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Squash Association planning safe return to play

Published:Friday | October 30, 2020 | 12:09 AM

The Jamaica Squash Association (JSA) says it is working towards the safe resumption of national squad training and competitions as soon as possible after suspending all tournaments earlier this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The JSA says it is actively engaging health and sporting authorities in discussions regarding strategies for restarting competitive play within the bounds dictated by established health and safety protocols.

The onset of COVID-19 abruptly halted the 2020 squash calendar, causing the suspension of the KPMG League in March and the cancellation of the All-Jamaica Junior and Senior Championships. In addition, although Jamaica was set to host the Caribbean Area Squash Association’s (CASA) Senior Championships for the first time in over 10 years, the tournament has been delayed until 2021.

“We started 2020 with a packed schedule of exciting events, the highlight of which would have been the hosting of Senior CASA in the summer, but COVID-19 called a halt to all competitive activities,” JSA President Chris Hind said. “Now, like other sporting associations, we are developing methodologies to execute competitions and other events in a manner that preserves the health and safety of our athletes, officials and spectators; and as part of that process, we have reached out to the relevant authorities for guidance in deciding the way forward.”

The JSA says that devising a strategy for a meaningful execution of Senior CASA in 2021 is high on its agenda, and readying its younger players for Junior CASA is a tentative plan for next year. The association is also contemplating participation in major international competitions such as the 2021 Men’s World Teams Championships and the Commonwealth Games, scheduled for 2022.

Although the future is uncertain, Hind said that the JSA was planning for every eventuality.

“There a lot of moving variables at this point, because we do not know what the landscape will look like in terms of travelling and the staging of international competitions in the post-COVID era, but it is important to plan ahead in terms of training and fundraising, so that when international competitions resume Team Jamaica will be ready,” he said.