Wednesday, December 28, 2011

2012 Canadian National Championships Teaser Video

Here's a quick blog before I head off to Korea for the 2012 Korea Super Series Premier! I spent about 20 hours slaving over this video and I hope it works out in terms of the YouTube Copyright stuff because I used a song that isn't mine and is copyrighted. However, how else am I going to make a highlight video with cool music that isn't copyrighted? Maybe I will make a classical music parody if things don't work out...

Anyway, please do enjoy the video and share it with your friends, especially if they are Canadian! I made this video to promote the people in the video, the Yonex Canadian National Team athletes who are 2012 Olympic track, and also for people to make more badminton highlight videos! I would love to see badminton highlights more often and I'm sure I'm not the only one. So please enjoy the video :)

Lastly, because I used Street Fighter music, I also added some Street Fighter elements just for fun. See the video description for more details. I would also like to thank the people who created the music, as well as the people who took the pictures! Credits are at the end of the video, in addition to the end of this blog post!

[YouTube Link]



- "Street Fighter IV - Shop PV BGM" - Hideyuki Fukaswa

- Cheung Yu (2011 Hong Kong Super Series)
    [Badminton Central Facebook Page]  /  [Badminton Central Forums]

- Mohamed Ahsan  
(2011 Maldives International Challenge)
    [Maldives International Tournaments Facebook Page]

- Yves Lacroix
(Various - via Badminton Photo)
    [Badminton Photo Facebook Page]  /  [Badminton Photo]  /  [Badzine]

- Mike Ridewood
 (Canada Olympic Committee @ 2011 Pan American Games)
    [Canadian 2011 Pan American Games Website]

- Romy Young
    [Romy Young Photography Facebook Page]  /  [Romy Young Photography]

- Badminton Canada
(2011 Canadian National Championships)
    [Badminton Canada] / [Badminton Canada Facebook Page] / [Badminton Ontario]

Monday, December 19, 2011

2011 Canadian International Challenge

The 2011 Canadian International Challenge was held in Moncton, New Brunswick, on the eastern side of Canada. It took pretty much a day to travel, as there is also a +4 hour time difference between Vancouver and Moncton. I flew by myself from Vancouver, connected in Toronto, and arrived in Moncton by 11pm. For a little background as to why the tournament was held here, the Canadian International used to be held in Montreal at around the end of April, making it a very important tournament especially in the Olympic Qualifying year. However, there was to be no more tournament in Montreal so I guess they decided to try to host it in Moncton, as they traditional host a Canadian National circuit tournament at about this time for the past few years. They always had good prize money ($10 000 CAD prize purse) for just a local tournament and I suppose they took a stab at making it International, as the purse is only $5000 USD more (more or less). However, the tournament organizers here take things very seriously and they have been learning from previous mistakes. I was told that there were complaints about breakfast last year, so this year, they made an awesome breakfast buffet at the hotel. Going down for breakfast early was NOT a problem at all ;)

The tournament started on Tuesday, actually, as there were only two qualifying matches, and since there were a few withdrawals, they just played them before the Main Round matches on Tuesday. There isn't too much to do around Moncton, but the weather was actually a LOT better than I expected and we were fortunate to have warmer weather, especially for the Pan American countries who came up that don't see snow or even single digit temperatures. There were many restaurants around the hotel, as we stayed at a Delta in downtown Moncton. The hotel was good for the price, as we had transportation to the airport, to the venue, breakfast, and it was close to many ammenities. Food was a little bit pricey, but we were in the downtown area... still, there was always Subway!

Double Margarita to help with... jetlag? :P
Featuring Michelle Li and Alex Pang
Featuring Derrick Ng/Adrian Liu and Nyl Yakura
The draws for this tournament were very small, with all Doubles events with only R16 draws. Since I had a seeding in XD, I didn't even play until Thursday! However, I was able to go hit twice a day and stay in tournament form, though I was really starting to feel tired as it was my 5th consecutive tournament. Fortunately though, my draw was made a lot easier as Christin Tsai, quarterfinalist from Canada in WS at the 2011 World Junior Championships, had an unfortunate accident and rolled her ankle in her Singles, even though she was winning quite significantly. She had to pull out of all her events (all 3) including the XD, as I would have most likely played against her. In the end, my SF opponents were a local Canadian pair and that match was actual their first XD match of the tournament! As there are only two seeds in the Doubles draws because you need a minimum of 16 teams to have 4 seeds, there were some tough draws, especially in WD. Eva Lee/Paula Obanana [USA] faced Grace Gao/Joycelyn Ko [CAN] in the first round unfortunately, with the Americans winning in straight sets. Since there were a couple of walkovers, both Charmaine Reid/Nicole Grether [CAN] and Paula/Eva had a walkover in the QFs before playing each other in the semifinals! However, with a Canadian crowd backing Reid/Grether, they made it through to the finals, after losing to Lee/Obanana twice in September.

Another unfortunate incident happened, as Adrian and Joycelyn collided in their XD with Joycelyn stepping on Adrian's foot and also rolling her ankle. Since they were up quite far in the match, they finished the last few points to take the match against Israel. However, that was the end of the tournament for Joycelyn, as she had difficulty walking until the Physiotherapist helped to un-jam her ankle with some manipulations. So on the other side of the XD draw, Derrick and Alex pretty much strolled into the finals, as they played a QF match, had a walkover in the SFs, then played the Finals :P Men's Doubles was a slightly different affair, with teams duking it out on the bottom draw, while Adrian and Derrick cruised through on the top half. 

Adrian carrying Joyce back from the restaurant

The finals day went pretty straight forward until the end, where Michelle/Alex had a close 3 gamer against Charmaine/Nicole which lasted a little less than an hour! I saw parts of the match, but I spent a lot of time looking for things to eat. Also, over the weekend, they host a Jr. National circuit tournament on the other side of the gym, so it was a bonus for the Juniors if they wanted to come watch the International tournament. Their tournament ends on Sunday though, so it worked out fairly well as the match times for both tournaments were staggered well enough that you could watch both tournaments.

That's pretty much everything... I would like to thank the tournament organizers and sponsors for running a smooth tournament (on two courts only!) and also to the shuttle drivers who drove us back and forth many many times. Didn't get a chance to have lobster, as seafood is supposed to be very good in Moncton, but I did have some mussels with my pasta :) Thanks for visiting! Enjoy the videos of the finals!

Full Results via Tournament Software: [CANADIAN INTERNATIONAL CHALLENGE]

Matches via YouTube:
XD F: Toby NG/Grace GAO [CAN] vs. Derrick NG/Alex BRUCE [CAN]
Full Match

Michelle LI [CAN] vs. Lianne TAN [BEL]
Full Match

Full Match

 Adrian LIU/Derrick NG [CAN] vs. Hugo ARTHUSO/Daniel PAIOLA [BRA]
Full Match

WD F: Alex BRUCE/Michelle LI [CAN] vs. Charmaine REID/Nicole GRETHER [CAN]
Full Match

Thanks for visiting! :)

Saturday, December 17, 2011

2011 Korea Grand Prix Gold

Unfortunately, the only ones to continue on to Korea Grand Prix Gold were me, Grace, and Joycelyn. Joyce decided to spend a few days in Hong Kong to rest her knee, while Grace and I headed off to Korea on the Friday of Macau Grand Prix Gold. We went to Iksan, Kim Dong Moon's hometown and he graciously picked us up from the bus depot and dropped us off to the Won Kwang University, where we stayed at the International student dorm. The room had a single bed, a desk, a bathroom, a wardrobe and fridge and was pretty good for a dorm room. There was internet and a heated floor as well! We were there for only 3 nights and would leave to Hwasun, the tournament city, on Monday. We trained with the University team for a few sessions and did our own session at Kim Dong Moon's Badminton Facility! It was a really big club with about 20 courts! See below for some shots of his venue:

Dorm room at Won Kwang University
Kim Dong Moon Badminton Gym in Iksan, Korea
Inside the KDM Badminton Facility

Joyce came in late Sunday night and we made arrangements to go to Hwasun for the next morning. We had to take a taxi to the bus station and took about a 1.5 hour bus to another city, Gwang Ju. From there, we had to take a 30 minute taxi to Hwasun. We went directly to the main venue, the Hanium Stadium. We just made it in time for practice and bumped into our Korean friend Lee Haeng Ham, who came to train with us in Calgary for about 10 months in 2009, but is now back on the Korean National team. After our practice, we headed back to the hotel to rest a bit before dinner.

Gwang Ju bus station + mall
Hanium Stadium
Hwasun is a very small town and there wasn't very much to do around the hotel area. There were a few restaurants and we ended up eating at a Chinese-styled Korean restaurant. It's still very much Korean food, though it was a first time for Joyce. We bumped into a couple of members from the Dae Kyo company team that Grace knew at the restaurant, but I ended up ordering the food because I could read a bit of the menu. I can read a bit of the Korean 'alphabet' (Hangul), so it helps tremendously sometimes :) Dinner was really good and we headed back to the hotel as there was nothing to do.

Korean style Sweet and Sour (Tang Su Yuk) 
Spicy noodles with seafood (Jjam ppong)
The next day, we went down to the breakfast but unfortunately, it was a very traditional breakfast. Basically it was rice, various side dishes, spicy pork, and a spicy seaweed soup (I think). It was toughest for Joyce because she didn't eat spicy, as well as the European players there probably. I didn't mind, but they did give some bread as well, so for those who didn't like the Korean breakfast, there was toast with jam. After breakfast we headed off to the practice venue at a middle school. The gym was very cold, so it took a while to warm up. After the practice, Joyce and I went around to look for Korean laundry detergent, because we were determined to find that Korean laundry smell :P Unfortunately, we weren't too sure so we headed back to catch the shuttle to go back to the hotel.

After lunch, there wasn't too much to do so we hung around the hotel. To make things more boring, the internet in my room died, so I ended up playing Angry Birds for like, 2 hours. Later though, Haeng Ham called and we were able to go do some grocery shopping thanks to a ride from Kim Ki Jung! We got some snacks and drinks from the store and finally determined what kind of laundry detergent they were using! :) Afterwards, we headed back and ended up having dinner at this chicken place. There was fried and grilled chicken and they were both delicious :)

Korean Laundry stuff!
The tournament finally started for us on Wednesday, and unfortunately it also finished that day as well. I started off at 10am with MS because I forgot I entered, followed by my XD at 11:10am. The scheduling was pretty terrible I guess, but I made sure I didn't get too tired from the MS. It was pretty cool though, because Ha Tae Kwon was my umpire! After finishing my MS in about 20 minutes, I proceeded to continue to warm up for my XD. We had a closer first set, but things started falling apart in the second. Rallies weren't too bad, but we just ended up losing most of them, hence the score. We returned to the hotel, had lunch, and got ready for Joyce and Grace's WD match later in the evening. Their match didn't go so well either so we just went back after and had more chicken...

Thursday, I headed off early to watch some matches in the morning, then went to practice in the afternoon. After, we went back to the venue for some matches and we went for dinner with Haeng Ham and his family at a nearby Korean BBQ restaurant! They treated us to dinner and we had a pretty good time. I thought we would share a bottle of soju, but in the end only Haeng Ham and I drank so that was like... half a bottle of soju each. I was kind of buzzed, but it was okay with the food I guess :P It was so nice of them to take us out and we will definitely have to return the hospitality next time!

LEE Haeng Ham and his sister Ye Ji
Friday was our final day in Korea, as we got transportation to the bus station in Gwang Ju. There was a bit of snow that morning, but nothing major. I tried to convince Joyce to try the Korean sauna/spa the night before and actually succeeded, but they were closed by the time we were about to go, so I woke her up earlier on Friday morning to try it out. Basically, it's just a communal bath/shower area so it pretty much involves getting naked and showering/bathing with other people. It's quite relaxing as they have different pools of water of various temperatures, a cold pool, a sauna, and sometimes a steam room and other various things. I guess it's normal for guys, but it's probably a lot more uncomfortable for the girls hahaha...

Getting a little bit white in Hwasun
We took an express bus from Gwang Ju straight to the Incheon airport, which took about 4.5 hours or so. We had a 15 minute rest stop which really helped and I think we may have got there earlier. We checked in without any difficulties and spent the rest of the time in the Asiana lounge! It was quite nice and they offered a large variety of food, including shrimp scallion japchae! They also had showers which was nice before the flight :) We soon boarded and were headed home...
Cup noodle + japchae

It was a long trip, but it wasn't entirely over yet. With just a couple of days rest at home, we all had to go to Moncton, New Brunswick for the Canadian Internaional. It's on the East side of Canada which meant a long flight over, but that's for the next blog... ;)

Full Results via Tournament Software: [KOREA GRAND PRIX GOLD]

Matches via YouTube:
XD R32:
 KIM Sa Rang/CHOI Hye In [KOR] vs. Toby NG/Grace GAO [CAN]
Full Match

WD R32:
 YOO Hyun Young/CHOI Ah Reum [KOR] vs. CHIEMI Yano/TAKAGI Miki [JPN]
Full Match

MD R32:
KWON Yi Goo/SHIN Baek Choel [KOR] vs. OW Yao Han/TAN Wee Kiong [MAS] (Incomplete)
Game 1 & 2

XD R16: TAO Jia Ming/XIA Huan [CHN] vs. KIM Sa Rang/CHOI Hye In [KOR]
Full Match

XD R16:
Danny CHRISNANTA/Vanessa NEO [SIN] vs. CHOI Sol Kyu/CHAE Yoo Jung [KOR] (Incomplete)
Game 2 & 3

WS R16:
HWANG Hye Youn [KOR] vs. CHEN Xiao Jia [CHN] (Incomplete)
Game 2 & 3

Enjoy! Thanks for visiting my blog!

2011 Macau Grand Prix Gold

Going to Macau from Hong Kong was a little bit tedious, as we had to carry all our luggage from the hotel in Hong Kong, walk through crowds of people, take the MTR until the ferry terminal, and bring all our stuff on board. Most people didn't have much luggage, but since we were in Asia for about a month, we had quite a lot to carry. Fortunately, there weren't too many stairs at the MTR stations so it wasn't to bad. The ferry from Hong Kong to Macau was quite short, about 45 minutes to an hour, but it was very busy. Seats were a little cramped, but it was manageable for the duration of the ride. Upon arriving in Macau, the customs lines were quite long and it seemed longer especially when people try to cut in front of you. There were two lines, but this older Chinese couple decided to form a middle line... but we foiled their plans with our luggage as we pushed our bags to block this 'magical third line that popped out of nowhere'. In the end, they kept trying to cut, but I guess the customs people caught on. I don't know what happened after, but I just don't know why someone would feel that they need to try to cut the line? Weird...

TurboJet Ferry
We took a cab to the hotel, as we couldn't find the hotel shuttle. After we got in, we had to wait for a while because we couldn't check into the hotel until Grace got in because it was under her reservation. We went out to eat and found some a market as well. After we finished, we made it back just as Grace got in, so everything worked out. Unfortunately, since we didn't stay at the tournament hotel, we didn't have any idea when practice times were or anything. The next morning I took a shuttle over to the Venetian Hotel to try to figure things out. After walking around the hotel and getting lost a few times, I finally figured out where the tournament organizers hid themselves and arranged for practice times for the day. I passed the information on to my teammates and we had an afternoon practice.
Venetian Hotel
Also the Venetian Hotel
Later in the evening, we had the welcoming dinner at the tournament hotel. It was in one of the ballrooms and it was a traditional Chinese dinner. We were stuck in the back again, but I guess Canada is kind of in its own place anyway :P The dinner was quite good, but started quite late, so a lot of athletes left early. They had some draw prizes and I actually won :) I was rambling before about calling out your number, and I guess it worked this time and I won an iPod shuffle with '2011 Macau Open' engraved on it :) One less Christmas gift to shop for haha

L to R: Derrick, Alex, and Joyce at the dinner
L to R: Adrian, Michelle, Andrew, Joyce, and Andy
Crown Plaza and Hard Rock Hotel at night
Venetian Hotel at night
The next day were qualifying rounds, with Andy Lam and Andrew Lau playing in the evening. The rest of us went to the practice in the late afternoon, but we were able to make it back to watch their matches. The tournament was quite delayed, so they ended up playing quite late. Michelle started off the next day against Hong Kong and won in straight sets. Unfortunately, that was the only Canadian win aside from Adrian and Joycelyn in the XD, later in the day also against Hong Kong. Grace and I lost to Indonesia in 3 sets, while the others lost in 2 sets to their opponents.

Thailand and Korea at the practice hall
Michelle was up against Bae Youn Joo of Korea the next evening, playing a long 3 set match. She just fell a bit short in the 2nd and lost it, and she couldn't come back in the 3rd unfortunately. Adrian and Joyce had a tougher time with their Thai opponents, as they lost in straight sets. That's pretty much the last of our tournament in Macau. Fortunately, my mother is originally from Macau, so she asked me to meet her childhood friend who she hasn't seen in about 40 or so years! We actually managed to meet up and she took us around Macau, showing us different places including her restaurant she recently sold, the border gate to China, and a lot of other landmarks in Macau! She also treated my brother and I to a traditional Portuguese dinner which included prawns, roast suckling pig, and... Sangria! (red wine mixed with pop haha). It was a delicious dinner and we took a few photos to show my mother back in Canada. Thank you very much Auntie Mil! :)
Main Venue

My brother and I with Auntie Mil
Roast pig!

That's pretty much the end of my Macau trip... some parts were 'a little fuzzy', but that's another story ;)

A little... fuzzy...

Keep posted for our final week in Asia... Korea revisited!

Full Results via Tournament Software: [MACAU GRAND PRIX GOLD]

Matches via YouTube:
WS R32:
 Michelle LI [CAN] vs. CHAN Tsz Ka [HKG]
Full Match

WD R32:
Alex BRUCE/Michelle LI [CAN] vs. WANG Rong/ZHANG Zhibo [MAC]
Full Match

XD R32:
 Muhammad RIJAL/Debby SUSANTO [INA] vs. Toby NG/Grace GAO [CAN]
Full Match

XD R32:
Full Match

XD R32:
Adrian LIU/Joycelyn KO [CAN] vs. LEUNG Chun Yiu/NG Ka Shun [HKG]
Game 1 (Part 1)
Game 1 (Part 2), 2, & 3

WS R16:
BAE Youn Joo [KOR] vs. Michelle LI [CAN]
Game 1 & 2
Game 3

Thanks for visiting!