OTTAWA, ON (August 9th, 2019) — From July 30th to August 9th, Canada’s top junior athletes made the journey to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to compete on a global stage at the 2019 World Junior Squash Championships.
The event dates back to 1973 in South London, where a team competition entitled “The Junior International Festival” first took place. It joined four countries: England, Scotland, Wales and Sweden. The event gained international popularity, and in 1980, the individual competition was added. The current World Junior Squash Championships are open to all countries, and consist of junior men’s and junior women’s individuals, with a team event rotating gender annually.
Twelve of Canada’s top-level juniors competed in the individual competition, with Brianna Jefferson, Charlotte Orcutt, Erica McGillicuddy and Molly Chadwick making up the nation’s 2019 Women’s Team. Leading the Canadian Squad into competition was Head Coach Jonathan Hill, and Team Manager Janet MacLeod.
The team event first began with Qualification Pool Play, where Canada competed against Australia, Japan and Malaysia for a spot in the Championship Draw. The Canadian girls defeated Japan in a 3-0 sweep but faced a heartbreaking loss to Australia (2-1), with both Brianna and Charlotte losing in intense five-setters. It then came time to face the 2nd seed, Malaysia. Team Canada gave it their all, but were unfortunately overpowered by the host country, going down 0-3.
After the qualification round ended, Team Canada moved to the 9-12 playoff draw and it was nothing but blue skies ahead. The matches were highly contested, but the Canadian girls proved dominant, defeating all three teams in their pool that included New Zealand, South Africa, and France. After successfully finishing at the top of the pool with a 3-0 record, Team Canada won the 9-12 draw to secure the 9th place finish.
“I’m so proud of our team this year. They all fought very hard in the individuals leading up to the team event. We suffered a tough loss to Australia in the early rounds of the pool play, but our team showed how resilient they are and fought through some very tough countries, including New Zealand and France to place 9th in the world! There were 3 girls here from Canada who all qualify for the next two worlds which is very exciting for Canadian junior squash. Janet and I are very proud of these young women for their performance on and off the court.” – Jonathan Hill, Head Coach
Words from the Athletes:
“I am extremely grateful for my time at Worlds and to be able to play for Team Canada. Individuals was a very fun experience with being able to play girls from countries around the world. I also loved the Teams aspect because I got to bond more with the Canadian team instead of battling against them like I usually do in Canada. Overall, I loved my experience in Malaysia! The coaches were amazing, and I will miss spending time with the three other girls!” – Charlotte Orcutt
“I’m proud to have been able to represent Canada at Worlds and get to compete against other players from all around the world. It was a wonderful experience to play on the team with the other girls and learn from our amazing coaches, Jon and Janet. I will always cherish the memories that I made on this trip!” – Brianna Jefferson
“My time competing at Worlds has been an amazing experience. I am so grateful to have been able to share this opportunity with a wonderful team and such incredible coaches. I have learned so much by being able to compete against international players and I am looking forward to the chance to compete in Worlds in following years.” – Molly Chadwick
“Representing Team Canada has been an outstanding experience. I have had an amazing time competing alongside such a great team with such fantastic coaches. Seeing teams from around the world is inspiring and motivates me to keep training hard.” – Erica McGillicuddy
The Individual Competition was an opportunity for some of the best Canadian juniors to represent their country at an International level at the World Junior Squash Championships. Twelve juniors from Canada travelled to Malaysia with the goal of showcasing their individual skills. Egypt proved the dominant country, with three of their junior girls, and three of their junior boys, making it to the semi-finals in their respective categories.
A highlight for Canada included James Flynn, from Toronto, Ontario, finishing an amazing 10th place in the Junior Men’s Draw. Flynn narrowly missed 9th place, after an intense five-setter against Karim Elbarbary from Egypt. “The World Junior Championships were once again an incredible experience and travelling to Malaysia with an awesome group of fellow Canadian Juniors as well as Jonathan and Janet was tons of fun,” said James. “Although I fell short of my quarterfinal goal by a painfully small margin, I was still very proud to finish just barely inside the top 10 at the premier junior squash tournament in the world!” Canadian junior, Darosham Khan, also had an impressive finish, leaving the event in 29-32th place. A highlight for the girls included Brianna Jefferson and Erica McGillicuddy both making it to the Round of 32 in the Junior Women’s Main Draw.
Canada is proud of all our juniors who competed, including Sarah Cao, Sayeed Mavani, Lucia Bicknell, Matt Bicknell, Molly Chadwick, Maaz Mufti, Charlotte Orcutt, Emilio Carrillo, Brianna Jefferson, James, Flynn, Erica McGillicuddy and Maaz Mufti.
The next edition of the World Junior Squash Championships are scheduled to be held in Gold Coast, Australia in July 2020.
Pictures via Squash Canada Facebook Page – Click Here