Bonilla (left) in action at Team USA in Doubles competition


In October 2015, promising 18-year-old squash player, Qainy Bonilla Sandoval, died after a landslide caused by heavy rains destroyed over 100 homes and claimed over ten lives in Santa Catarina Pinula on the outskirts of Guatemala City.

Younger brother of PSA player Bryan Bonilla, Qainy was one of the most promising squash talents in the region and had claimed bronze during the Pan-American Games prior to the freak accident which claimed his life.

Not only were the Bonilla family forced to cope with the devastating loss to their family, but they were also left without shelter after the disaster wiped out their home.

Now, one year later, we spoke to Bryan to find out how the family is coping with the tragedy.

“My family is feeling a little bad because the date that everything happened is coming up,” said Bonilla.

“My dad needs one more knee surgery operation because he hasn’t completely recovered. Because of the blows, my mum got three hernias and my sister and I just keep fighting and recovering psychologically little by little.”

In the wake of the accident the PSA held a fund-raising initiative at the U.S. Open to help raise finances for the family to help them try and piece their lives back together. Bryan thanked the PSA and the squash community as a whole for their continued support.

“We are so grateful to the squash community for all the moral and financial support that they gave us when we needed it the most.

“It was important for us to receive that support and know that the whole squash family was aware of everything that was happening to us.

“We still feel very supported and thanks to that we have never felt abandoned even after years have gone by. Everyone is still very supportive and that’s something that only squash has given to us, which is why we are very grateful.”

Bryan also went onto add how the financial support has helped to rebuild his and his family’s life after the accident.

“We lost everything. We lost our house and everything we owned, but the hole left by losing my brother is what affected us the most.

“It was a very difficult time, my parents were also injured in the landslide and couldn’t work for a while so part of the money was used to cover some of my father’s medical expenses. We bought basic daily necessary items to get on our feet, however we knew the squash community was helping us to have a roof and a home again, which is why most of the money was used to buy the land where we are rebuilding our home.

“It has taken a while but we are slowly buying things to make it a home again. My sister and I are still playing squash, however, I, personally, was very affected.

“I’m still not psychologically recovered – it is hard to enter a court and think that we used to train together. Until a couple of months ago I was No.8 in the country but I started to recover and I’m in the top 4; it’s been hard, however, my sister never stopped so we will now and always continue playing squash.”