Trinidad and Tobago will play Barbados in the finals of the second round of the 2016 Caribbean Women’s Olympic Beach Qualifier today at the Urban Development Corporation’s Beach in Ocho Rios, St Ann. Trinidad advanced after beating Jamaica 15-11 in a golden set to advance 3-2 in one semi-final while Barbados got the better of French St Martin (3-0). All four teams advance to the third round of the elimination, scheduled for El Salvador in May. Yesterday’s result a big disappointment for the Jamaica delegation. “A golden set is like a penalty shootout in football, one false start and it’s very difficult to come back; we started off slow in the set and we ended up chasing the game and in the end we lost,” said coach Gatasheu Bonner. “Our first aim was to qualify for the third round (but) apart from that we really, really wanted to win this tournament here and give our Jamaican fans something to cheer about.”
Jamaica’s top-ranked squash player, Chris Binnie is on his way to joining the global elite of the sport. The Jamaica and Caribbean men’s squash champion for the last seven years, Binnie, 27, has also improved his Professional Squash Association (PSA) ranking to number 89 among the world’s best players as of this month, from 93 in March. This improvement came after he signed a one-year sponsorship agreement with JN Fund Managers Limited at the firm’s New Kingston office recently. “My goal is to be ranked as one of the top 50 players by December,” he said. “I believe I can do it.” The top 50 players form an elite of the sport, travelling the world to compete in the main events. Having a better ranking means the players get better placed in competitions and also have more options in choosing the competitions they find more attractive. Binnie has come a long way since April of 2012 when he had PSA ranking of 389. He progressed to a ranking of 131 by October 2013 joined the top 100 in November last year. Binnie’s optimism is also based on the success he is having with his new coach, Australian Rodney Martin, a former winner of the World Open Squash Championship who once ranked second in the world. Along with three other teammates, he has been going through a tough training programme to improve his overall match preparedness level, with his new coach. He said the sponsorship by JN Fund Managers would also help him achieve his goal. Based in Connecticut in the United States of America, he coaches at Trinity College in Hartford, and had been limited to playing matches mainly in North America. “This sponsorship allows me to go to more tournaments and select ones in Europe and Asia,” he said. “I need to take on the best players in the most competitive tournaments globally if I am to improve. And it requires funding to get to the matches and maintain myself while competing.” Brando Hayden, general manager of JN Fund Managers, said: “We admire what Chris Binnie has done for himself and for Jamaica. He has invested his time and talents, making him one of the top 100 squash players in the world. “We want to help him fulfil his dreams because his success will also pave the way for others,” Hayden said. Binnie himself launched the Jamaica Squash Association’s Grassroots Clinic to students of Papine High School and New Providence Primary School on March 20. And the programme at the University of Technology is noteworthy for the players who have emerged from that facility.