Saturday, July 2, 2011

2011 Indonesia Super Series Premier (Part III of Asia Tour)

It's been a while since I was in Indonesia (since Thomas Cup Finals in 2008), but it was pretty nice to get to go again, especially knowing Indonesia's reputation for their active crowds! Grace and I left Singapore earlier on Saturday for Indonesia and luckily it was a short flight. The bad thing about the short flight, because we flew Garuda airlines, was that they limited us to only one carry-on bag and made us check-in our badminton bags. Then we had to pay an extra $11 SGD/kilo for anything over 20kg, so we ended up paying about $165 SGD between the two of us. It's pretty rough with airline traveling nowadays but I'll save the ranting for another blog post (don't even get me started on Air Canada o__O).

We made it in and were able to get a visa on arrival (required for Canadians), but it was only $25 USD and it would last a fairly long time, though I can't recall how long. Unfortunately, change is given in Rupiah (IDR) so it depends on how the exchange rate is at the time. When I went in 2008, it was almost 1 000 000 (one million) IDR for $100 USD, but now for the same amount of USD, you would get maybe 850 000 IDR. Actually, coming out right after you get your bags, there are about 8 currency exchange places, all calling you to try to change money. They are all side by side, so it's pretty competitive. However, each place actually gives different rates based on the currency you may have. Since we had Canadian Dollars as well, there was a place giving a rate of 8600 for 1 CAD, while another may only give 8300 for 1 CAD.

We met the tournament organizers and they were very hospitable and guided us to the taxi which would take us to the tournament hotel. After being harassed by a couple of guys who want to 'help you with your bags for a small tip' (lesson learned from 2008), we made it into the taxi and it was off to the hotel. The drive was quite long, about 45 minutes, but traffic in Indonesia is quite congested at various times, especially near the hotel. When we finally got there, we were able to get a decent room and had a lunch at the hotel's Chinese restaurant, which was very affordable and we would revisit it very often this trip.

Shanghai Style Hot and Sour Soup with Noodles - I ate it like... 6 times.

The hotel we were staying at for the tournament is the Sultan Hotel. It's a very nice hotel and it's VERY big. It's very close to the tournament venue as well (the Istora) but they offered a shuttle service anyway, perhaps for the star players to avoid swarms of fans harassing them on the way back after a match. When we got in, they were still setting up the tournament, but I must say they did put everything up very quickly and efficiently. We were able to get a hit in at the Istora Warm Up area, though it wasn't totally set up yet, and also at the nearby 'Africa-Asia' Practice Hall. Both places were excruciatingly hot to play in, but regardless, practice is practice. Adrian Liu, Derrick Ng, and Joycelyn Ko came in on Sunday so I was able to arrange practice for all of us, and Michelle Li and Alex Bruce came in on Monday afternoon. As we were only getting a couple chances to hit in the main hall, I was fortunately able to be able to book practice times early enough so that I could get the times I wanted, or even a court for that matter in the Main hall. Every country is pretty hellbent on getting a practice time in the Main hall, so if you don't do anything until the last minute, you're pretty much out of luck. Because we didn't have that many players as some of the top countries, we were very limited on courts. At first it was actually just one court for one hour, but we were able to get a second court earlier in the morning.

Constructing the Warm Up hall. It looked VERY nice after, but I don't have a picture of it.

I attended the manager's meeting as well, and it was rather interesting because every country had to sign in and almost had to be accounted for. It's interesting to see how much stricter they are about the regulations, but being one of the most prestigious tournaments, it's really no surprise. The meeting didn't take too long, and I was able to gather all necessary information for the other players, most notably that Grace and Joycelyn's qualifying pool had the top qualification seed promoted into the main draw and that there was nobody to replace them (nobody in the reserve list for WD), and that the winner of Q1 would come out to play Rena Wang/Iris Wang [USA] in the first round of a Super Series Premier! What a great chance to earn 4320 points and split about $1000 USD prize money (because winner of the match had to play #1 WD Seed haha). Also, it was important to try to get the scheduling because it wasn't listed on Tournament Software at the time.

A gift given to the players for entering the tournament.
A hand puppet

The qualification day started with a surprise, as according to the scheduling, Adrian and Joyce would have to play XD in the morning, but the scheduling changed pretty late into the evening. Play also began at 8am, which made things really tough ESPECIALLY WHEN THE SCHEDULE CHANGED LAST MINUTE. Fortunately, they had the courtesy to call Alex and Michelle's room to tell them that their WD Qualification match was actually the first match on at 8:00am.  Since they called at 7:00am, they pretty much had to rush out of bed, change, and head straight to the venue. Derrick called me to let me know, so I had to get up, search the Internet for all the match times and make sure everyone else knew what time they were playing. Since I was up already though, I decided I'd go and film the match and support, because it's tough to be playing first and potentially being the first to exit the entire tournament (in Alex Bruce's case). However, it was good that they won their match against a young Indonesian team, and even better that I have a copy of it for them now =) Unfortunately though, Adrian and Joycelyn had to play right after, but since none of myself, Alex, or Michelle had breakfast yet, we had to go back because we didn't know what time breakfast would finish. Michelle also had two more matches to play, and Alex had one more WD later as well.

Derrick and Adrian warming up during the match.

After breakfast, I went back to watch Grace/Joycelyn in WD and Adrian/Derrick in MD. Though they were scheduled to be on at the same time, I was supposed to film Adrian/Derrick, but it ended up their court was a match behind, so I could have filmed Grace/Joycelyn. Unfortunately, they couldn't pull through and win their match. I got the camera set up for Adrian/Derrick's match though and they had a tough one against another younger Indonesian team. They had a much closer 2nd set, but just couldn't pull of the game. We headed back for a bit, but I had to come back again for Michelle's singles against Adrianti Firdasari [INA]. I started filming the match and Alex came also to watch as well. Since it was already late in the afternoon, the Indonesian crowd had picked up and it was becoming increasingly loud. It really didn't help that Michelle was also playing against Indonesia. Alex and I were trying to cheer, but it was more or less useless against the Indonesian crowd. I made an attempt to sit behind Michelle in the 2nd set to cheer for her (as I'm not much of a Singles coach), but she was unable to take the 2nd set and lost in the end after hard luck in the last two rallies of the match. However, I think she played very well, as Adrianti Firdasari [INA] actually made it quite far in the tournament.

Shot of the venue from the Player's seating area

The last Canadian match of the day would be Alex and Michelle in their second round of Qualifiers. They didn't have the best start in their match, but they really picked it up to take the second. The final match wasn't too bad, as it was pretty close most of the way through, but they couldn't finish it in the end. A good attempt nonetheless and though they lost their match, they were technically the only Canadians at the tournament to play and win a match! After their match, we were scheduled to go to the Welcoming Dinner, hosted by the tournament. They had some of the star players all dressed up in traditional Indonesia wear, but since the dinner was outside and they were on stage, we noticed that Lee Yong Dae was a little uncomfortable as he kept fanning himself on stage. The dinner was just a standing style buffet dinner, but the food was excellent with plenty of variety. The memorable moment of the dinner came at the end (memorable to some, embarrassing to others...), where they were doing draws for door prizes. Usually door prizes aren't really anything special, but they actually were giving away 2 Samsung Galaxy Tabs O___O One person won in the draw for names, but they ran out of names to draw. Seems like you had to register for the banquet but nobody told us that. Anyhow, a bunch of us ended up going up on stage to uh... 'dance' for the prize. Even though I wasn't drunk, I wasn't particularly thinking too much, other than "Samsung Galaxy Tab = $600 = get up there and win". Long story short, it felt like an episode of the show "Dance 360" as the bboy (breakdancer) loses to a girl with boobs (Lotte Jonathans [NED]). I don't feel like elaborating as I'm not too fond of reliving the moment, but Grace did take a video... so perhaps it will float around. If you do happen to watch it, I can almost guarantee that you'll definitely crack a smile, unless you're already laughing yourself out of breath. Remember, I did it for the money... hahaha what do you expect? I'm a Canadian badminton player

The pool decorated with balloons of countries during the welcome party

Let's just skip to the next day... where Grace and I play 2010 World Championship Finalists from China, He Hanbin and Yu Yang. Well, it was going to be a tough match, but it certainly felt better than Singapore. We only had a couple of longer rallies, but that was because we had a tough time getting through the first three shots. Their serves were quite good, meaning I wasn't able to hit the greatest serve returns. My serves weren't so great as well, as they kept clipping the tape and landing short. There was a little wind as well, which made us hit out the side a few times, but nothing close to as bad as Singapore. Overall, I do say I enjoyed the experience playing them and hopefully it will motivate us to work a little harder. It's not like we felt we had no chance whatsoever which is a little inspiring. Little by little, then we'll see where we are at next time!

The venue

The country flags. More were inserted at a later day. This picture was taken on the Qualifying Day

After we lost, we went for a practice with the rest of the Canadians. It was nice to see everyone come out and play and we had some intense 3 v 3 games, with one set going to 24-22 when we were supposed to just play to 11 points. Everyone was pretty much set to leave after, so we all spent the rest of our time there practicing in the afternoons, watching in the early evening, and going out for dinner at night. Alex and I had the chance to eat at the Hard Rock Cafe in Jakarta, while the other night I went to California Pizza Kitchen with Adrian, Joycelyn, Derrick, and Michelle. Grace and I were set to leave with a flight out of Jakarta at 6:25am, so we had to leave the hotel at about 3:00am that morning. Unfortunately, we waited around and nobody showed up, despite us registering for transportation and that they called to confirm with us earlier the other day. We were able to call one of the tournament organizers and get to the airport, but we left almost an hour later, but that was pretty much the end of our troubles. We flew to Hong Kong and waited about 7 hours to our flight to Vancouver, then headed back to Calgary shortly. All technically in the same day o___O

Pastries at the hotel bakery which was 50% off during Happy Hours (after 6pm).

Shanghai style fried noodle at the Chinese restaurant in the hotel

Nasi Goreng at a restaurant at Plaza Indonesia Shopping Mall

Hard Rock Cafe Jakarta

Shopping mall in Jakarta

'Pecking Duck' Pizza at California Pizza Kitchen at a mall in Jakarta

View from the airplane over Hong Kong 
It's been a great tour nonetheless, with a win in the Maldives and some valuable experience in Singapore and Indonesia, not to mention some great matches we saw. It was also nice to get to know some of the other Canadians better and function more or less like a team. Perhaps it may have been different before, but I'm hoping we're on the right track. Thank you all for checking out my blog and enjoy the videos attached below! =)

Full Results (via
[Indonesia Super Series Premier]

Matches (via YouTube):
WD Qualifier R1: Alex Bruce/Michelle Li [CAN] vs. Annisa Saufika/Gloria Emanuelle Widjaja [INA]
Game 1 (HD 720)

Game 2 (HD 720)

MD Qualifier R1: Ricky Karanda Suwardi/Muhammad Ulinnuha [INA] vs. Adrian Liu/Derrick Ng [CAN]
Game 1 (HD 720)

Game 2 (HD 720)

WS Qualifier R1:
Adrianti Firdasari [INA] vs. Michelle Li [CAN]
Game 1 (HD 720)

Game 2 (HD 720)

WD Qualifier R2: 
Imawan Gebby Ristiyani/Nuraidah Tiara Rosalia [INA] vs. Alex Bruce/Michelle Li [CAN]
Game 1 (HD 720)

Game 2 (HD 720)

Game 3 (HD 720)

XD R32: He Han Bin/Yu Yang [CHN] vs. Toby Ng/Grace Gao [CAN]
Game 1 (HD 720)

Game 2 (HD 720)

And... here's a little bonus for checking out my blog! I recorded two matches which were not on any camera courts. Enjoy! =)

MD QF: Mohammad Ahsan/Bona Septano [INA] vs. Koo Kien Kiet/Tan Boon Heong [MAS]
Game 1 (HD 720)

Game 2 (HD 720)

Zhang Nan/Zhao Yun Lei [CHN] vs. Tao Jia Ming/Qing Tian [CHN]
Game 1 (HD 720)

Game 2 (HD 720)

That's all folks! My next two tournaments will be US and Canada Opens! Stay tuned...

1 comment:

  1. success in your career as a badminton player.
    I'm a fan of yours. (from Guatemala)