Thursday, 11 September 2014

TOURNAMENT MUSINGS


In the past, we used to jump into any tournaments that came our way just to give the boys the so called “competition experience”. It came to a point where we had enough of being just another bunch of early exits.  Over time, we started to pick and choose tournaments that were on a more “level playing field”. This works for the boys because they gradually began to progress into semi-finals and finals. This built confidence in their game.

Of late, what were trending in the market were “group format” tournaments as opposed to the conventional “knock-out” tournaments. The “group format” was not so brutal as budding hopefuls can get to play all their round robin matches even if they lose them all.  Whereas in “knock-out” tournaments, they would not stand a chance.

Except for some rare decent tournaments, majority of the private junior tournaments do not conduct draws using seeding system. Consequently, depending on the integrity or ignorance of the organisers, top players were doom to fight it out in the early rounds. I have seen to the utter dismay of parents, a cluster of state players were all grouped together in the top quarter of the draw. The organisers may be using these tournaments to promote their brands but this is as close as they can get to state players extermination.

For regular tournament goers, just one look at the draw, you will more or less know how far the boys can go. The badminton fraternity is small and for the discerned, it does not take much effort to predict with fair accuracy, who would eventually end up in the final. I used to conceal the draw from the boys especially against an overwhelming opponent although I knew that was not the correct approach. They should know who they were up against so as we can guide them to approach the game positively. Be that as it may, it could be quite daunting having to play against opponents whom they have lost time and time again.

Sometimes, despite preparing the boys adequately for tournaments, there is also no guarantee they will perform to your expectations. They are after all still boys with irrational emotions. So you cannot expect them to stay on top of their game in every tournament like the invincible Datuk Lee Chong Wei.

As a parent, watching your child battling it out especially in contests that goes into deuce is not for the faint hearted. My emotions would oscillate from satisfaction to disappointment, excitement to despair, ecstasy to agony, all in one weekend. Having said that, badminton tournaments were something I always look forward to in the weekends as well as spending quality time with my boys and family. The tournament arena also presents a conducive opportunity to meet the acquaintances of other parents, coaches, enthusiasts who were equally passionate about the sport we all love, badminton.  

Monday, 1 September 2014

MERDEKA CHALLENGE THROPHY 2014

Among the many junior tournaments held during the Merdeka period, this one organised by Looi Badminton Academy was a class act. It was held in the Sports Arena, Bandar Mahkota Cheras.

The boys loved this tournament because they can collect RM2.00 per game for being a voluntary linesman. Not bad considering the entrance fee was only RM20 per person with a free Protech T-shirt for all participants. The empires were qualified BAM professionals and conducted the games in best of 3 games of 21 points. Yes, Protech sponsored shuttles were also a plenty. Scores were updated in the Tournament Software which was easily accessible in the net any time & anywhere. The scheduling was also right on the dot. With a large entry including Men's Open category with no restriction to state players, this was the closest you can get to the National Junior Circuit standard.
Aaron putting up a steller performance in the last 16
Aaron opened his campaign with an easy victory in the first round and received a walkover in his second round. In the third round he met Thaanesh Devae again whom has defeated Ryan earlier on. So Aaron exacted revenge for his brother in a tense 21 – 12, 18 – 21, 21 – 18 win over the Malaccan player. Their head to head favours Aaron 2 to 1 now.

In the last 16, Aaron was up against another Malaccan state player who was the tournament joint ¾ seed Yong Bin Yan. I told Aaron to go all out because he has nothing to lose in this game. All out he went. Aaron played one of his best games I have seen. He stretched Yong Bin Yan to 3 games before bowing out but it was an encouraging performance he has displayed.
On the second day, the brothers opened their U12 doubles campaign against the twins of Roslan & Roslin. So it was a contest of siblings vs siblings. Ryan/Aaron won in straight sets to enter the last sixteen to meet the Selangor duo of Muazaam Danish/Edmund On. The last I have seen Muazaam was about 3 to 4 months ago, but here he has grown much taller and so much stronger in his smashes. The brothers led early in the game until in the final critical moment they lost their nerves and committed strings of unforced errors to go down 18 – 21, 21 - 23. They were so close to take the scalps of the Selangor state players.  
Ryan cashing in
Ryan’s defeat was quickly forgotten as he was preoccupied with his vocation as a linesman. Over the two days, he has recouped the cost of the tournament fees. However our Merdeka cheer was somewhat dampened when later that evening, Datuk Lee Chong Wei lost to Chen Long in the World Championship final in Copenhagen. It was his third successive failure to claim the World Champion title. The first two having lost to Lin Dan, many are sceptical if Datuk will ever nail this elusive title.

Having played 3 weekly tournaments in a row, the boys will now take a step back to reflect on their  progress and certainly for me, after having mulling for a while now, may very likely make some radical changes to their training arrangements.  

BOYS SINGLES U12

1st Round - Ryan vs Bye

2nd Round – Ryan vs Thaanesh Devae                    21 – 12, 18 – 21, 13 - 21

1st Round – Aaron vs Wong Kin Fei                         21 – 4, 21 - 2

2nd Round – Aaron vs Ding Jing Xuan                      Walkover

3rd Round – Aaron vs  Thaanesh Devae                   21 – 12, 18 – 21, 21 - 18

4th Round – Aaron vs Yong Bin Yan (3/4)                 21 – 18, 9 – 21, 14 – 21

 BOYS DOUBLES U12

1st Round – Ryan/Aaron vs Roslan/Roslin                   21 – 18, 21 – 14

2nd Round – Ryan/Aaron vs Muazaam/Edmund         18 – 21, 21 – 23

Sunday, 24 August 2014

KEM BADMINTON ASTRO KASIH 2014

Ryan & Aaron at Pioneer Badminton Centre, Endah Parade.


The Kem Badminton Astro nationwide youth development programme was organized by Astro  Kasih, Astro’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) arm since 2012 with the hope to provide young players with access to training venues with qualified coaches, international exposure as well as to continue to assist and nurture young talented  players in  enhancing their badminton skills. Over 1,800 participants from all over Malaysia took part in this year's tryout sessions.

The ultimate prize for the top 30 best players selected this year will go to an all expense paid two week training camp at the prestigious house of champions, the Li Yongbo Badminton School in Dongguan, China.

Both Ryan & Aaron missed last year's event but we are crossing our fingers this year. Both boys made it to the second call up on Sunday 24th August 2014 in Pioneer Badminton Centre, Indah Parade. Wish the boys luck!

Pioneer Badminton Centre is headed by Wong Choon Han, Lee Wan Wah, Chan Chong Ming and other ex BAM players 

 

THE DARK AGE OF MALAYSIAN BADMINTON

Is an expected period whereby Malaysian singles department will very likely be forgotten in the International scene. This will come very soon for the men singles. In fact, it is already happening now in the women singles.  In the absence of Sonia Cheah still nursing injury, our country relies its best women shuttler in Tee Jing Yi rank 35 in the world and she will unlikely be making much progress in her ranking any more.

Taking away the World No. 1 equation, Malaysia do not have any men singles player except for the scrawny Chong Wei Feng rank 19 now and is also seemed unlikely to break into the top 10 ever. The signs were already showing. In the recently concluded Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Malaysia failed to retain the gold medal in men singles competition after winning 6 consecutive competitions since 1990.  
If we dig deeper, now this is the worrying part, non in the inventory of BAM or Private outfits have any players who are worthy to be tagged as potential top 10 hopefuls, let alone taking over the shoes of LCW. Our juniors disappointingly, after crossing the age threshold of 19 years seemed to disappear into oblivion.

We now have to accept the bitter truth. In time to come and this may be as soon as LCW steps down, Malaysian badminton will languish behind the second tier countries ie. Thailand, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Germany etc. Remember, we were once standing shoulder to shoulder with the likes of China and Indonesia. We were also ahead of Denmark, Korea, Japan and India. Not anymore. So brace yourself as the dark age in Malaysian badminton is upon us very soon.

Sunday, 17 August 2014

FLEX-PRO JR SINGLE SERIES AUG 2014




L to R : Edmund, Ryan, Hanson & Brandon rep

Flex Pro August schedule was for U12, U13 & U14. Both boys were registered under U12.  However,  I noted quite a number of players participated in two age categories – the second being a higher age category. The group format competition presents an ideal opportunity for these players to spar with worthy opponents inexpensively ie. RM15 with a minimum of 3 games per group. If they qualify for the knock-out stage and thereafter, that will be bonus.
Aaron was bundled up in group A with some notable players.  Aaron started off against Edmund On - a Selangor circuit player and I knew he would be too high a hurdle for him. As expected, he could not match Edmund’s racquet trickery and took a heavy beating,  11 – 30.

His second match with Ting Wen Xuan was a reprisal because Aaron had beaten him before but that was last year. Will Wen Xuan get his revenge this time? Aaron took the early lead but Ting caught up and led during the break. Aaron stayed closely behind as both fought point for point. At one point Ting almost got away as he opened a 4 point lead but somehow Aaron managed to dig deep and came back. Towards the end, Ting committed a few unforced errors and handed the game to Aaron 30 -29.
In the third group match, Hadrian Soh was also no stranger to Aaron. For the record, they have met once or twice before but Aaron has not lost to him yet.  This was also a closely contested match. Aaron took the lead during the break but towards the last third, Hadrian led Aaron. Again Aaron managed to find his way back and took the game back 30 – 28.

Being a parent having to endure games like these were truly not for the faint hearted. It took me a while to recover my pulse back down to a sane level.  This time around, only the group leaders qualify for semi-final. Aaron was one game short because Edmund won all 3 games. Thus Aaron’s U12 campaign ended but not without a good show.
Ryan’s group B was more forgiving. He started off against Chakrit. Although he led Chakrit comfortably 2/3 of the game and was almost home and dry, unexpectedly he lost his way in the final third. Five consecutive errors from Ryan saw Chakrit burst through the finishing line and left Ryan bewildered. I confronted him but he could not explain his performance. He was playing too cautiously with his hand brakes on.

The second match was against Soo Zhi Ying, a girl. I sat a court away in the hope that he will play better without my presence. Fortunately for him, she was not a match for the group.
Final : Edmund & Ryan
His final group match was with Chong Hao Wei whom he had a rousing match beating Chakrit earlier. We knew Ryan stood a chance to top the group if he beat him. Hao Wei was tall and he smashes a lot but he has a notable weakness. He was crutching his chest and was short of breath. I pointed to Ryan that he was in better shape and to take advantage of Hao Wei’s lack of fitness. Hao Wei played right into Ryan’s game, rallying front and back of the court, Hao Wei was made to run and in the end, he was a spent force.

Although both Chakrit and Ryan had 2 wins each, the good news was Ryan had two points more and therefore qualified for the semi finals the next day. He was really upbeat about the competition because he did not expect to come so far. The next morning, Ryan unexpectedly had a fever. However, he was determined to play. So we gave him a dose of paracetamol to suppress his fever. He took on a 9-year old Hanson Low and won his semi-finals in straight sets to meet Edmund On in the final. Although the final was a foregone conclusion, but Ryan played with a lion heart under less than ideal physical condition. He took home a silver medal, a Flex Pro shirt and a certificate. His job was done and he slept for the rest of the day.

BOYS SINGLES U12
Group A
1st Game – Aaron vs  Edmund On                              11 – 30
2nd Game – Aaron vs Ting Wen Xuan                        30 – 29
3rd Game – Aaron vs Hadrian Soh                              30 – 28

Group B
1st Game – Ryan vs Chakrit                                           25 – 30
2nd Game – Ryan vs Soo Zhi Ying (f)                            30 – 10
3rd Game – Ryan vs Chong Hao Wei                            30 – 14
Semi-Final – Ryan vs  Hanson Low                               21 – 11, 21 – 9
Final – Ryan vs Edmund On                                          13 – 21, 9 – 21

Monday, 11 August 2014

KEJOHANAN BADMINTON PIALA PUSINGAN HARI MERDEKA 2014



L to R : Aaron, Thaanesh & Jia Jie
This was PBVKL’s third tournament this year. After their disastrous first tournament, they had cleaned up their act in the second one. However, their poor organisation reared its ugly head once again here. Not only was the publicity poor, but they also failed to publish the draw on time. Therefore, we went into the tournament blindly unaware who the boys will be playing against.
Aaron had just recovered from a spell of bad cough and fever - no thanks to the dry spell the country is now experiencing. Furthermore, his mid-term school exam had just concluded the week before. Therefore, he was a little short in fitness coming into this tournament.

When we arrived at the Champions badminton hall in Kepong, Ryan immediately searched for the draw. He immediately reported to me in dismay that he was up against the defending champion, Lim Chun Yeh in the first round. I was disappointed with the draw but instead of brooding over the bad luck, I worked on Ryan’s mind in the hope that he will not be distracted by it. It didn’t work. He went down 22 – 30. This is the third time Ryan lost to Lim Chun Yeh this year.

Aaron’s was at the bottom half – thus avoiding both favourites Lim Chun Yeh and Tan Jia Jie. However, in his half, he will face with last year’s Piala Merdeka Champion, Thaanesh Devar whom Aaron lost to him by just 1 single point. Despite being a little lethargic, I told Aaron to put everything into the game. It was a tense game as Aaron took the first set. I knew he had a chance, so I advised him to play a patient game in the second set to force Thaanesh into making mistakes. It didn’t work. Thaanesh upped his game and won the second set. In the decider, we change tactics by pressing Thaanesh with smashes. The game went Aaron’s way and he finally won.
In the final against Tan Jia Jie, I felt it was a one sided game as Aaron committed mistakes after mistakes and made it difficult for himself to give a decent challenge. In the end he exited tamely in straight sets.    

In the U12 doubles, both brothers were out of sorts and were not at their best going down disappointingly in the first round to Lim Chun Yeh & Willi Wong. 

Despite Aaron’s lack of fitness, he was blessed with a favourable draw and made it to the final after all. Ryan on the other hand was not so lucky, as he bowed out in the first round both in the singles and doubles matches. He return home empty handed. Next week, both brothers will participate in the Flex Pro U12 Junior League and I hope Ryan can redeem himself what he failed to deliver here.

BOYS SINGLES U12
1st Round - Ryan vs Lim Chun Yeh             22 – 30


 1st Round – Aaron vs  Oon Zhi Yung         30 – 7

2nd Round – Aaron vs Mohd Hafiz             30 – 28

Qtr Final – Aaron vs Ham Yet Joe               30 – 15

Semi-Final – Aaron vs Thaanesh Devar      22 – 20, 15 – 21, 21 - 17

Final-Aaron vs Tan Jia Jie                              12 – 21, 18 – 21

BOYS DOUBLES U12

1st Round – Ryan/Aaron vs Lim Chun Yeh/Willi Wong                       22 - 30

Sunday, 10 August 2014

TRIVIA PART 3

1) Just before going into the game;

Before : Remember his back hand, watch his drops, stay on your toes, on and on....

Now (Aaron) : Just Relax and be patient.

Now (Ryan)  : Cover your front net and cut off the noob serve.


2) During the match intervals;

Before : You got to play more aggressive, play faster, smash harder etc.

Now     : You are playing at only 85%. Put in 5% more.


3) During the match breaks;

Before : He also makes lots of mistakes.

Now     : He is only 4 to 5 stroke player. You can play 7 to 8 strokes. Just stay with
             him and let him make mistakes.


4) Aaron’s poor long service;

Before : Half court.

Now     : Press him to the back.


5) Emphasis;

Before : Speed and Power

Now     : Speed.


6) Advice against a better player;

Before : Dont worry. Take it as an experience.

Now     : I want to see you fight to the very end.


7) After losing;

Before : Its ok. Try harder next time.

Now     : Tell my why you lost today?


8) Private a.k.a for Ryan; Champion of the Noobs.

    Private a.k.a for Aaron; The nearly boy.