Caribbean players preparing for CASA
Ryan Abraham looks at the Caribbean’s top players, starting with Jamaica’s Chris Binnie …
August is generally a quiet month of squash for most countries across the globe, it is considered the off-season for the U.S. and other seasonal regions of the northern hemisphere.
However, while other players are enjoying time off, summer vacations and holidays, the Caribbean is getting prepared for its biggest event of the year, the CASA (Caribbean Area Squash Association) Championships: informally known as the Caribbean Championships.
This year in particular the various Caribbean countries have been producing some highly talented young players, some of whom have recently emerged onto the PSA tour.
This year has recorded the largest number of Caribbean representatives on the PSA tour at one time and promises well for the future of junior players in the tropical region generally known for gorgeous beaches, delectable food, and beautiful people.
As a preface to the Caribbean Championships set to begin on August 17th in Trinidad & Tobago, I would like to highlight the five Caribbean-born players currently touring on the PSA and you can follow the series of profiles over the next few days:
BIO #1 – CHRIS BINNIE (Jamaica)
PSA Ranking #168
Chris Binnie, the reigning Caribbean Champion, is on his way to becoming one of the Caribbean’s best represented players in a long time.
Chris is a former two-time U17 and U19 Caribbean Champion and has also won the senior Men’s Caribbean title in 2009 and 2011.
He recently became the first ever Caribbean player to win a PSA Open title when he took home the British Virgin Islands Open as a qualifier, taking out world #150 and world #155 players along the way.
He was a member of the Trinity College squash team in the U.S. (13-time National Intercollegiate Champions), and was ranked in the top 15 on the CSA Mens Individuals rankings in 2011.
Since joining the tour in January of this year, he has quickly climbed to #168 on the PSA, and I guarantee this is just the beginning of the Jamaican’s journey.
INTERVIEW WITH CHRIS
How did you get into the game of squash?
My mother and father played and so from a young age she got me involved playing with them.
Did you play any other sports like football or cricket growing up in the Caribbean, and why did squash become the primary sport?
I played both cricket and football also growing up, all through high school also. I continued to play squash and football at the varsity level at college also.
I played club level in the US for soccer but decided to stop because of injury concerns with squash and now squash is my primary sport. I think I am a bit better at squash than football so I choose squash haha
How / why did you decide to go to the U.S. for college squash instead of Canada or U.K.? What was your experience like at Trinity?
No idea, Trinity said I could play both football and squash and that was one of the most important things for me. I loved trinity, enjoyed both football and squash programs, had great success with both.
When did you first decide to play on the PSA circuit? And why?
Maybe when I was finished college. I didn’t want to work a desk job and I was still young and so I thought maybe I could give it a shot for a couple years and see what could happen.
What is your biggest squash victory to date? (as a junior, or as an adult)
So if I win, we win number 13 national championship, if I lose, we lose the streak and no National Championship title. Thankfully I was able to pull through and we won again.
Best player that I have beaten to date? No idea actually, sorry. I don’t win enough haha.
To be honest, I left them open and just want to see how I progress. Didn’t want to put any pressure on myself, so just decided I would train hard and see what happens with results then I would evaluate after the first year and a half.
So hopefully I continue to do well and I will have good news for you in the future
Did you have any role models growing up?
Don’t remember really. I looked up to an older squash player from Jamaica, James Bullock. One of the hardest workers I have met and proved that hard work will take you places, on and off court.
[Ryan: I also hold great respect for James, having been his teammate on the Harvard squash team. James, I hope you read this and take some credit for inspiring Chris!]
When not training for squash, what do you do for fun / hobbies?
Play as much soccer as I can, RELAX because training is tough haha, love music, like to play video games. Go home to jamaica to be with friends
Which three words would you use to describe yourself ?
Lucky, determined, easy-going.
Thanks a lot for your time Chris. And there you have it folks!
The Caribbean champ from Jamaica will be coming to Trinidad to defend his title but he will also have some tough competition from other upcoming players who have also been getting some tour experience this year.
Stay tuned for more profiles this week in my Extended CASA preview …
#1: Chris Binnie | #2: Cameron Stafford | #3: Micah Franklin | #4: Colin Ramasra | #5: Joe Chapman