Tuesday, June 28, 2011

2011 Singapore Super Series (Part II of Asia Tour)

(Additional pictures will be on my Facebook FanPage!)

A few Canadians went to the 2011 Singapore Super Series after the Maldives International, though it was a much smaller team this time, including Adrian Liu (MD/XD), Derrick Ng (MD), Joycelyn Ko (WS/WD/XD), Alex Bruce (WD), Michelle Li (WS/WD), Grace Gao (WD/XD), and myself (XD). Grace and I left the Maldives Monday afternoon, but had to wait for a 7 hour layover in Sri Lanka. We then had to take a red-eye flight to arrive into Singapore at 6:00am in the morning. It wasn't the best choice in itinerary, but I guess it was the cheapest available. We took a taxi to the hotel and had to pay a $40 SGD early check-in fee, but I guess it was worth it for the one hour nap. We went to practice with Derrick and Alex at 9:00am at the practice hall. The practice hall was pretty hot, almost like the venue at the Maldives International. Fortunately, water was provided. Alex also had some of the Li Ning shuttles as the tournament was sponsored by Li Ning. After, we went to watch Michelle's WS Qualifier and Adrian & Derrick's MD Qualifier. We had to take a cab to the stadium, but it wasn't too bad as it was fairly close.

Practice Hall @ Chinese Swimming Club, Singapore

At the stadium (Singapore Indoor Stadium), we went to find Adrian and Joycelyn as they had an early XD Qualifier against Singapore. Unfortunately, we found out they lost by walkover because their phone alarms didn't go off because the phone ran out of battery! I really hope this will be the last of the Canadian walkovers, because even one is already too much o__O Regardless, we were there to cheer Michelle on in her WS against Elizabeth Caan [ENG]. The two of them played in the Commonwealth Games Individual Event QF, with Elizabeth Caan winning in the 3rd set. This time though was totally different, as Michelle looked like she was in control the whole match through and won in straight sets! Adrian & Derrick had a much tougher round though, playing a Chinese pair in the Qualifiers. Unfortunately I don't have footage of their Doubles as Adrian asked me to tape it for him on his camcorder. Perhaps they will upload the footage to their joint site shortly (see http://www.goingforglory.com). 

Singapore Indoor Stadium

There was a short break between the qualification rounds, so most of us headed to the nearby mall to get some food. Food was very cheap and they had a very good selection of Asian food. The mall was quite big and included a karaoke bar, a skating rink, a movie theater, a video arcade, and a couple more restaurants. We were there quite often as it was nearby and easy access for food and drinks. The rest of them headed back to the hotels, though we were at different hotels (I'll explain later), but I stuck around and hung out at the  arcade. Super Street Fighter IV Arcade Edition for 50 cents was definitely a plus. Regardless, I went back in time for Michelle's second qualifying match and she was up against Arundhati Pantawane [IND]. The first game didn't go so well for Michelle, but she picked things up in the second and took that set. The last set was pretty close the whole way through, but due to a couple lucky shots by her opponent, she lost 21-19 in the third. It was a good try for Michelle but she's showing a lot of promise and I'm sure she'll break away and start dominating in the WS real soon! Also, excuse me for cheering and clapping on the video like a maniac haha...

Food court at nearby mall from the stadium

Food court

Food court

Afterwards, Michelle and Alex went back to the tournament hotel, but Adrian, Joyce, Grace and I stayed at a cheaper hotel *ahem* in the red light district while, Derrick went the cheapest and found a hostel. It's tough sometimes for us because we really can't afford to stay in $300+ hotels. Alex and Michelle only stayed until Friday, so that wasn't too bad for them I guess. However, in our area, there was really cheap food to eat and the hotel room only costed $46 CAD, so we pretty much booked our whole week for a single night in the tournament hotel. Sure we had to pay for taxis, but we took the odd metro and the taxi only costed about $5-8 SGD one-way, divided by the number of people going. Usually it was by 4, so it was very cheap transportation regardless.

Lin Dan poster at the Practice Hall

The next day would be Joyce/Grace and Alex/Michelle in the WD, plus Grace and I in the XD. Alex & Michelle started the day up against Japan, though they did a little better than the team they faced last week, it was still not quite enough to do too much damage against them. Same with my Mixed, where I had major difficulties with the wind in the stadium. Singapore is arguably the hardest place to play in terms of the wind, and I've never seen anything like it. Unfortunately since we arrived so late, we couldn't practice in the main venue, so that's a lesson learned. Following our Mixed against Scotland/England, Grace and Joyce were up against the top Russian team. Though their first set was a good attempt, they had a lot more trouble in the second. Check out the videos at the end of this post!

En route to Marina Bay

Downtown Singapore

Since we were all out of the tournament pretty early, we decided to do different things in Singapore. Considering Alex and Michelle would leave Friday, it left maybe a day to go out. We decided to go to Marina Bay early Thurday morning, but it turned out to be a little disappointing because we didn't have too much time there and decided not to go up to the top of the hotels, as it costed $20 SGD. Since we'd only be there for like 20 minutes, we opted not to and headed back to the hotel for a bit of food before going to practice. We went to practice in the afternoon, then a few of us went to the stadium for a brief period of time to pick up some racquets that got re-strung. After, we headed back to the hotel to meet with the group and decided to take the metro to Orchard Road to find the Hard Rock Cafe, as Alex Bruce wanted to get her shot glass from Singapore! It was pretty cool as there was a lot of shopping there, but we didn't get too much time to walk around. It was quite high end as well, so we basically just went and found the restaurant. Overall, the food was pretty good, though it was quite pricey. After, we just headed back as it was getting pretty late.

Near Marina Bay

Marina Bay Sands Mall

This is where we were supposed to go, but oh well...

The next day though, we planned on going to the Bugis Street Market. It was pretty awesome as there was a lot of cheaper stuff and the food was cheap but good as well. We spent a little time there, then went back to the hotel as Alex and Michelle had to leave. After they left, Grace and I decided to head back for a little more shopping, then we met back up at the stadium with Adrian and Joycelyn for some all-you-can-eat sushi at the mall. Though it was about $23 CAD for the dinner, it was fairly decent as they had unlimited sashimi, drinks, and desserts included. We did order too much food but it was a great meal overall. After dinner, we went back to the stadium to watch the last of the matches before heading back to our sketchy hotel.

Singapore is so clean!

Sashimi at the Japanese restaurant

That's pretty much the end of my trip in Singapore, as Grace and I headed to Indonesia on Saturday. Unfortunately the airline we went to (Garuda) was only allowing one carry on bag, so both Grace and I had to check in our badminton bags. They then charged us $11 SGD per extra kilo. I think we both were 10 kilos over (30 kilos/person isn't very much) so we had to pay a combined $165 SGD!! Airlines are just ripping you off left, right, and center nowadays... but since we had a really good itinerary, I guess it wasn't too bad. It was just unfortunate because that was the only time in our entire trip we had to pay for extra baggage... ridiculous o__O

Full Draws: [TournamentSoftware.com]

Matches (via YouTube):
WS Qualifier R1: Michelle Li [CAN] vs. Elizabeth Cann [ENG]
Game 1 (HD 720)

Game 2 (HD 720)

WS Qualifier R2: Arundhati Pantawane [IND] vs. Michelle Li [CAN]
Game 1 (HD 720)

Game 2 (HD 720)

Game 3 (HD 720)

WD R32: Shizuka Matsuo/Mami Naito [JPN] vs. Alex Bruce/Michelle Li [CAN]
Game 1 (HD 720)

Game 2 (HD 720)

XD R32: Robert Blair/Gabrielle White [SCO/ENG] vs. Toby Ng/Grace Gao [CAN]
Game 1

Game 2

WD R32: Valeria Sorokina/Nina Vislova [RUS] vs. Joycelyn Ko/Grace Gao [CAN]
Game 1

Game 2

That's all folks! No miscellaneous footage this time unfortunately, but hopefully you can enjoy some of the HD matches! They took forever to upload o___O Thanks for visiting my blog!

The journey continues...

To be continued... Indonesia Super Series Premier (Part III of Asia Tour).

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