Monday, January 16, 2012

2012 Malaysia Super Series

It's been a while since my last update, but it's because the power switch to my netbook broke and I was only traveling with my Kobo Vox e-reader in Malaysia, but now that I'm back in Korea, I can update about the last week :) Unfortunately, since I couldn't update, I didn't really take too many pictures and I only recorded the Canadian matches, so if you're looking for more this time, sorry :(

We had to wake up early to catch the bus to go to the airport in Incheon, Korea as we had an 8:45am flight. Being on the Korean Air Limousine bus, I scanned the duty free magazine they provide on their bus and stole the Kim Yuna ad out of the magazine. If anyone is looking to buy anything she is advertising from the duty free magazine I ripped the picture from, I apologize! For those of you who don't know her, she is the 2010 Winter Olympic Women's Figure Skating Gold Medalist for South Korea :) Well, that was pretty much my highlight of the morning :P We flew Asia Air X to Malaysia, which is a pretty interesting airline. They discount their tickets but make you pay for extras on everything, including luggage, food, and water on the plane. Overall, if you're not too picky, it's actually not too bad. It was a 6 hour flight so I did get hungry and I wanted some water for my cup noodle from Korea. Apparently they do not allow outside food or drink, but my convincing argument that I will purchase their cup noodle if they give me hot water for my noodle (i.e. MY noodle is better :P) and they kinda thought it was stupid, so they just gave me free water. With the money I didn't spend, I bought a drink :) I guess that's the start of practicing bargaining in Malaysia :)

Kim Yuna ad for J.Estina
We arrived and waited a while in immigration, as the lineup was terrible with Chinese people trying to cut in AGAIN (even the immigration officer was rolling her eyes) and had a long ride into the city. The tournament hotel was the Berjaya Times Square Hotel, basically attached to Berjaya Times Square, a giant 10-floor shopping mall but we couldn't get a room on the Monday so we stayed across the street at the Melia Kuala Lumpur Hotel, also a 4 star hotel for about the same price (minus breakfast). The accommodations in both hotels were quite nice, but I actually preferred the rooms in the Melia instead. Unfortunately, we arrived right during the manager's meeting, and apparently we had a practice time at the main hall for 6pm, with the bus leaving at 5pm. We had actually arrived at 4:30pm, with the manager's meeting starting at 4:00pm, so you can see how tight we were with the scheduling. We took our luggage with us and went to the hall and practiced for an hour and a half. The stadium was quite windy, with a diagonal draft, but it wasn't too bad for the tournament as we fortunately got to play on the same court, but I'll explain that later. After, we finally checked into the hotel, had some food, and then called it a day :) Much too much traveling in a single day, that's for sure o__O

2 giant cups of milk tea, cuz my Kobo Vox has a 7" screen
On the qualifications day, we couldn't get any practice courts as they were all booked up. It was a little frustrating, but ironically, we decided to head down to check out the internet in the mall as internet was a paid service in the hotel rooms. We bumped into Linda Zechiri of Bulgaria and asked if they were using their practice court. Apparently she didn't even know it was booked and said she would not be using it. We scrambled and found Michelle and Alex, fortunately via Facebook, as Alex just happened to buy a cheap sim card which gave her 3G data for the whole week! Anyway, we rushed to meet up, got our stuff and grabbed a taxi to the practice hall. To our dismay, it turns out that there were MANY practice courts available, even more than we could book. Unfortunately, the practice courts were quite hot and humid, so training was quite difficult with the humidity and loads of sweat :P We took the shuttle back fortunately, so we at least had a practice before we played. Later that night I ventured into the mall and found some Thai food! Food in Malaysia was incredibly cheap and I was able to pay less than $7 CAD for the entire meal. I will sure miss their food prices.

Pineapple Fried Rice + Tom Yum Soup
The next day started off with Michelle and Alex playing against the Wang sisters from the USA! This was an excellent draw for Michelle and Alex and they definitely took advantage of it and took the win in straight sets. Next up was Michelle in her singles against last week's WS champion, Wang Shixian of China. She didn't do too bad, but I think her knee started to really bother her a lot in the match. Last up for the day was Grace and I against another Chinese team. We had quite a bad start, being down I think 11-1 at the interval and we lost the first set maybe 21-8. We picked it up in the 2nd set, taking a good lead at the beginning before letting our opponents catch up and get to the interval first. From there, the game went kind of up and down, especially with a lot of net rolls going back and forth on each side. In the end, it came down to us being down 19-20, but we couldn't get that point back to lose 21-19. I wouldn't really say it was that close, as I felt it was a wild game. I felt I did some things well, but I also did other things poorly, as I was very bent on trying to do a select few things correctly. Also, Jan O Jorgensen from Denmark was having a really long match against China's Du Pengyou on the TV court, so that's why everyone was cheering and all. They definitely weren't watching my match :P

 The next day we went to the stadium to watch Michelle and Alex play against the seeded Chinese Taipei team. They did fairly well this time, as I believe they played them previously in the 2011 Canada Open. My match video is in two parts because they told me I couldn't film at a higher level and I had to film from a lower level. As you can see, people at the tournament seem to have this incredible need to walk around and it's a little annoying to see so many people walk in front or through the camera. Especially in Michelle's WS match were I had to climb to the top  and film, there were many people actually standing in my shot so that I had to actually put my tripod on a ledge to make it high enough, hence why it's shaking as I had to hold it down every now and then to keep from falling. Ugh, regardless, I got the footage :P After the match I was able to get a bit of bonus footage of Michelle and Alex getting interviewed by a reporter. I'm not too sure which network he is filming for, but I figure I would take a bit of video just in case we never see it again! Basically the reporter interview Alex and asks her a bunch of questions, then we have Michelle coming in and trying to answer those questions to see how well she knows her partner. Fortunately, Michelle did really awesome and probably answered all the questions correctly! Check out the video below :) 

The last couple of days were spent training, watching matches and a bit of shopping. I bumped into Jessy Sung, an old badminton friend from Vancouver who took up with the Badminton World Federation in Malaysia! It was nice to see her for a bit, even though we didn't really get to meet up, but it's nice to have friends everywhere you go, right? ;) We flew back to Korea on Saturday afternoon, set to arrive at 9:55pm. Apparently the last bus to Iksan, the city where we train with Kim Dong Moon, was at 10:30pm so we were a little nervous in wondering if we could make it or not. Fortunately, we arrived early at about 9:25pm, so that gave us more time than we did before! It took about 5-10 minutes to get to the terminal, 10 minutes to get off the plane, another 10 minutes or so to get to immigrations, another 10 minutes to clear immigration and a little longer to get our bags. We finally arrive and made it to the bus station with time to spare... BUT THE TICKETS WERE ALL SOLD OUT!... Definitely one of those FML moments. In the end, we decided to find a nearby hotel and found one online which included an airport shuttle. Fortunately, it was only 77 000 KRW (~$70 CAD) which was pretty awesome. We took a bus the next day to Iksan and will be there for the week to train with Kim. We're heading back to Canada on the 22nd, so just a week left before I make it home to a Chinese New Year's dinner!

Less than $4 CAD meal in Malaysia
~$8 Meal in Korea... Vegetable Bulgogi... VERY delicious :)

Matches via YouTube:
WD R32:
Alex BRUCE/Michelle LI [CAN] vs. Rena WANG/Iris WANG [USA]
Full Match

WS R32:
WANG Shixian [CHN] vs. Michelle LI [CAN]
Game 1
Game 2

XD R32: HE Hanbin/BAO Yixin [CHN] vs. Toby NG/Grace GAO [CAN]
Full Match

WD R16: CHENG Wen Hsing/CHIEN Yu Chin [TPE] vs. Alex BRUCE/Michelle LI [CAN]
Game 1 (Pt 1)
Game 1 (Pt 2) & Game 2

Thanks for visiting! Next tournament: 2012 Manulife Canadian National Championships, presented by Yonex (Feb 1-4, 2012). Click HERE for blog posting!

1 comment:

  1. hey..u are also a badminton Fan! Me too.. posted about Korea Open and Malaysia Open in my blog.. :)