Tough battle for Association of the Year title By Isaiah Chappelle
Guyana Chronicle
January 10, 2007

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A TOUGH battle will ensue for the Association of the Year title, with major achievements by several national bodies in the past year, including squash.

The Guyana Squash Association fielded teams in five international meets, medalling in four while breaking new grounds in some.

Guyana best showing was in the CASA Junior Caribbean Championships hosted by Jamaica. The players dominated the meet, bringing home three individual titles, the most by any country in the championship, one team and the overall crown.

Mary Fung-A-Fat won the Under-13 Girls title, Keisha Jeffrey the Under-15 Girls and Alex Arjoon the Under-15 Boys.

The Girls Team played unbeaten to take that title and Boys Team placed third that gave Guyana the overall title, a record thirteenth time, a performance that should give them a berth for the Team of the Year award.

In the senior department, the countryís best outing was at the Central Ameircan & Caribbean (CAC) Games host by Colombia in Cartegena, where the touring party won a gold, a silver and a bronze.

Nicolette Fernandes won her first gold in the Games, in an amazing comeback after being two games down to defeat Mexican Samantha Teran, to become the only non-Mexican to strike gold.

She teamed up with Maxim Weithers in Mixed Double to take a silver, while the Ladies Team won the bronze.

In the more senior Pan American championships, also, in Colombia but in Medellin, the GSA fielded a ladies team and Fernandes won a silver in the Singles, but the team was knocked out of the group phase, after loosing Colombia and Mexico.

Near to home, Fernandes clinched her third title in the Southern Caribbean Championships hosted by Barbados, that performance matched only by Alwyn Callender who dethroned the defending champion in the Over-50 competition.

Guyana placed second to Barbados in the Veteranís, Menís, Ladiesí and Overall team categories.

The GSA had three players in the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, Australia, their most senior outing. They were Fernandes, Weithers and Shawn Badrinath, but they bowed out in the first round of the singles. Fernandes and Badrinath were injured in the process and Guyana could not enter the doubles competitions.

However, it was good year for Fernandes and climbed the world ranking ladder some 21 rungs to be currently ranked 29th in the world by WISPA, to be voted the Most Improved Player Award at the World Squash Awards in England.

The Sportswoman of the Year title already seems hers, making it the fourth time Fernandes would wear the crown.

On the local scene, the GSA staged seven tournaments at both the junior and senior levels, along with holding several fund raisers, including a squash marathon at the Everest Cricket Club where squash was played for twelve hours continuously, from 15:00 h to 3:00 h, the following morning.