Talented and promising – Makeda Harding a remarkable squash and hockey player

first_imgFIFTEEN-year-old Makeda Harding credits her ability to hold her own under great pressure as the buoy that keeps her afloat when the demands as a student athlete gets just a little too much.It’s a trait that has served the Marian Academy third former well, as she juggles life as a dedicated student, and a national junior squash and hockey player.Harding takes it all in stride by ensuring that she has her plan all mapped out.“The first part of the year I mostly focus on squash, and coming down to the middle is when I have to push more, and then the second half is when I can ease off and play more hockey. Yea, there are some parts of the year when it’s really hard, but I have the ability of being able to cope well under pressure,” the Sports Personality-of-the-Week said.The four-time ‘Most Outstanding Girl’ squash player most recently copped her sixth and seventh national junior title, in just four years, due to her entering in multiple categories of the tournament over the years.Playing in the Girls’ Under-19, Under-17 and Under-15 categories this year, Harding ended with both the Girls Under-17 and Under-15 titles at last month’s Woodpecker Products Ltd Junior National Squash Championships. She finished second in the Under-19.“I like playing in multiple categories, it pushes me more, knowing that I can beat this person or get really close, and it builds my confidence,” Harding noted of her achievements.“I like my accomplishments because I like to use them to build myself against people, people who say I’m not good at anything, or who try to bring me down.”Her most recent squash accolades add to the ‘Most Promising Female Player’ award that she copped in hockey at last year’s GTT National Indoor Championships where she played for her Spartans team.Harding had been involved in hockey since she was 10 years old, encouraged to follow in the footsteps of her sister, Micaela. But it was in late 2011 when she got involved in squash. Makeda started out in a developmental programme held by the Guyana Squash Association (GSA) that offered one-hour training on Saturdays.The keen eyes of national coaches Garfield Wiltshire and Carl Ince picked up that Makeda was just a diamond in the rough, and were eager to see this talent developed.Wiltshire first offered Makeda training outside of the Saturday programme, and before long so did Ince, and she began to grow in the sport, gradually of course, but showed growth nonetheless.By 2013 she made it all the way to a third place finish in the Girls’ Under-13 category at the national junior tournament, and the GSA was confident enough to give her a spot on the national team for the Junior Caribbean Area Squash Association (CASA) Championships, which was held in Trinidad that year.Makeda did not disappoint. Despite finishing only seventh in the Girls’ Under-13 category, she was instrumental in gaining Guyana’s eighth consecutive Girls’ team title, and ninth consecutive overall team title.She’s been a fixture of the national team, at the annual event, ever since, each year improving just a little bit more in the individuals. When she returned in 2014 she was fifth after another year in the Girls’ Under-13 category.In 2015 she was in the Girls’ U-15 category and made her first final, but was cut down by Barbados’ Megan Best, their leading junior Girls’ player. Last year she ended third, after being stopped by Cayman Islands’ Jade Pitcairn in the semis.This year she’s facing another tall order as she enters the Girls’ U-17 category, where Best will again be joining her. Best is now a junior and senior Caribbean champion, after she won the women’s title at Senior CASA last year.last_img read more