The Cayman Islands National Squash Association (CINSA) is at a funding crossroads.
After the departure of it’s major sponsor in 2016, CINSA President Janet Sairsingh said the association used it’s entire ‘reserve funding’ in 2017 to keep the national programme alive.
Without the backing of a major sponsor in 2018, Sairsingh said financing the sport grew challenging. In late December, CINSA Head Coach Marc Chaloner stepped down.
“We haven’t found a sponsor of that magnitude,” said Sairsingh. “We have a couple small sponsors, but it’s not enough to sustain a full-time coach all year round.”
CINSA’s annual government grant is CI $7,00o. Sairsingh says that barely covers court fees ranging from CI $4.00 to $6.00 dollars per 45 minutes. Not to mention, yearly expenses of national team travel.
“We use several courts per session,” said Sairsingh. “If you’re training for an hour and a half, two hours, every week, it adds up.”
In the absence of a national coach, the South Sound Squash Club opted to start a junior programme to continue youth development. Sairsingh says, however, help is on the way.
“We have Junior and Senior CASA (Caribbean Amateur Squash Championships), and the Islands Games, so for that short period of time, we will have a coach come in.”
CINSA applied via the Cayman Islands Olympic Committee (CIOC) to the Pan Am Sports Organization for a coaching grant. Cayman 27 confirmed through the CIOC that part of the grant was approved.
As for the Squash’s Club suggestion to take over training Cayman’s amateur squash players full-time, Sairsingh says, although talented, Cayman’s senior squash amateurs are not an ideal fit.
“You need a coach that has experience in developing a player, a strong player, from a medium level, or even from a higher level, to the height of their career,” said Sairsingh. “They can learn from a coach such as that (local senior players) to develop themselves, and eventually reach that standard, but in my opinion they’re not there yet.”
In the interim, the Squash Club says they will help facilitate the school programmes without charging court costs to CINSA. Sairsingh, much like Squash Club leaders, know their relationship is vital to the survival of the sport.
“It has to be a partnership,” said Sairsingh. “We don’t own the facility, it’s the best facility on the island, and the only facility to run a programme.”