Statement on the passing of Dr. Cecil Cyrus

Dr. Cecil Cyrus. Photo: Shelley John.

The St. Vincent and the Grenadines Squash Association (SVGSA) is saddened by the passing of Dr. Cecil Cyrus.

Dr. Cyrus was the founding father of squash in St Vincent and the Grenadines, and junior squash in the Caribbean. He discovered the sport in 1950 while studying in Northern Ireland.

It was extremely cold and warm water was a scarce commodity. The young Cyrus discovered that warm water was available at the squash court nearby, and as a result, he decided to play squash as a stepping stone to getting a daily warm bath.

He returned to SVG in December of 1963 and built a miniature squash court from a fowl coop. He then built a squash court at his home at New Montrose in 1966 which is the oldest squash court in the Southern Caribbean, the court was named Botanic Squash Club.

The SVG Squash Association was established under the name the SVG Squash Rackets Association in 1979, and the first national team led by Cyrus competed in the Southern Caribbean tournament in Barbados that year. He was president of the association from its inception in 1979 until he relinquished the post in March 1988.

Dr. Cyrus also built a squash court at Brighton beach where the first junior Caribbean squash championships were held in 1981. His advocacy for a home for squash in SVG was realised in 1984 and financed by a bank loan secured by a mortgage on his family home.

The facility contained three courts, a minimum requirement for hosting major tournaments and thus hosted the 7th southern Caribbean championships and subsequently the 1986 junior Caribbean squash championships which saw his son Paul Cyrus emerge as St Vincent’s first junior champion. This facility, purchased in 2005 by the National Lotteries Authority was renamed the National Squash Center. Although it was reduced to two courts it still stands as a symbol of his enduring passion for and commitment to the sport he fell in love with.

He penned the motto: “Sport for the sake of sport” which the SVG Squash Association still holds today. He reminded us that “it is not about winning but finishing the match”.

The SVG Squash Association and the Caribbean squash community extends heartfelt condolences to the family of Dr. Cecil Cyrus. May his soul rest in peace and may we continue to build upon his foundation that he laid.

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