Thu | Jul 2, 2020

JSA supports students in outreach programme

Published:Thursday | June 25, 2020 | 12:30 AM
Penwood High School student Donell James (left) is congratulated by the president of the Jamaica Squash Association (JSA), Chris Hind, after competing in a junior tournament. The 16-year-old, who got involved in the game through the JSA’s outreach traini
Penwood High School student Donell James (left) is congratulated by the president of the Jamaica Squash Association (JSA), Chris Hind, after competing in a junior tournament. The 16-year-old, who got involved in the game through the JSA’s outreach training programme for Penwood students, represented Jamaica at the Caribbean Areas Squash Association’s Junior Championships in 2018 and 2019.

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

The JSA provided funds for the purchase of mobile data plans to assist students with accessing platforms for online classes following the closure of schools due to the pandemic. In addition, junior players from the Campion College Squash Club and their parents donated care packages for the Penwood students.

The JSA’s partnership with Penwood High began in 2017 when the association started an adjunct programme offering students weekly squash training sessions. Since that time, students from the school have begun playing competitively, with 17-year-old Antonio Cumberland and 16-year-old Donell James making the junior national squad in 2018. James went on to represent Jamaica at the Caribbean Areas Squash Association’s Junior Championships in Trinidad in 2019.

PRACTICE SUSPENDED

Junior squash programme manager, Gill Binnie, said, “We have had to suspend our regular training sessions with the Penwood students because of the health and safety practices that have become necessary because of COVID-19. But although we haven’t been able to see the players regularly, we have still kept in touch with them and with the school and we wanted to provide some support because this has been a challenging time for all of us.”

The outreach programme is among several JSA activities which have been affected by the outbreak of COVID-19. Earlier this year, the association had to postpone the All Jamaica Junior Championships, the All Jamaica Ladies Championships and the KPMG League because of the pandemic. In addition, the Junior and Senior Caribbean Squash Championships, the most prestigious events on the regional calendar, have both been cancelled.

“Like every other sporting fraternity, it has been tough going for our athletes who have been working towards these events, and of course have their personal goals and progress plans, but we are ready to resume training and hopefully competitions as soon as it is safe to do so,” Binnie added.