth said.

The only child to a maternal single parent, Shawn lives a disciplined life, no drinking when training for competition, no excessive partying and no smoking.

“I never put a cigarette in my mouth and I never intend to do it either,” Badrinauth declared.

Shawn is now dedicated to the sport that has done so much for him, getting the necessary support from his mother.

“If it were not for this game, I would not have been travelling overseas. I love to travel, see places and learn from different cultures,” Badrinauth said.

With timely sponsorship, the new National champion could be travelling to Manchester and be on the court when play starts on July 26 in the Commonwealth Games.