Geaves hoping to use British Junior Open as a springboard for future junior success
By MICHAEL CATLING – Squash Mad Reporter
England High Performance Coach Fiona Geaves is optimistic about breaking Egypt’s stranglehold on the British Junior Open in future events, after being impressed by the performances of her younger charges in Sheffield.
Geaves (pictured above with Drew) controversially wrote off England’s chances before the tournament had even begun but the trio of Lily Taylor, Nada Elkalaawy and Anna Kimberley surprised many by progressing to the quarter final stage in the Under 19 event.
Georgina Kenny and Elise Lazarus also made the last eight of their respective Under 17 and Under 15 categories and while all five were ultimately overshadowed by their Egyptian counterparts, Geaves believes the performances showed positive signs for the future.
“The girls competed superbly this year in all age groups, highlighting the fact we are beginning to compete strongly on the worldwide stage, Geaves told England Squash & Racketball.
“From the Under 13 girls all the way through to the U19 girls we are clearly seeing progression and development as we begin to challenge for the ultimate event of a junior’s career, the Junior World Open.
“The girls are now playing fearless squash and beginning to realise they can compete and challenge the likes of Egypt, showing excellent athleticism, determination and passion to perform.
“Looking at this year’s finishing positions and performances, we can seriously look to the future for the next BJO winner.”
Geaves comments were also echoed by fellow High Performance Coach Lee Drew, who was equally impressed by the semi-final berths achieved by two of his younger protégées.
“There were some very promising performances, with George Parker (Under 19) and Patrick Rooney (Under 17) both reaching their respective semi-finals,” said Drew (pictured left).
“The many matches that I witnessed generally showed some very good squash from the boys and some very strong performances against very good foreign opposition.
“There were some extremely good personal performances, which was confirmed by two players reaching the semi-finals.
Having said that, it is only a platform to build from and there are still players out there doing slightly better, finalists and winners; the fascination is finding ways to develop further and become even more competitive.”
Despite the impressive performances of the older juniors, English representatives failed to progress past the third round in the Under 15 and Under 13 categories.
And while Drew refused to elaborate on his plans for the future, he admitted discussions will take place to address some of the shortcomings in Sheffield.
“There are always good areas and areas to improve in every performance, which will generally be discussed with the relevant players and their coaches,” Drew said. “A good aim for next year will be to become even more competitive in the younger age groups at this event.
Source: England Squash & Racketball; Pictures by Patrick Le Fur and Michael Catling