Celebrating 20 Years of CJS

This year CJS is celebrating 20 years of teaching squash to junior players!  An amazing achievement that was celebrated with the biggest tournament that CJS have ever hosted.

Written by Adele du Rand

A short overview

Centurion Junior Squash was founded in 2003, at Uitsig Squash Club with only 12 players from Laerskool Rooihuiskraal.  Maryna Fourie was the only coach.  In 2004 only 1 player was selected to be part of the Northerns team that played in the Interprovincial Tournaments.

Fast forward 20 years, and CJS is a force of squash to be reckoned with!

It is probably the largest squash coaching group in South Africa, boasting some impressive statistics:

  • 282 registered players with CJS in 2023,
  • 109 players are currently listed on the Northerns Junior Squash ladder (78 out of 109 boys and 31 out of 57 girls),
  • 64 CJS players represented Northern Gauteng at the 2023 Interprovincial tournaments,
  • 21 schools in Centurion and Pretoria are actively involved with CJS, with 3 more schools joining soon,
  • 20 CJS players were invited to play in the SA Schools Closed Tournament in April 2023,
  • 24 coaches, of whom several are ex-CJS players and several are professional and national players,
  • 13 CJS players represented Northern Gauteng at the 2023 Country Schools Festival held in Bloemfontein,
  • 12 CJS players finished Top 10 positions in South Africa in 2023,
  • 2 players have been selected to be part of the South African team to participate in the 2023 WSF World Junior Squash Championships,
  • 2 school teams have won the Top Schools National Tournament regional playout (the boys’ team from Zwartkop Hoërskool and the girls’ team from Midstream College), and will compete in the Top Schools National Tournament finals in August in Pietermaritzburg against the best school teams from the other provinces, and
  • 2 coaches represented South Africa at the 2023  Squash World Championships in India.

The table below shows the impressive growth of CJS over the last 20 years.  There was a time during Covid that we were worried about the future of CJS.  There were so many uncertainties and fear.  We were fortunate that with the dedication and commitment of the coaches and parents, and the passion for squash from the players, we continued to practice and play.

Today, CJS is supporting the development of players of all ages and schools.  We are so excited that more and more children are loving the game – that is the best thing that we as coaches can hope to achieve!  Whether a player wants to just play socially, be selected to represent their province at a tournament, work towards representing South Africa at an international level, or even become a professional player, it all starts by loving the game!

A few words from Maryna

“As founder and Head coach of Centurion Junior Squash, I would like to welcome you to Centurion Junior Squash, where every player is important and where we strive for every player to feel that they belong.   I believe to achieve success your will to succeed must be greater than your fear of failing. I believe in order to be successful you need to walk the extra mile and constantly think on your feet. Success is just a word, if you believe it you can do it.

Teamwork is so important and I have the utmost respect for everybody involved with Centurion Junior Squash and that includes assistant junior coaches and top world-class coaches. We support each other in a special way and are constantly learning from one another on a daily basis.

My motto in life has always been to live life to the fullest and to embrace the now, no matter what the situation.  With this, I truly believe in our already-known Centurion Junior Squash slogan “One step at a time” and convey that throughout all our coaching classes. Success is non-negotiable and I know from experience if players enjoy what they do then victory will follow.

My legacy, I hope, to leave for all juniors involved with Centurion Junior Squash is a love and a passion for the game of squash and to know that by participating: I am already a winner!

“A strong woman believes that she`s strong enough to face her journey…but a woman of strength has faith that it is in this journey
that she will become strong””

A tournament to be remembered

To celebrate the 20 Years of CJS, we decided that a squash tournament was the best way to do it!  We wanted it to be one of the biggest tournaments that we have done yet, and so the planning started.

The result?  A huge success!

The 2023 Dunlop CJS Open Junior Squash Tournament was one of the biggest tournaments we have hosted.  We received 150 entries, with players from Pretoria, Johannesburg, Parys, Limpopo, Mpumalanga, and even Botswana joining us for the weekend.

It was an exciting and busy weekend!  We had 3 venues, played 301 games, and gave out 51 prizes!

Thank you to all the sponsors

We want to give our sincere thanks and appreciation to every person and organisation who give of their time, donations for the goodie bags, gifts for the prizes, and monetary sponsorships. Without you, we would never have been able to set up and run a tournament of this magnitude!

We are grateful and humbled by the heart and spirit by which you helped to make this weekend a great success!

A special word of thanks to our main sponsor, Dunlop, and their involvement and support with CJS for so many years!

We also extend our gratitude to Irene Country ClubUitsig Squash Club, and Midstream Ridge Sports Centre for the use of their facilities.

And then there was the shirt…

We really wanted to remember this tournament, and so the idea of a special player shirt was born!  A cool design was key, and to make it memorable, we decided that all the players’ names should be on the shirt.

The feedback was phenomenal!  Players loved the shirt, and even the parents and CJS coaches wanted one too!

Wishing CJS a prosperous future

While squash is a small sport compared to other sports, it is certainly alive and well!  With the dedication of the coaches, the commitment by the supporters, and the passion for squash by the players, we will continue to work hard to grow this sport.

To all the players, parents, coaches, teachers and friends, we thank you for making this weekend so special!

When people come together and work together, great things happen! This weekend’s tournament is proof of that!