Monday, April 18, 2011

2011 Peru International Challenge

(More pictures will be added to my Facebook Fanpage!)

The 2011 Peru International Challenge was held in Lima, Peru between April 14 to April 17th. There was a fairly large group of Canadians that entered the tournament, with 2 entries in Men's Singles, 5 entries in Women's Singles, 4 entries in Men's Doubles (with Timothy Ma and I playing with partners from different countries), 3 entries in Women's Doubles, and 4 entries in Mixed Doubles. Within those 18 entries, Canada held 10 seeded positions so we had a good chance of doing well at this tournament, and we definitely did pretty well overall!

(Day 1 - Thursday. April 14)
The tournament started with qualifying on Thursday, with only Timothy Ma and I playing that day. I actually entered Men's Singles as I was not sure whether I would find a Men's Doubles partner, as Jon Vandervet was unable to join me this time. Though I did end up getting a request partner, I decided to play Singles anyway as I did not get any time to practice in the gym. My MD partner actually ended up being Nick Bonkowsky from Trinidad and Tobago, but he is studying in Calgary at the moment. Unfortunately, we were unable to defeat our Mexican opponents in the qualifying, but Tim and I ended up making it out of the qualifying for Men's Singles into the main draw, where we each had to play a seeded opponent the next day.

[TournamentSoftware - Matches - Day 1]

MD Q (R64): Job Castillo/Salvador Sanchez [MEX] vs. Toby Ng [CAN]/Nicholas Bonkowsky [TRI]
Game 1

Game 2

(Day 2 - Friday, April 15)
The second day started off with Men's Singles, as Tim was up against the top seed, Michael Lahnsteiner from Austria, and I was up against the 3/4 seed, Rodrigo Pacheco from Peru. Tim was off to a rough start, but he gave his opponent a much better fight in the 2nd set, losing 22-20. I did pretty much the same with a bad start, but I was able to take a set off my opponent. Though I was up by a few points in the 3rd, I was not able to finish it off, because my opponent fought back and played better... and also because I wasn't sure what to do anymore hahaha =P Unfortunately, that morning put the end to our Canadian Men's Singles. The rest of the day went fairly well for most of the Canadians. Most of them had little trouble with their opponents, as we played only the Round of 32 for all Doubles events, while Singles went until the 16s. My Mixed Doubles was pretty close actually, but we were able to stay focused enough to finish our match. However, Phyllis Chan had to play the final match of the day but fell to Karyn Velez [USA] 22-20 in the final set.

[TournamentSoftware - Matches - Day 2]

MS R32:
Rodrigo Pacheco [PER] vs. Toby Ng [CAN]
Game 1

Game 2

Game 3

XD R32: Toby Ng/Grace Gao [CAN] vs. Martin Del Valle/Alejandra Monteverde [PER]
Game 1

Game 2

(Day 3 - Saturday, April 16)
The 3rd day of the tournament was quite heavy for some players, especially Joycelyn Ko as she had a potential 8 matches to play. The tournament scheduled 3 rounds for Doubles events (16s, QFs, SFs) which I have never seen before in an International tournament. For players in both Doubles and Mixed, that is already a potential 6 matches to play. As for Joycelyn, she had potentially 2 more Women's Singles matches, which would have meant a total of 8 matches should she make it into all 3 semifinals. The day started off rough for the Canadians in Men's Doubles, as Francois Bourret/Kevin Li fell to the 3/4 seeds from France in straight sets. Timothy Ma with Jamaican partner, Charles Pyne, who is actually training in Canada, fell to the Brazilian 5/8 seeds in straight sets as well. However, Adrian Liu/Derrick Ng, the 2nd seeds, had little difficulty in their match getting Canada back on track. The Women's Doubles went well for Canada, though Nicole Grether/Charmaine Reid had to play the unseeded team of Eva Lee/Paula Obanana [USA]. It was a tough first game battle, but Canada was able to come out on top to take the first set. The US kept on fighting in the 2nd set, as there were many long rallies, but Canada came out on top at the end of most rallies, winning the match in straight sets. The other two WD teams of Michelle Li/Alex Bruce and Joycelyn Ko/Grace Gao also had little problems winning their rounds. The XD R16s were fairly straight forward as well, with all 4 Canadian teams pulling through in straight sets.

WD R16: Ko/Gao [CAN] vs. Brazil

The quarterfinals proved a little trickier for Canada, with only Nicole Grether and Michelle Li pulling through. Joycelyn Ko had a tight second set against Cee Ketpura [USA] but eventually lost 26-24. MD and WD went well for Canada though, with Michelle Li/Alex Bruce defeating the 3/4 seeds from Peru in 3 sets! In XD, Kevin Li/Alex Bruce fell to 3/4 seeds of Halim Ho/Eva Lee [USA], but Derrick Ng/Phyllis Chan, unseeded, defeated the 3/4 Peruvian seeds to make a semifinal spot. The semifinals were a little later that evening, and although most of the match-ups were Canada vs. USA, we had a couple of Canada vs. Canada match-ups unfortunately. The first two match-ups were actually Canada vs. USA in the WS, with Nicole taking on Cee, and Michelle playing rival Rena Wang [USA]. Although Nicole fought back and even saved a few match points in the 2nd set to win it and also the 3rd set, Michelle tragically fell to Rena in straight sets, so Canada and USA both took one spot each for the finals. In MD, Adrian and Derrick avenged their loss against Sam Gunatileka/Vincent Nguy [USA] from the 2010 Pan Am Championships in straight sets. WD proved to be quite intense, with Nicole/Charmaine up against Michelle/Alex, with Michelle/Alex scraping by in the final set to take it 21-19! It's a very big win for Michelle and Alex, considering that Nicole and Charmaine have been pretty much undefeated in WD in the Pan American zone for the past while! Unfortunately, we couldn't have an all-Canadian WD final, as Joycelyn/Grace fell to the rival Wang sisters [USA]. Rena and Iris avenged their losses to Joyce/Grace from the 2010 Pan Am Championships, in addition to the 2010 Peru International a year ago! XD was interesting, as Grace and I were up against Derrick/Phyllis, the same match up from the 2010 Peru International, but in the finals. We had a 3 set match again, but Grace and I were able to win with a more convincing score than the previous year, where we won 22-20 in the 3rd to take the title. Adrian/Joyce were up against Halim/Eva and they also battled it out in 3 sets, but with Halim/Eva taking the final set with a convincing score as well. Wow, it was such a long day, and at the end of all of it, we got 4 Canada vs. USA match-ups for the finals!

[TournamentSoftware - Matches - Day 3]

Walking around the Club Regatas

WD R16: Nicole Grether/Charmaine Reid [CAN] vs. Eva Lee/Paula Obanana [USA]
Game 1 (incomplete)

Game 2

XD R16:
Toby Ng/Grace Gao [CAN] vs. Salvador Sanchez/Victoria Montero [MEX]
Game 1

Game 2

 Adrian Liu/Derrick Ng [CAN] vs. Halim Ho/Arnold Setiadi [USA]
Game 1

Game 2

XD QF: Toby Ng/Grace Gao [CAN] vs. Philip Chew/Cee Ketpura [USA]
Game 1

Game 2

XD QF: Halim Ho/Eva Lee [USA] vs. Kevin Li/Alex Bruce [CAN]
Game 1

Game 2

MD SF: Adrian Liu/Derrick Ng [CAN] vs. Sam Gunatileka/Vincent Nguy [USA]
Game 1

Game 2

Toby Ng/Grace Gao [CAN] vs. Derrick Ng/Phyllis Chan [CAN]
Game 1

Game 2

Game 3

(Day 4 - Sunday, April 17)
The finals began at 10:00am, with the order being XD, WS, MS, WD, and MD. That meant that I was up first, against Halim and Eva. The last time we played was in the 2010 Guatemala International in September, and I think we came out on top 27-25 in the final set, not convincing at all o__O Of course, we were a little nervous, but we hoped to use some of the experience we gained in Korea to our advantage. We started the match very well, taking a commanding lead and finished the set as soon as we could. However, they fought back in the 2nd, taking an early lead, and we were never able to catch up at all in that set. The final set went well, despite some service faults and questionable line calls, but we fought hard to gain a small lead at the beginning and did our best to keep it until we got to the end! It was a nerve-racking match and I know the next one we have with them will be even more intense! As for the Canada vs. USA match up, Canada is up 1:0 =)

Women's Singles was next, between Nicole and Rena and it was easily the longest match of the tournament! Nicole fought hard to claim the 2nd set, as she was down a few match points, but she was not able to keep up in the 3rd, as she sustained a pulled muscle in the 2nd. As Rena's lead got greater and greater, Nicole had to stop the match as her injury grew worse as well. Good fight by Nicole, but Rena's win ties Canada and USA at 1:1!

Next up was the Men's Singles between Guatemala and Austria. Kevin Cordon [GUA] took the first set and seemingly threw the 2nd to save energy. Fortunately, it seemed to have worked for him, as he came out very strong in the 3rd to take the 2011 Peru International MS title.

WD F: Bruce/Li [CAN] vs. Wang/Wang [USA]
WD: Coin toss

The Women's Doubles proved quite eventful, with future rival teams of Michelle and Alex taking on Rena and Iris. Canada was off to a slow start, as Alex seemed to be hit with nerves at the beginning. Fortunately, she was able to regain focus with the help of Michelle and they started fighting back. After, coming back to take the 2nd, they continued to show their strength and won the match with a quick 21-8 finish in the final set! Congratulations to Michelle and Alex, as I believe this is their first International Challenge victory! =) Canada is up 2:1!

MD F: Gunawan/Bach [USA] vs. Liu/Ng [CAN]
MD F: Warm Up

The final match of the day proved the most one-sided, as Adrian and Derrick were up against 2005 World Champions Tony Gunawan/Howard Bach [USA]. Unfortunately for the Canadians, they never seemed to get comfortable in the match, as Tony and Howard never really gave them any room to work with. The World Champs gave the Canadians a tough lesson in Men's Doubles, as they won rather convincingly in the shortest final of the day. Amicably though, Tony and Howard showed great class, as they gave the Canadians a few pointers and some things to work on later after the medal presentations. Nice try for Adrian and Derrick and congratulations to Tony and Howard for taking the title! Canada and US are tied 2:2 =P

After an eventful morning, we had our medal presentations and there was complimentary food and beverages for spectators and players. I wish all tournaments were like that =) Anyway, a few of the Canadians headed back to their hotels, while a few of us decided to hang around the Club Regatas a little longer. I took a brief video of this beautiful beach-side club in addition to some extra bits of fun, as a bunch of the Canadians decided to take one last trip to the pool! It's been a great tournament and hope you enjoy all the footage!

2011 Peru IC XD Medalists
2011 Peru IC WS Medalists
2011 Peru IC MS Medalists
2011 Peru IC WD Medalists
2011 Peru IC MD Medalists

[TournamentSoftware - Matches - Day 4]

XD F: Toby Ng/Grace Gao [CAN] vs. Halim Ho/Eva Lee [USA]
Game 1

Game 2

Game 3

Alex Bruce/Michelle Li [CAN] vs. Rena Wang/Iris Wang [USA]
Game 1

Game 2

Game 3

 Tony Gunawan/Howard Bach [USA] vs. Adrian Liu/Derrick Ng [CAN]
Game 1

Game 2

In addition, there are a few other media sources on the Internet that have also followed our badminton journey in Peru. Below are links to those sources:

[ - Semi-Finals Overview]

[ - Finals Overview]

[ - Tournament Overview]

And... here is a little bonus footage of after-tournament fun for my blog readers =)

Tim vs. Adrian - 'Walking' Race in Pool


Jump-Rope Arcade Game

Walking around Larcomar Mall, Miraflores, Lima, Peru

Derrick, Adrian, and Joyce winning at the Deal or No Deal arcade game!
Kevin and Frank playing Time Crisis 4
Tim playing DDR
Pisco Sours - specialty drink of Peru =) 

Thanks for visiting!!

Monday, April 11, 2011

2011 Alberta Series #7 - Provincials

This past weekend (April 8-10) was the Alberta Provincials, hosted by the Royal Glenora Club in Edmonton. I drove up after my morning training session on Friday as Men's Singles started that evening. It's about a 3 hour drive from Calgary to Edmonton, but the weather was nice for once, and it was a smooth, pleasant drive.

The tournament was pretty straight forward, although it was actually a little smaller than past Alberta Series tournaments. However, it was well organized and managed, as usual. Most draws were quite one sided, because I think the number one seed in each event won their respective event. However, the Men's Singles final between Hao Li and Dan Kai seemed to be the most intense. I've recorded 3 of my matches, so I've attached links to them below. Special thanks to Darwin Wan for coming out to watch my matches! Hope it was alright =) Also, I bumped into (and actually played against) my former Men's Doubles partner Will Milroy. Will was a former Canadian National Team member who specialized in Doubles and Mixed and took me under his wing for a year before he retired. I learned a great deal from traveling with him! Maybe I can see if I can dig up some old footage. Our most notable results would probably be the 2008 Pan Am Championship MD title, the 2009 Canadian National MD title, and making it into the Round of 32 at the 2009 World Championships in India =)

Anyway here are the matches. The first match was the MD final. I partnered Jon Vandervet again, but this time Dan Kai partnered with a junior, Andy Ko, as Alan Chow was away on a trip. The second set was more interesting. The next match was the MS semi-final. I don't think it's a great match, as rallies were really short and I don't remember very many highlights, if any. Finally, the last match of the tournament I recorded was the XD final. Grace and I played against Dan Kai and Takeisha Wang, another upcoming junior. Again, not the most exciting match, but I've put it up if you wanted to take a look. Enjoy!

Grace and I after winning our second Alberta Provincial Championships!

[Tournament Software - All Draws]

YouTube Links:
MD F: Jon Vandervet/Toby Ng vs. Dan Kai/Andy Ko
Game 1

Game 2

MS SF: Dan Kai vs. Toby Ng
Game 1

Game 2

XD F: Toby Ng/Grace Gao vs. Dan Kai/Takeisha Wang
Game 1

Game 2

Thanks for visiting!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

2010 Commonwealth Games - New Delhi

I know it's already been 6 months since the 2010 Commonwealth Games in India, but since I've finally uploaded some footage, I figure I could do a little post on it. For starters, our trip to India was delayed because of the delay in the completion of the Athlete's Village. We were supposed to leave on September 27th but we delayed our flight time until September 30th. Unfortunately, we were further delayed on our flight as an Indian lady had a medical complication and needed to be rushed to a hospital. A lot of people weren't happy when they saw the flight route make a big U-turn on the big screen TV. Worst of all, was that poor Jon Vandervet happened to be sitting beside this lady!

The guy in the bottom left was snoring SO badly...
Paramedics on the plane

After having to turn around and stopping at tip of Newfoundland, Canada, we had to wait another hour or so to refuel and everything. By the time we made it to Belgium for a brief layover (more refueling I would assume), we continued on our journey to India, which was another 7-8 hour flight. We arrived in the early morning of October 2nd and we had to wait in the airport for our bags, for some registration, and until they figured out what to do. We were supposed to be in a bit before midnight on October 1st, but by the time we made it to the village, it was already 7:00am on October the 2nd. Unfortunately, not all our players made it on the flight, as Alex Pang, Joycelyn Ko, and Michelle Li had to come in the day after. Fortunately, they made it in at the scheduled time with little complications.

Price of sushi in Belgium airport o__O

Overall, the Athlete Village was decent, but for brand new facilities, it looked like everything was like 20 years old. We had pretty nice apartments, in which they had about 4 separate rooms with 2 beds and a washroom each, with a common living area and kitchen. They also had a single washing machine to use between every body. It kind of reminds me of the dorms in Korea, though more spacious but more poorly made as well. Our washroom didn't even have a working hot water tank! Fortunately there were showers at the venue that worked. The internet access was rather poor as well because the whole village was probably trying to access it, as there wasn't too much to do, other than eat. The food there was alright, because they had a western section and a pizza/pasta section, but the Asian food was more Malaysian/Sinapore style, so they were a lot more heavier on the spices. For two weeks, I was hoping for a simple noodle in soup sort of thing, and for two week I was cursing their menu. There was ample fruit, desserts, and ice cream, but that didn't really help. I didn't try too much of the Indian food, as I was trying really hard not to get sick. For the first week, I was fine, but I guess it just gets to you after a week...

Lot of flies at night time o___O

The medical center was great though. Lots of Canadian doctors and physiotherapists, with WESTERN style medicine and treatments. I am a little fickle about the type of medicine I use, because I always like to know how things work. With Western medicine, I can learn about the science of it all, whereas Eastern medicines tend to be a little too esoteric for me. Anyway, I got sick the second week, but I was treated amply at the Canadian medical center. I also received physiotherapy as well. Though I've never experienced it before, it was definitely a major plus having a physiotherapist following our team! Special thanks to Bob and the medical team at the Games! =)

Team Canada (Badminton) at the 2010 Commonwealth Games
(L to R) Front - Anna Rice, Grace Gao, Joycelyn Ko, Alex Bruce, Michelle Li
Back - Ram Nayyar (Coach), David Snider, Alex Pang, Toby Ng, Jon Vandervet, Jeff White (Coach), Bob (Physio)
Okay, enough complaining. On to the badminton! The badminton was awesome. Period. The venues were good, as both the practice and tournament venues were done very nicely. There was some minor wind in the tournament stadium, but that's normal nowadays in big events. The competition was really good as well, even though it felt more lopsided: either we win easily, or we lose easily. Either way, it was a great chance to play some good teams, and I'd have to say I was very lucky because I got to play all three XD medalists in the Individual events. However, we started the tournament with the Mixed Team Event, so Canada was seeded 5/8 and was in the same pool as England. We also had Mauritius, Uganda, and the Falkland Islands in our pool. Fortunately, we got to play England on the final round robin day, so we could play better because we had more time to adjust to India. Unfortunately though, we ended up losing 4-1, with the sole victory going to Anna Rice in the WS. In the QF, we drew India, so it was kind of cool to play against the home country, as everyone is cheering against you and going crazy every time your opponents won a rally. We didn't do that well, as we lost 3 straight to India, but it was a good experience nonetheless. Check out some of the footage I have. The matches against England and India are much better, though I have also uploaded some of our matches against the other countries if you wish to check them out.

[TournamentSoftware - Team Event]
[TournamentSoftware - Individual Event]

Grace and Joyce warming up on half court. Coach Jeff White warming up Jon Vandervet on the other half.

The Individual tournament wasn't bad either; however, I didn't get any footage of it. They had TV cameras on almost every court so I was hoping for better footage. Canada didn't fair too well in the Individual events except Michelle Li, who defeated a seeded player from Singapore to make the Quarter-final. That pretty much sums up most of the badminton. Unfortunately, I didn't get a chance to watch the finals because Grace, Joyce, and I had to leave India early to make our trip down to Brazil for the 2010 Pan Am Championships. It was the longest I've ever traveled: India to Canada, arrived in the evening, then Canada to Brazil at 7:00am the next day...

Grace, Ram, and a malnourished dog

Well, hope you enjoyed this post! Thanks for visiting! =)

Ram napping on the bus!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

2009 BC Elite Series MD Final & 2010 Malaysia Super Series MD Qualifying (R128)

Here are two older matches of me playing with Lee Haeng Ham of Korea. Lee came over to Calgary in March 2009 and stayed there to train at Kim Dong Moon's badminton academy until he went back to Korea in January 2010, but before he left, we played two more tournaments: the 2010 Korea Super Series and the 2010 Malaysia Super Series. Lee, born 1989, was on the National Team for a brief period of time before he came to Canada, but is now back to training at Won Kwang University in Iksan, Korea. We briefly met up again when I went back to Korea (see Part III of my Korea Blog). Unfortunately, I am missing some footage of the 2010 Korea Super Series so I will not upload it. Also, we happened to be on the camera court in Malaysia, so there is a televised version of our match floating around somewhere. My version is filmed with my camcorder. Unfortunately the quality of the matches may be a little lower as I had filmed it with my old Sony mini-DV camcorder, edited and converted the file to DivX with Studio Pro, then re-cut it with Windows Live Movie Maker before uploading to YouTube. Sorry!

Me and Haeng Ham at Won Kwang University, Korea
Badzine Article:
2010 Korea Super Series - Day 2

Tournament Software Links:
2009 BC Elite Series - MD
2010 Korea Super Series - MD
2010 Malaysia Super Series - MD Qualifying

YouTube Links:
2009 BC ES MD F: Toby NG/LEE Haeng Ham vs. Sandiarto/Jacky RUAN
Part 1 - Game 1 & Game 2 (Pt 1)

Part 2 - Game 2 (Pt 2) & Game 3

2010 MAS SS MD R128: CHOOI Kah Ming/PANG Zheng Lin vs. Toby NG/LEE Haeng Ham
Part 1 - Game 1 & Game 2 (Pt 1)

Part 2 - Game 2 (Pt 2) & Game 3