Jamaica’s John Chin is ready to serve as the island’s only tennis qualifier for the inaugural Junior Pan Am Games that get under way in Cali, Colombia today (November 25).
Chin, who hails from Mandeville, was introduced to the sport by Elmore Haye at the age of four. Ryan Russell, of Russell Tennis Academy, then helped hone his game during the next 12 years.
Chin became a fixture in regional tennis at the Under 12, U14, U16 and U18 age groups, while becoming the highest-ranked boy in the Caribbean and Central America, and achieving an international junior ranking of 211 in 2019 at the age of 16.
On the strength of his steady development, Chin had set his sights on qualifying for the junior grand slam tournaments (Australian Open, Wimbledon, French Open, and the US Open) but those dreams were dashed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I think I was on track to get to the junior grand slams before everything shut down but, since I lost the last two years in juniors because I wasn’t able to compete internationally for most of that time, I set a new goal for myself – to get in my best form for college tennis.”
The 18-year-old player competes in Division I college tennis as a freshman at Middle Tennessee State University under the guidance of Coach Jimmy Borendame and looks forward to representing his country.
“It will be an honour to represent Jamaica at the first-ever Junior Pan Am Games. The level of competition will be high because the draw will have top-ranked players but competing in Cali will be a great way to end my junior tennis career,” he said.
Having competed extensively on the local scene as a junior, Chin said he took advantage of every opportunity that was offered to him to participate in regional tournaments and training camps organised by COTECC and COSAT (the ITF governing bodies of the Caribbean, Central America, and South America).
3,500 ATHLETES FOR GAMES
“The ITF took me on an Under-13 tour to play tournaments in three different Caribbean islands. After that, I was hooked on competitive tennis and knew that I wanted to take it to the next level and play internationally,” he said.
“My ITF coach on that tour, John Goede, told me that ‘whatever happens, stay cool, ignore the noise, play the plan and stay the course’. I have been trying to do that ever since.”
The inaugural Junior Pan American Games’ opening ceremony, in Cali today, will welcome 3,500 athletes aged 17-22 from 41 countries in 315 events spread across 28 sports. The Games are the junior version of the Pan American Games – the continental multi-sport event which is held every four years since its inception in 1951, in the year prior to the Summer Olympic Games.
Jamaica will compete in a record 12 sporting disciplines including tennis