Acing the Squash Race
As a beneficiary of Government's Nation Building Fund, professional squash player Cameron Stafford looks forward to advancing his skills by training and participating in ten tournaments back to back in Australia.
His goal: to win consistently and raise his world rankings, so he can graduate to the big, prestigious tournaments. His ultimate goal: to be world number one. His application now: one hundred percent of his energies, talents and concentration to squash.
Starting at 408, his world ranking has already spurted to 239 in five months.
Premier the Hon. McKeeva Bush, OBE, JP handed over the grant cheque to Cameron to enable him to play in different tournaments representing the Cayman Islands.
"I am very proud of our rising star Cameron who joins a praiseworthy group of world-class young Caymanian sportspersons," Mr. Bush said on the occasion. "It is precisely for such instances that the Nation Building Fund was envisioned and established. One has only to see Cameron play or even speak about squash to recognise his potential and dedication to his game," he noted.
The Premier added, "Squash is a demanding sport, requiring peak physical fitness. I wish Cameron the very best in his efforts to consolidate his ranking, technique and skills in the coming months."
Accepting the US$11,500 grant gratefully, the 2011 Caribbean under-19 squash champion and Island Games silver and bronze medallist said he looks forward to making his country proud by maintaining momentum and persistence in improving his game.
His prior victories include two Caribbean junior champion trophies, then the regional under-17 gold as well as helping the Cayman boys' team garner the team gold.
He says he now hopes to improve his game, so he can qualify to play in the New York tournament which he considers one of the best in the world. His anticipates his participation there will be all the more sweet since the Cayman Islands is one of the silver sponsors of the tournament.
Cameron Stafford: A Rising Star
An athletic student from his earliest school days, Caymanian Cameron Stafford tried his hand at cricket, football, baseball, sailing and tennis before finding his niche with squash.
Since he turned 13, Cameron has dedicated sizeable portions of his day to playing, viewing and learning about squash.
Serious about his career choice, Cameron credits his success so far to his dad John Michael Stafford, originally from Guyana and a former Olympian in sailing, his Caymanian mom Janie and his ex-coach Dean Watson, who at one time was ranked 81st, worldwide, as a squash player.
The Cayman Islands Squash Club was a second home to this dedicated young man. While he worked on his game, Cameron attended a number of world tournaments, again thanks to his parents, and witnessed first-hand how the pro-tour works before deciding to join it. "I thought long and hard about going pro and am totally grateful that my parents backed me all the way," he revealed.
His local coach found him another coach in Amsterdam, a city he considers one of the best places to train in squash. Then it was off to Amsterdam for three months to better understand the intricacies of the pro-tour.
Grateful to all who supported him to become a top athlete, Cameron said his thanks go especially to the CI National Squash Association, Coach Glenn Stark for helping him prepare for the ten tournaments ahead, his new manager Ms. Amanda Stark and Mr. Mark Hennings of Cayman Contractors "because without these people this trip wouldn't be possible."
Cameron said he follows the games from the world's top squash countries which continue to be Australia, Canada, Egypt, England, France, India, Kuwait, Pakistan and USA.
Now you can follow Cameron and his playing on Twitter@squashpro92 and on Facebook by clicking on the like bar on his page: Cameron Stafford Athlete.
For further information contact: Bina Mani