Saturday, December 1, 2012

The team gets to see Singapore

Dear readers

Jennifer and Grace were disappointed with their defeat yesterday in the QFs. After their game, it was decided that the team will visit Orchard Rd so that the players can see a bit of Singapore instead of just the Singapore Badminton Hall.

I do  not have many of the photos as I am waiting for Simon to down load them for me. However here are a few taken on my iphone 5 for the moment.

We went first to Somerset before walking to Orchard Rd. For many of the players, this was their first visit to Orchard Rd. Orchard Rd is Singapore's golden mile for shopping and entertainment. It is famous for its Christmas lights.

In the morning the girls were ferried to Woodlands where the Singapore Sports School is located. The school had organised for the Aus girls to have some friendly games with the Singapore girls. I am waiting for Simon's photos.

The boys had their training with Coach Nick. He got upset as some of the boys were late. They were properly punished with extra exercises.

In the afternoon, Coach Nick and the WA players were invited to lunch by Willy Lee and Lucy Yau, the parents of Sean Lee who is another former WA State player. We were lucky to be invited to Hong Luck SiYi which is at the old race course in Bukit Timah. That is a top class restaurant specialising in Peking duck.

Lucy Yau was a constant volunteer for the WA State teams as her son Sean was in several state teams. She has just returned to Singapore for good and we will definitely miss her.

At lunch, one of the topics was the lack of manners in the current Australian generation. Nick was recounting that some of the team members do not even address him when they see him in the morning for training. He was comparing the respect given to him by players from other countries.

I was reminded of speaking to an Indo parent during the week. One of his son's friend came to say hello to him by holding his hand and putting it to his chin. The player then did the same to my hand although I had never met him before.

Such great manners and respect for their elders. Contrast that to some of our Aussie kids who do not even say hello to their coach or their elders.

I discussed with Nick that perhaps it is time for him to insist on being addressed as Coach Nick. I think he has taken that to heart.

Some of the players do not even have the manners to say thank you or please.

Am I being over sensitive or out of date. Surely our Asian culture has not been lost through just 1 generation.

I may become unpopular with some of the players for pushing this issue but I believe that it is for the good of the players and the future generation.

The host Willy and Lucy sitting beside me

Coach Nick grappling with the remnants of the beautiful pork hock we had.

The night was spent shopping as the whole team wanted to spend money. We all went to Bugis Junction.

 I am sure Simon will have some photos.

Touk Reei and Annie at dinner

The finals will start at 12 pm tomorrow. Unfortunately we have no Australians taking part.

However, all the players have given their best in this very competitive tournament. We are competing with players who may have played their first international tournament at 10 years old.  Unless Australia adopts the Asian way of recruiting and training players, it is unlikely that Australia will excel in the near future in international tournaments.

At the end of the day, it boils down to funding and time allocated for training.

Most of the Aus players will be returning to Australia tomorrow, or is it this morning as it is now 2.15 am.

I have enjoyed blogging this event and hope that you have all enjoyed the insight into how the players performed in what was for some, their first international tournament. All the players and coaches have given their best for Australia. Good night.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Grace and Tham's quarter finals

dear readers

Aus is leading 9/6 in the QF against Indo. Indo reduces the deficit to 1 pt. As gets back a pt.Indo draws at 10 all after 2 errors from Aus. Indo gets to 11 first. The girls look evenly matched.

However We lose 3 pts in a row. grace smashes a weak return to lessen the difference. However we still trail 15/11. Suddenly we are trailing 12/16. We continue to lose pts and now trail at 17/12.  Now at 19/13. It is looking dire as Indo gets to game point. Indo wins the first set.

We trail 4/5 at the 2 nd. The girls are giving everything they have. They drop to 7/4 and then lose another pt.  Graces smashes are returned twice before Indo gets the pt.  Tam's return shot hits the net and tumbles ver for a pt. We need all the luck we can get. Aus now trails at 11/6. Grace's smash goes out to her frustration.  Aus now trails 13/7 before we get another pt. We ge t 2 pts in a row to get to 10/14. Grace does a quick drop to get us to 12/15.  tam gets another pt with a drop shot.  She ask for a change in shutter.   We get to 15 all.  Aus then takes he lead.  Grace gets another pt with a smash that Indo returns out. Indo gets back a pt at 16/17.  Another smash of Grace is returned out. Come on girls, get the 3rd set. Indo gets to 17/18.  Indo draws at 18/18.  e now trail by 1 pt. Graces shot tumbles over  and we get the next shot to get to game point. We are now 20 all. Indo gets 21/20.  ndo gets the final pt to win the match. The girls fought hard but was not able to convert.  They have done Aus well.

Janet Son and Tiffany Ho v Indonesia

Dear readers

Janet and Tiff are about to start their match against Indo's Gregoria and Fauzia.

They trail at 3 love as the girls get their jitters out. Janet gets their first pt with a good smash. They trail at 3/5.  They remain at 4 while Indo continues their lead. They reduce the points to 7/8.  Indo gets to 11/7.

Indo remains ahead at 12/7. Aus gets back a few pts. There is a long rally where Ho turns defence to attack and then the Indo turn the game around again for the point.

Indo is now at 14/9. Ho gets a good net drop to get another pt. Indo remains strong and get to 19/10. Indo gets the first set at 21/10.

Aus will have to fight harder if they want a rubber.

Aus keeps close to the Indo team for the 2nd set. The score is 3/4. We now trail at 4/7.

There is a long rally but Aus could not capitalise on the advantage when the smash goes to the net.

There is another long rally before Aus hits to the net. Everything Aus throws at Indo comes back.

Indo gets to 11/4.

Aus trails at 14/5.  Indo seems to be lifting and waiting for Aus to make the mistake.  We now trail at 16/6.  Yet another long rally where Aus hits the net to give Indo the point. The last rally must have gone for about 30 strokes before Aus hits the net to give Indo another pt.

Indo reaches  match point. They continue to lift while waiting for us to make a mistake. This time Aus gets the point. Indo finally finishes the game. Both Ho and Janet have tried their best. Unfortunately the Indo girls are too strong.

Good luck to Janet and Ho for their future games Their journey ends today but the future looks bright.

Jennifer Tham and Grace Ngiam

Dear readers

I just arrived at the court.

Tham and Ngiam lost the first set at 23/21 after a close fight. They are playing Singapore.

The 2nd will be a thriller too. They are at 6 all after Grace's drop tumbles over the net. They are leading at 6/9 now. They retain the lead at 7/10.  Aus gets to 11 first. This could be a 3 setter.

Aus needs to stay at the lead. Singapore gets to 10/12. Tam smashes out and Spore gets closer. They are at 12 all. Spore now takes the lead by 2 pts. Grace smashes for a point. They are at 14 all.  Aus takes the lead again.  Grace gets another pt to extend the lead by 2 pts. Tam gets to 17/16 and Grace gets another pt.  Aus gets to game pt. 18.  Tam hits the shutter down the middle to get Aus a rubber.

Both girls from Aus are hyped up. They need to put the pressure on Spore.

Aus gets to 2/1 and then gets another pt. They now lead at 4/1. Spore gets to 3/4, Tam smashes for another pt. Spore trails at 4/6. Aus extends the lead to 8/4.  Spore gets to 5/10 but Aus  gets to 11 first.

Aus lose 2 pts in a row before getting to 15/9. Spore gets to 10/15.

The score is now 12/15 in Aus favour.

Grace does a great drop cross to get to 18/14.  We get to match point 14. Spore does not give up and get another pt.  A high serve is smashed to the net by Grace.  

Aus remains calm and get to match pt before Tam smashes for the winner. Great game girls. They deserve the win.

Tham comes to high five us and I notice she has blood on her face. She told me she bled for Australia. What a strong spirit. The girls now get to play for the quarterfinals against an Indo pair. Good luck to them.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Great photo shots by Simon Mak the pro

Dear readers,

We are lucky that Joy Lai's dad Simon is with us at the competition. He has been taking loads of photos which I will be uploading to the blog. He lugs around about 5 kg of equipment everyday and is definitely fitter than myself. The quality of his photos will show the care and attention he brings to his photography. Have a look at the photos and send him an email if you wish to download them for your own use for copyright purposes. I am sure he will oblige.

Here are some of the shots including the training sessions that are compulsory even in the heat.

Huai Dong's and Phing's singles

Dear readers

HD is playing Singapore's NG ZRR. He is trailing at 7/10. He reduces the gap to 2 pts. Singapore gets to 11 first. The Spore player is fast. Spore gets to 15/8 and then 17/8.  HD gets a point with a smash to get to 9/17. Spore does a high jump smash to extend the lead again to 19/9.  HD gets to 10 after Spore hits out. Spore gets to game point but HD hangs on for another pt.  After a long rally HD loses the set.

Hopefully HD recovers for the 2nd set.

HD trails at 2/3. He is getting outsmashed by the Sporean. He now trails 5/2 and then 7/2 . HD tries for a towel break to break the other player's good run but the umpire rejects his request. He now trails 10/2. Spore gets to 11/3.  HD gets the first point after the interval.  He now trails at 14/4.  Spore hits out to give HD a point. Nothing is going right for HD as his shutter falls to his side of the net after a good drop.

He gets a point to 6/19.  Spore gets to match point and finishes the match.

That's the end of he tournament for HD. He has progressed further than any other player but the journey ends here. The experience earned will help him in the future.

The next game we are watching is Phing's game.

Phing is down 15/8 against the no. 4 seeded Indonesian player Sheren. She trails at 18/10. Spore gets to game point 10 and then the set.

Hopefully she will play a better 2nd set.

She trails at 3 love. She gets to 3/5 and keeps close to Indo. She gets another pt. Indo hits back to get to 8/4 and then 9/4. Indo gets to 11/4.  Indo remains strong at 13/5. Phing wins 2 pts in a row but remains at 15/8.  She continues to trail at 17/9.  Indo gets to 19/9 and looks like she is closing the game. Match point is reached by Indo but Phing recovers a point.  But the rally and match ends when her shutter hits the post.  Her tournament ends but her training will continue.

Jaz and Amos, Tyz and Xiang, HD and Justin

Dear readers

Jaz and Amos are playing a Thai pair, Mek and Kantawait. They lost an early lead and are now trailing 9/10.

 Thai gets 11 /9.

They still trail at 13/10.  Now down 15/10.  They get back a hard earned point and then another to reduce the deficit.  Now they are down 18/12.

Thai gets to 20/12 without a problem and they win the first set at 21/13.

After a long rally in the 2nd set, Aus loses the point and the score is now 2/4.

Aus is now trailing 7/2.  Jaz and Amos need to play harder as they are now down 9/2. Thai gets to 11/3.  Too many mistakes are being made by the Aus players. They are at 14/3. Trailing at 16/3 and the game looks lost. Aus lose another long rally and are at 18/4.  They are facing match point 4. We  lose the game badly at 21/4. That's the end of the tournament for Jaz and Amos. Hopefully this experience will teach them for the future.

Tyz and Xiang are next in the same court playing Japan's Chikugo and Honda.

Hopefully this will be a better match.  Aus lose the first 2 points. They then draw. They lose 2 points in a row.  Tyz is jump smashing well. The score is now 5/4 in Japan' favour. Aus is now down 11/5 after a few simple errors.

Tyz and Xiang need to play faster and harder.  They get to 8/11. Now down 15/8.  Japan gets to 17/9.

We get a pt back but there is a 7 pt deficit.  They reduce it to 5 pts and then 4.  Now down 19/13.

Japan reaches game pt and win the first set at 20/13.

Aus is down 5/3. we get back to 8/6. Both are drawn at 8. Aus gets to 11 first. We still lead 11/13.  Aus gets a good rally and point. Aus leads 15/13. Now leading 16/14 but Japan gets back a pt to reduce the score. Japan gets to 13/15.  We are at 17/19.  Aus gets to game point. Tyz gets a good shot for a 3rd set. He is hyped up.

They are at 4/4. Now trailing at 6/4. Suddenly they are down 8/4. They lose 6 pts in a row before getting 1 to 5/10.  They get another point. They reduce a further pt. Japan gets to 11/7.  Japan extends the lead. We get  1 pt to 9/14. Japan gets to 17/10 when Xiang dives but cannot get the shot. Tyz does a flick serve to get another pt. Japan gets to match point 12. Japan wins the 3rd set after Aus gave everything they had.  The boys gave everything they had. Xiang's parents will be proud of him. I am certainly proud of how Tyz fought all the way. He will be disappointed that the tournament has ended for him. Both Xiang and Tyz will have learned lots from this tournament.

HD and Justin are playing Malaysia's Tan and Ooi.  HD just got a pt with a tumble drop. Msia gets to 11 first but I cannot hear the score. I think Msia wins the first set. I am not sure what is happening with HD and Justin as I am engrossed in Tyz and Xiang's game. Msia gets to match point. They win the 2nd set. The final score was 21/7 and 21/8. That's the end of the tournament for Justin too and he has performed well in his first international. HD still has his singles tomorrow and hopefully he continues his good performance.

Gee, it is difficult blogging with 2 games going on at the same time.