Tuesday, February 7, 2012

2012 Canadian Nationals

The 2012 Canadian Nationals was held at the Glencoe Club in Calgary, Alberta between February 1-4. 93 Canadians came to compete in Calgary for the largest prize purse ever seen in National Championships history! Thanks to various sponsors, including Manulife and Yonex, we were able to play for a $20 000 CAD prize purse! 

Play started on Wednesday with Singles and Mixed Doubles. Later in the evening, we had a player social where they provided pizza at the club and the Badminton Canada Players Association's AGM (annual general meeting) was strategically held at the same time. Derrick Ng, the former president ran the meeting and we went through a few things, made a couple of votes, but at the end we did new elections for President and Vice President. Apparently, nobody ran against me for President, so they auto-defaulted the position to me; however, three people ran for Vice President, including Alex Bruce, Philippe Charron from Quebec, and Derrick himself. We did a ballot and I had to count the votes, but the winner, though quite close, was Alex Bruce! Congrats Alex! I'm sure we'll be a great team :)

Thursday was a few rounds of Doubles, followed by the Quarterfinals in the evening. Matches were quite straight forward, though we did have a few upsets in some of the rounds. They had 2 matted courts, so the layout was quite nice :) Friday morning and afternoon had consolation matches, while the Semifinals were played in the evening. Some close matches that night, some not so close, but overall it was quite eventful, especially Bobby Milroy coming out of retirement and upsetting the 1st Seed, and Alex Pang/Martin Guiffre challenging the top Canadian MD team, Adrian Liu/Derrick Ng in a really close 2 set match! After matches, I got a chance to meet with former Canadian player Tammy Sun! We played a U-23 Nationals together and also my first Pan Am Championshops together so it was cool to see her again. There were a lot of familiar faces who came down to the tournament so it was really nice to see them as they have all been influential in my badminton career :)

Finals was Saturday at noon, starting with the Mixed Doubles. The match went fairly straight forward and we took the first set as we pretty much led the whole way through. The second set was different, as we were playing catch up at many times and in the end, we were able to squeeze through and steal the set from Derrick and Alex. Womens Singles followed with another victory going to Michelle Li with a 2011 Pan Am Games rematch against Joycelyn Ko, while challenger Bobby Milroy, one of Canada's best former Canadian Men's Singles players, retired while he was up in a close 3rd set with a upper leg injury against Alex Pang. WD was quite a surprise, as Joycelyn and Grace came out full force to take the WD title in 2 sets! Finally the MD match to end the day was a very close 3 set match between challengers Jon Vandervet and I against the top MD team in Canada, Adrian Liu and Derrick Ng! It was a rematch from last year's National finals and also BC Elite Series, but this time it was much closer with a 21-18 finish :) All final matches have been posted on YouTube and I will link to them at the end of the blog. Special thanks to BadmintonLife.com for providing live streaming for the semifinals and finals on their live streaming channel!

XD Medalists
WS Medalists
MS Medalists
WD Medalists
MD Medalists
The banquet began at about 7:00pm at the Glencoe with a buffet dinner and some festivities :P It's been one of the better banquets I've had in a long time, as it was well organized and I'm sure we all had a great night. We had Steve Smith MCing so he recognized all our sponsors and played an interesting singing game, where a table could sing a verse or hook/chorus to a song for some drink tickets :P Fortunately, I was able to film some of these performances so I will be uploading the video later ;) Also, Bryan and Beth played a game where the winner got a Wii that was used in the players' lounge over the week! It was a simple heads or tails game, with the last person being very very lucky :) Afterwards, some awards were given, including Manulife's MVP award which went to Grace Gao for winning two National Titles! Sportsmanship awards were also given out to both Male and Female recipients including a $50 Future Shop gift card :) Finally, to end the night at the Glencoe, we had the dance floor open up, with Martin Guiffre mixing a playlist for us! At about 10pm, we got on 2 party buses organized by Steve and went to The Mansion night club for more drinks and dancing! It was just the people from the tournament at the start, but I'm sure other people managed to show up later, though I left early with Joycelyn because we were too tired. Before I left though, we started a little circle and did some dancing ;) Some good moves by everyone (except mine cuz they were super rusty) including Dave Snider, Nyl Yakura, and a few others :) A great night to top of a great tournament, what a start to hopefully a great year!

That's the 2012 Canadian Nationals! I'd like to thank a LOT of people as so many people contributed to making this such a wonderful event :) Big thanks to Steve Smith for getting the ball rolling, as he saw that a lot of the Olympic track Canadian athletes needed funding so he had the vision to try to put together a well-organized Nationals with a large prize purse to help the athletes! He started petitioning to have the Nationals in Calgary almost an entire year before the event and with his hard work and incredible charm, he and his dad helped toward bringing this year's Nationals to a $20 000 prize purse! Of course, we have to thank the sponsors, with Manulife being the Title Sponsor and Yonex for being a Gold Sponsor for the event! Thanks to all the smaller sponsors as well, because every little bit makes a difference. A photo is attached of all the sponsors below :) I'd also like to thank the volunteers, officials, and staff at the Glencoe for helping run things, driving people to the hotel, and setting up the courts. I'm also grateful for the Glencoe for allowing us to play with coloured clothing, as it has been historically an all-white clothing rule on the badminton courts. Thank you to the players and coaches as well, especially to my partners for playing with me and coaches Jeff White and Ronne Runtulalo for coaching me. Thanks to my teammates and friends for coming to watch and cheering me on and if I have missed anyone, thanks for not being angry ;) Again, I'd just like to acknowledge that many people played a role and if you feel you have played a part in this National Championships, then thank you :)

So that's that! Didn't take too many pictures unfortunately, but at least I have your videos. It's a little tough filming in the Glencoe due to the lack of space, but I tried my best :P Enjoy!

Full Results via Tournament Software: [2012 Manulife National Championships]

Matches via YouTube:
XD SF: Toby NG/Grace GAO [AB] vs. Francois BOURRET/Michelle LI [QB/ON]


XD F: Toby NG/Grace GAO [AB] vs. Derrick NG/Alex BRUCE [BC/ON]

WS F: Michelle LI [ON] vs. Joycelyn KO [ON]

MS F: Alex PANG [AB] vs. Bobby MILROY [BC]

WD F: Joycelyn KO/Grace GAO [ON/AB] vs. Alex BRUCE/Michelle LI [ON]

MD F: Adrian LIU/Derrick NG [BC] vs. Jon VANDERVET/Toby NG [AB]

... and lastly, here's a link again to my 2012 National Championships Promotional Video one last time!

Thanks for visiting! Up next... Thomas/Uber Cup Preliminaries!

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