Monday 30 March, 2020

Coronavirus: Jamaica Squash Association suspends all tournaments

 Jamaica’s top international squash player, Chris Binnie.

Jamaica’s top international squash player, Chris Binnie.

The Jamaica Squash Association (JSA) has suspended all scheduled tournaments and competitions as a safety precaution for players and in compliance with the Government of Jamaica’s stipulations on public gatherings to curtail the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19).

The popular KPMG League, which started in February has been postponed until further notice.   Close to 90 players had been participating in the handicap tournament, which was originally scheduled to run until April. 

The preventative action has also affected three top-flight tournaments that had been slated for March.  The prestigious All Jamaica Junior Championships along with the All Jamaica Senior Ladies Championships and a special veteran tournament have all been delayed indefinitely. 

The JSA has indicated that it will look to address the issue of rescheduling events when it is safe for players and spectators.

“The health and safety of our players are of primary importance and we will not proceed until we are satisfied that competitions will pose no risk to them or our wider community,” said JSA President, Chris Hind.

“Naturally there has been some amount of disappointment because our players have been preparing for these competitions, but everyone understands that this is not an ordinary situation and all are agreed that it’s safety first,” he added.

The impact of COVID-19 is also being felt by Jamaica’s top international squash player, Chris Binnie who competes on the Professional Squash Association (PSA) circuit where play has been suspended until the end of April. 

Commenting on the overall situation Binnie, who trains in the US, said, “I can certainly relate to what the players back home in Jamaica are going through because just like me, everyone has been training hard and working towards various tournaments and competitions, but we  all have to be smart about how we use this unexpected break  and I’m encouraging the junior players especially to stay focused and be ready for when we have to get back on the court again.”

Looking ahead, the JSA President said the regional squash community had not yet made any pronouncements on the Caribbean Area Squash Association (CASA) Junior and Senior Championships, which are held annually during the summer.  “Like the JSA, other squash associations across the Caribbean are observing the situation and a decision will be made at the appropriate time,” Hind said.

On Wednesday, Health and Wellness Minister Dr Christopher Tufton reported that Jamaica recorded one more confirmed COVID-19 case. This brings the total to 26 confirmed cases in the country with one fatality.

And the worldwide number of infections has topped 487,000, according to Johns Hopkins University. The death toll has surpassed 22,000, while more than 117,000 have recovered.

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