The South American Junior Squash Championships are being hailed as a major victory for squash as the sport emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic.
While the pandemic continues to cause disruption, the tournament, held in early September in Cartagena, Colombia and organised by the Colombian Squash Federation and South American Squash Federation, was successfully completed with no recorded positive cases of COVID-19 connected to the event.
The tournament, featuring 137 of the best young athletes from 10 South American countries and attended by over 300 spectators, was eventually won by Colombia. The hosts claimed a dramatic late victory, snatching the lead from Ecuador in the afternoon of the final day to finish with eight gold medals, four silvers and nine bronzes. Ecuador finished second, with five golds, seven silvers and five bronzes, while Peru finished third with one gold, one silver, and five bronze medals.
Speaking after the event, Sergio Becerra, Colombian Squash Federation and South American Squash Federation President, said: “I am very proud of all the players, coaches, officials and staff who worked so hard to make this such a successful and safe tournament. My congratulations to the Colombia team, who secured the victory in such an exciting way, and to all who competed. COVID 19 has been a tough test to all of us, but we have manage to go forward and to bring happiness again to all our kids in South America.”
Martin Knight, Colombia national coach, added: “It was fantastic to be a part of the South American Juniors in Cartagena, getting back to international competition has been an important goal for all of us and to do it in a safe and manageable environment with Covid protocols in place to protect both athletes and spectators alike was very pleasing, I look forward to the next event.”