Sky's the limit for local squash star
Presently, when you speak about Jamaica's Junior Squash there are not many names to choose from but one that hurriedly comes to mind is the very affable and polite Alyssa Mullings, from Mandeville, Manchester.
Mullings has shown the requisite skills, discipline, aptitude and tenacity that can take her to the very top of her sport at the professional level. The very talented 15-year-old has shown consistency at winning titles both at the national and regional levels.
Mullings has won multiple National titles and created history in 2013 by winning the national female title at age 14, and she
successfully retained that title earlier this year.
A lower sixth-form student at the Mount St Joseph Catholic High, in Manchester, Mullings won a record-breaking fifth consecutive Caribbean Squash Championships in Trinidad and Tobago this year, when she defeated the top seed from Guyana to win the girls' Under-17 title against Larissa Whiltshire.
focus on squash
At age 10, Mullings was introduced to the game by her father Steve, who plays squash, she said, for exercise.
Mullings plays both squash and badminton at the national level, but in recent times has opted to focus solely on squash.
Experience has taught Mullings how to keep her focus and poise during games.
"I usually tell myself first to calm down and focus on the point that I am in right now, try my best not to make any mistakes and just play through the point as well as I can," Mullings informed.
"I am a hard-working indivi-dual, I really put my shoulder to the wheel when I enjoy things. I try to do my best and I don't do anything half-hearted. I always try to do things to make myself proud and my parents and country proud. Also, I try to go into each game being confident, but not overconfident because when you do not go into your
game confident you are twice defeated," she added.
The squash star said her most memorable moment to date came at her first-ever international tournament. Playing in Barbados at the tender age of 10 she went up against a lot of older girls and placed fourth in the tournament.
"When I realised that I was going to get a trophy for fourth I remember running down to my parents happy and screaming that I am getting a medal, I was really excited in my first tournament," she said.
The Manchester native is not only excelling on the court, but she is doing brilliantly in her academics. Last May and June, Mullings sat nine CSEC subjects and got ones in all nine. Her subjects included physics, chemistry, biology, mathematics, English language and Spanish.
She is determined to gain a solid education.
"It is very important because when all else fails, there is always your education to fall back on but I believe that if I train and train hard enough that I can do very well in squash. But if an injury is to happen, I would not be able to play squash and without an education I would be in hot water," she explained.
She revealed that men's champion Christopher Binnie is her local squash idol, while World No. 1 female player, Nicol David of Malaysia, is her international idol.
Mullings says that playing squash has impacted her life in a good way as it has allowed her to see the world.
"My family - mother, father and my brother - has impacted my life in a positive manner playing their various roles in my life," she added.
Mullings said her ultimate ambition in life is to complete her education and to become a medical doctor, as well as to go as far as squash takes her. She further disclosed that in the next 2-4 years she hopes to continue playing squash for Jamaica and even in her university years as well while hoping to represent Jamaica at the senior level, and one day if squash becomes an Olympic sport she would love to represent Jamaica at the Games.
She concluded that winning and being a many-time champion at such a young age confirms to her that hard work pays off.