About 2 weeks after returning home from the CAC Games it was off to St. Vincent for the Caribbean Championships (CASA). Nicolette wasn’t playing this year so I was seeded #1. I had been runner-up in the past 3 finals but I was finally able to turn this around when I beat Kerrie Sample from Trinidad 3-0 in the final. It was a fabulous feeling to finally win the tournament that had eluded me in the past and I had become Barbados’ first female Senior Caribbean Champion! As usual there was no rest and it was straight into the Team Event. Funding is often an issue in
the Caribbean so when there is a big tournament like the CAC Games some countries can’t afford to send teams to more than one tournament. Unfortunately (or fortunately as my body would say) this meant there weren’t many Women’s Teams this year and we only had 3 matches. We beat Trinidad in the final and
won our first Women’s Team title since 2005. With the combined results of all the teams Barbados also became Overall Champions.
Finally Karen gets to be the Carribean champion!!!!
World Masters was to be a whole new experience for me as I was in Cologne all by myself. After spending the summer with my team mates, it was now just me. This turned out to be a great learning experience and I was cheered on from afar
via texts and Facebook messages. Everyday I would write an update on my page and was always overwhelmed with the messages of support from all over the world which would motivate me to play my best squash. I was playing in the Over
35 Event so after spending the year being the oldest player at all the tournaments I was suddenly one of the youngest!!! Seeing players in their 70’s and 80’s competing on court was and still is very inspiring and my goal is now to play in every age group in the World Masters! I was seeded 5/8 but in the bottom half of the draw which meant I avoided the #1 seed Sabine Schoene, once again luck was on my side. I got through to the semi’s with 3-0 wins and there I met the #2 seed Yoriko Michishita from Japan. I’m sure we were the tallest and the shortest women in the draw!!! I ended up winning the match 3-1 and remember having to keep her out of the front as she had deadly drop shots. In my first World Masters I had reached the final where
unsurprisingly my opponent would be the #1 seed and former world #6 Sabine Schoene. I lost the final in 3 close games and was surprised at how disappointed I felt. I am a fierce competitor which always drives me to be the best but my best
wasn’t good enough that day. The nice thing about Masters squash is that it even though it is competitive it is also friendly and that was exactly how the match was played.
Karen playing at the World Masters with her opponents either side
Putting Barbados on the map!!!
When I arrived back in Barbados I was totally overwhelmed and humbled by the reception I received. I would be in the supermarket and people would stop me and tell me congratulations and they had been following me in the papers. They told me how wonderful it was that I had put little Barbados on the world map. One old lady even told me how she had been praying for me. It’s extremely difficult to explain how such kind words from strangers made me feel. It really was a wonderful time and 2010 was a very special year. An unexpected end to the year was when I was awarded the Barbados Olympic Association’s (BOA) Female Athlete of the Year award (even though squash isn’t an Olympic sport the majority of our funding comes from the BOA so they are extremely important to squash in Barbados). Unbeknown to me the fairytale ending of 2010 was still to come…..I went to England for Christmas to visit my family and the day before I came back to Barbados, the President of the Barbados Squash Association, Craig Archer called me. He told me that I had been named Barbados Sports Personality of The Year. I couldn’t believe it, what an absolutely perfect end to a year that I will never forget.