Men's Singles: 2012 Osaka International Challenge

Men's Singles: 2012 Osaka International Challenge

Friday, March 7, 2014

Badminton Interview

Here is the video of a recent interview that was done about me and my Olympic dreams as an international badminton player and as a coach. Check it out and let me know what you think.

Reporters website:

Friday, February 21, 2014

2013 Brazil international challenge

Summer saw me play quite a few international tournaments bringing the total for the year up to 5. For august and September though I didn't play any just kept training hard and working on what I needed to. Then October rolled around and that saw me entered into the Brazil international challenge in Sao Paulo. I was pretty excited to head down south for the tournament as it was a while since I went to south America. The trip was once again in the middle of my school semester. This was however my last semester and I was in the process of completing my final 4 classes all of which were senior level (1 300 level, 2 400 level, and 1 500 level) options. So once again I would be missing about a week of school in the pursuit of badminton. So I booked my flights and told my professors I'd be gone, they were all very understanding and wishing me the best of luck. Told my group members that I would be gone those weeks and they said we would figure things out which I felt bad about because the group would end up doing a little more work in my absence.

The time came to head down to Brazil and that morning it had yet to set in that I would be flying all the way down to South America. The year had already been so eventful in terms of countries visited that to travel again was and is just a normal part of life right now. I boarded the flight to Toronto and finally when I got onto the plane in Toronto did I get my first tingle of excitement that soon id be in another country after a 11 hour flight. Everything finally sunk in when I arrived in Sao Paulo and was being driven from the airport to the hotel. That same surreal feeling of just 15 hours ago I was in Calgary and now I'm on the opposite side of the earth in the southern hemisphere. I and my friend Howard Shu of the USA were sharing a hotel for the tournament. Another friend Sujay Karve of USA was also there and staying at a hostel. There were many friends that I had playing this tournament as well I made a lot of new ones too.

Our pad for the week

All the beds in Brazil are super small
So upon getting there me and Sujay went to the tournament hall to get in some practice, Howard would be arriving the following day. The hall wasn't bad, classic stadium look. This time though it was located in a club called Club Athlético Paulistano which is the most expensive and exclusive private club in Sao Paulo. The Glencoe club where I train in Calgary is nothing compared to this place in Brazil. We got in a good hit and some singles games as well as played some doubles with other players. That was the moment me and Sujay said that if we attend tournaments together we will play doubles as a partnership for more matches but also to see what we can do. The tournament didn't start for another day so the following day went back to the hall to practice yet again this time had some matches with players from chili and the Belgium seeded player. They were all really nice and got in a good amount of practice that I felt good.

Tournament Hall
Matches underway
So the tournament day rolled around and started with qualification, thankfully my world ranking was high enough that I didn't have to qualify. Sujay on the other hand wasn't so lucky and had to qualify and unfortunately lost his first match. My turn came and I had to play one of the junior players. For some reason I was a little nervous during the match. I lost the first game 18-21 after being down a huge amount from making a lot of unforced errors early in the game. But come the 2nd game I felt more comfortable and figured out how to play. The score was still really close at me winning 23-21. Then came the third game and that's where I just ran away with it. I had a big lead and he made a brief comeback but I felt a lot better playing at that time and closed it out 21-18. I also had the help of Matthew Forgety who coached me during the 2nd and part of the 3rd game as well, he helped to calm me and to focus. So I had won my 1st round at the tournament and with that came a nice set of world ranking points too. My next round wouldn't be an easy one and consisted of the 1st seed Sattawat Pongnairat of the USA. 

That night we went exploring a little bit walking out to the main Avenue and browsing around a mall there to see what they had. The location was nice and got to see some cool things. There was a gigantic radio tower which was covered with lights and could be seen miles away, luckily it was super close to where we were walking and got to check it out along with some interesting graffiti that was painted on an underpass.

This place was packed to eat at
Some of the tons of graffiti around the city
Some of the tons of graffiti around the city
Antenna tower lit up
It felt great to win a match at a tournament again since the last one I had won was back in Tahiti. The next morning rolled around and I played my match against Sattawat, which was a tough one. He was hands down more powerful than me and more explosive, I fought hard and was able to keep up and put him under pressure but couldn't finish the rallies so that was my ultimate downfall. It was great to play him and overall I was happy with the experience, he beat me 21-7, 21-7. So I had been knocked out if the tournament and had just that day and the following day before flying back to Canada and school which I had once again taken time off for.

After my match I went exploring and ventured over to a large park in the city, it was a wonderful location with museums and lots of flora/fauna around. Some monuments were present and the walk over was a nice one although at times the weather was not looking the most pleasant it luckily didn't rain on me while I was out. After exploring went to my favorite sandwich shop and grabbed lunch. The street that our hotel was on consisted of the ritzy shopping area which had all the expensive boutiques around so there was always people walking the street shopping, not to mention a great amount of eye candy haha. 
Awesome huge monument

Awesome Fountain 

View of the city from the park
So that night I and Sujay decided to go out for a night on the town because I left the following day, and that's where the real adventure starts. We started by going down their main Avenue and were looking for a bar or club to go out to and celebrate. We found nothing there and we were about to give up then came across a Starbucks and decided to go in and ask somebody if they knew a place. The barista there told us about some places and one of the names of the club was "Gloria" that's the 1st hint, turns out that was a gay club and we got the hell out of there as quick as we could. Down the street from that was an actual club with great music and a fun environment so we spent the night there partying with the locals. Made some friends with the few girls that spoke a large amount of English and had a fun night overall. We finished partying around 5am and made our way back to the hotel.

The actual club that we went to which was awesome
This was my final day in Sao Paulo and my flight back to Canada and Calgary would depart at 7pm that night. So I got up around 10 and finished packing what little things needed to be, checked out and put my bags in storage as my ride to the airport wasn't till 3pm. So I walked around and had some lunch, did some shopping and then finally Sujay woke up (he was staying at a different hotel) so we met up and grabbed a late lunch. Over lunch we talked about another tournament for the year and started looking into planning for Macau Open grand prix gold tournament in November. I got dropped off at the airport and then had some time to kill in the lounge. My trip to Sao Paulo had come to an end and I was satisfied with the experience winning a match then played 1st seed.

Heading home would be a long flight but an upgrade to executive class would make things more bearable. After the long ordeal I arrived back in Calgary and had to finish off some school work before returning to class Monday morning. Overall it was worth the trip down south and I can't wait to return to Brazil again in the future. 

Panorama of the lake and the city in the background, beautiful place

Thursday, February 6, 2014

2013 Canada Open Grand Prix

Following the US Open we flew over to Vancouver, Canada for the 2013 Canada Open, this would be my 3rd Canada Open as I skipped one year for a reason I cannot remember. But this time with the company of my fellow Trinidad player it would be the biggest contingency of Trinidad tournament 2. Since we would be in Vancouver for a while we decided to rent a condo and share with some friends from Edmonton that were coming.down for the tournament as well. We would arrive 2 days before the rest of them so have us some time to settle in.

Upon arrival to Vancouver we made our way over to the condo.which was quite the walk with luggage and badminton bags in the hot sun. Being in Richmond we got.our fair share of looks from people. The condo was pretty big, 2 bedrooms and 2 full bathrooms. It would be housing 5 of us in total most of the time (7 for 1 night and 6 for the last night). The only downside was that it was quite the walking.distance into Richmond proper and to the Olympic oval where the tournament was being held. At least it was warm and didn't rain while we were there.

Own bed/room, not to shabby

So the 1st task upon arrival was to get some food and stuff from the supermarket so we could cook meals at the condo. Upon completion of that we had a little bit of time to kill before heading out that night to have a hit with some of my friends from Richmond. That made for some decent warm up practice and.getting use to how the shuttles fly in Vancouver as it's different than where I train in Calgary. So we did that and played with my friends group at one of the local clubs. The Olympic oval wouldn't be set up for the tournament for another 2 days so we were unable to practice there. The night wasn't bad, met some new people and got some good practice in. Then came the long walk back to the condo. It wasn't terrible and if you walked decently fast would only take 15-20 minutes. The next day came and we once again had the condo all to ourselves. The day consisted of.more of the same a little exploring but then practice that night again. The following day the other 3 people would arrive and the condo would be packed.

Richmond Olympic Oval

The next day came and the others arrived, that night we went down to the oval and we're able to get some practice on the courts as they were just setting them up at that time. There was still another day until the tournament was to start. So the following day we got to practice two times, once in the morning and then again that night. The night session team Japan was there practicing and had almost all the courts but they were kind enough to let us use one. The tournament day had rolled around and in the morning it started with qualification events. I was fortunate enough to not have to qualify for this tournament and was in the main draw for singles, doubles and mixed matches. My partner from Trinidad wasn't as lucky and had to qualify for his singles. He played one of the guys from my friends group and was unable to win so was knocked out of the singles events.

Practice Session
The evening came and 1st round main draw matches rolled around. I was playing Toby Ng of Canada in the singles and it wasn't pretty or as close as my match the week before at US Open. I was able to put some pressure on him and run him around but all in all just unable to keep the pressure and win the points. Toby is a fantastic player who while primarily a mixed specialist can adapt to the other games very well. It was a good experience as always, but just kept showing me that I am not up to those players level. Doubles saw me play Toby again and his partner Jacky Ruan who came to Canada from China. That match can only be summed up by the statement "complete gong show". I am by no means a doubles player. Provincially in Alberta I can hold my own and make semifinals in doubles but come internationally that is a completely different story. Mixed.was more of the same and saw me play yet another Canadian pair making all 3 matches I played against Canadian players.

So the tournament had come to an end, another disappointing performance, coming so close at US Open and then shitting the bed to put it eloquently at Canada Open. I was still sticking around for another 4 days to spend with friends and enjoy a little vacation. All this while attending 2 summer courses which I had papers and a presentation to do. So upon the end of my matches I had to start and finish a paper for a 500 level class I was taking as well as write another paper for a 300 level class. Little to say I procrastinated and did them both the day before they were due, emailing them in just before the deadline. Once those were done I could enjoy the rest of my trip relatively stress free.

I have been to Vancouver many times before so have explored a lot of stuff. One of my.favorite places is Stanley park and.the sea walk where it's just peaceful and nice. I ended up heading into downtown Vancouver to meet up and catch up with one of my best friends who I've known since elementary school. Iris and me walked about and had some dessert (yes I do eat junk food). Did a little bit of shopping and then went our separate ways. That night just as with every other night I ended up going to play badminton with my friends who I don't get to see otherwise. So the tournament itself was coming to an end and there was a huge group of players going out clubbing. My roommate invited me to go but last minute I canceled on them because I didn't feel like going out to party I wanted to spend time with my friends and play some badminton. I had already partied a lot for the summer and just wasn't in the mood. To say the least she was super pissed and I had 1 more day there she didn't speak to me at all for canceling on her. To this day (over 6 months later as I'm writing this) she hasn't spoken to me because of that.

"Free Willy" the 1st thing that comes to mind

Such a peaceful and beautiful place to walk/run

Yum dessert with Iris

Olympic Monument 

My time in Vancouver had come to an end and the summer tour had finished. All in all it was a great experience with some close matches and lessons learned on court. I would return to training soon and do what I could to improve the weak areas of my game. Then would start planning out the end of the year tournaments that I wanted to attend. Flying home felt nice, I was gone for 2 and a half weeks at that point. The day after I arrived home though I would step back into summer classes. So my summer was am eventful one, playing 3 tournaments (be them relatively local) as well as taking a full spring.and summer course load because I wanted to graduate by the end of 2013. All that I had left for courses was 10 options since I did all my core requirements. At this point I was right on track and.would finish off the year taking a block week course and then my final 3 classes during the fall semester to finish off my degree requirements by December. *spoiler* I did it and graduated with my degrees. 

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

2013 US Open Grand Prix Gold

The month of July saw me go back to Orange County in/outside of LA for the US Open tournament. This would be the 4th consecutive year that I had played the tournament. Some big names were on the list Lin Dan of China was signed up bit withdrew before the final withdrawal deadline. Tien Minh Nguyen was one of the top seeds at the tournament and would end up winning it. The difference this time is that I wouldn't be traveling down there alone. A fellow countryman from Trinidad and Tobago would be accompanying me to both this tournament and to the Canada Open the week after. He was a junior from Trinidad and we were going to play doubles together as well as both being entered into the singles draw. Then for doubles we were in qualification since we have never played together at an international before.

OCBC, The US Open Tournament Venue
So the day came and I flew down to LAX then awaited pickup to begin the long drive to Orange County in Anaheim where the tournament was being held at Orange County Badminton Club (OCBC). It was decently early in the day so I had a good amount of time to browse around and relax. The tournament didn't start for another 2 days which would leave the following day for practice and then the subsequent day for matches. I was in main draw for singles for the 2nd consecutive year which was nice. Jason however was in qualification and was playing a Canadian player for a spot in the main draw. We were able to get in 2 sessions of hitting in the main venue, one in the morning and then a following one that night. The following morning saw the qualification matches roll around. Jason played his singles against the Canadian and unfortunately didn't make it to main draw after a hard fought battle. Doubles qualification was tough as we had to play a pair from China who in all honesty didn't have to try hard to beat us. That was the end of qualifications and I had a little bit of time to kill before the main draw singles matches started that night.

Fast forward to around 6pm that night and main draw started with some great matches. My match came up and I was playing a doubles player from USA. That was quite the match. I ended up winning the 1st game in a close fight after running him to the ground but then he changed his strategy in the 2nd game and I made a ton of mistakes. So it went to the decider, he was up very quickly and it was a huge seemingly impossible gap to come back. But I was able to come back from 9 points down and tie the game at 17-17 unfortunately for me some quick net rolls and huge smashes worked to his advantage and I lost the match in 3. Playing against a doubles player is always something I hated to do, they love to play fast and flat where as I'm not against that but I like to slow things down and run my opponent around to use my fitness. When I was able to do that to this player oh could you ever see how tired he was getting. He had a hammer through and would punish me for any short lift or lose shot, which is where he won his points. My weakest part has always been consistency and strategy; I don't always play the right shots or hesitate and play something I shouldn't.

Part 1 of the match

Part 2, the comeback in the 3rd game got cut off =(

It was a great battle and he was a good player, I am mad that I lost can't believe the simple mistakes that I made. But it was a learning experience and I could just train/work on what needed to be worked on. So that saw the end of the tournament for me. I was mad but happy at the same time because of the great match that I had, would have been so much nicer to male it to the 2nd round and play Tien Minh Nguyen again. My best result at a US Open to date so close yet so far away at the same time.

With the end of the day came the end to both Jason and my time at the tournament. We were both heading up to Vancouver for the Canada Open and flying there directly from LA so had a few days to kill before flying out. We didn't get the chance to practice much because of the senior tournament which was using OCBC in the morning with the regular tournament wasn't happening. But the gym at the hotel made for something at least. It was nice to "relax" for a few days and do some shopping at the outlet mall beside the hotel. Catch a movie and soak up the sun. Unfortunately this meant that we didn't go very far from the hotel due to transportation, we walked around the immediate area and saw the crystal cathedral but that's about it. Not to mention I had to do some school work as I was enrolled in both spring and summer courses and of course missing 2 and a half weeks of summer semester which is already just 8 weeks long couldn't be a good thing. So I had some essays due when I got back.

Crystal Cathedral Church
That was the US Open in a nut shell, it's always a fantastic time but being my 4th time down there not much changed. The previous year my friend took me out to the aquarium and other areas to see so that was fun. The one thing I regret is that Disney land is right there in Anaheim it was super close to our hotel that there was even a shuttle bus going there. In all that time I have yet to go to the park and check it out, would have been fun to do with company there but oh well another time. The 2014 US Open will be held out in New York so that will be interesting and also on the other side of the country so even further for me to travel to it. Thankfully I have family there so I will be able to stay with them.

Could see the fireworks nightly from the hotel parking lot

So the end of the trip came and we headed to LAX to catch our flight to Vancouver for the last tournament of the summer for me, Canada Open. 

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

2013 Canadian/Ottawa international challenge

The month of June saw me head out to Ottawa, Canada for the 2013 Canadian international or also known as the Ottawa international. It was held at Carlton university in the athletics center and overall wasn't a bad location. I arrived into Ottawa very early in the morning 6am to be exact and collected my bags then proceeded to make my way by bus to the university campus where I was staying in the dorms. It was nice to be staying on the university camps and was cheap too which is always a benefit for a broke  athlete haha. The campus was nice and people were pretty friendly, all the players were staying on campus more or less minus those who lived in Ottawa. The campus Was pretty deserted but the tunnels had some cool paintings from the houses over years. That being said they were pretty sketchy at times and we dubbed them the "rape tunnels" because at 2am in the morning lets be honest it felt like that. 

My dorm for the few days

"rape tunnels"

more tunnels

Awesome 8-bit characters, can you guess who's who


This was going to be a super short trip with me spending just 4 days in Ottawa including the day I landed and the day I left. The 1st day upon arrival I had the whole day to kill and explore. Unfortunately I was unable to get any practice in at the tournament venue due to there being only 3 courts. I did go to see if anybody would be willing to have a hit but it wasn't my luck. For the rest of the first day I didn't do to much since I played early the next morning. The next day come around and I had my singles match at 10am so went to the cafeteria and had a nice breakfast. Walking into the gym it was pretty empty and a 3 court set up, instantly I could notice that they air conditioning hadn't been turned off meaning that there would be a draft in the venue. My match was against a Canadian junior and it was tough I ended up loosing. After having a great tournament in Tahiti making quarterfinals to lose 1st round at the same grade tournament was disappointing to say the least. I was leading through the greater majority if the 1st game but come the 2nd I wasn't able to adapt to the draft quick enough and that cost me some points. So afterwards there was some publicity that sparked things.

Tournament Hall

The player that I played was sponsored by a company called Li-Ning and I'm sponsored by Yonex. The Li-Ning website posted about all its players victories but that inevitably sparked some trouble with their choice of words.

After playing my match I had just the rest of that day, one full day and then half a day before I flew our of Ottawa and back home. The bad part was the day that I left Calgary there had been heavy rain.and the rivers that run through the city overflowed causing mass damage to any property and surrounding businesses/areas. I was fortunate enough that my house was not located anywhere near the flooded area, unfortunately some of my friends wernt so lucky. The next day came and I decided that I would go and see as many sights as I could. So I got up early and had a big breakfast preparing myself for a long day of walking. I started out by catching a bus downtown and making my way to the most prominent and famous building in Ottawa, the parliament building. It was Canada day long weekend coming up so they were already setting up the stage and barriers for the festivities which would happen. The historic buildings were fantastic though and I live architecture both old and modern. That's one thing which made the walk along the Ottawa river a beautiful stroll. So much so that I decided to come back later in the day for a run. Do after walking along the river and checking out some museums I went back into "downtown" to eat a late lunch. I found a really cool part of town and a nice little swharmma store to eat at. The food was great and the people very friendly not to mention that the atmosphere of the area was fantastic.

Parliament Building

Parliament Building

Alas I headed back to the university dorm and rested for a little bit allowing lunch to digest. Later in the evening I headed back downtown for a run by the river. That's where something funny happened. I was running on the path at a decent pace when I saw a dude run past and he did a double take. I assumed it was just cause of how quick I was running. Boy would I later find out that wasn't the only reason. When I run outside in the summer I tend to run shirtless cause of how hot it is and to usually try and even out whatever uneven tan I've gotten from my travels. All I hear in the background is "hey you, hey you fast guy slow down for a second" long story short he was gay and attracted to me >.< I wish I could say this is the 1st time something like this has happened but that's not the case. I've been hit on by my fair share of gay males. Anyways I explained to him I was straight and said I was flattered that he wanted to grab a drink later. He still persisted and said to come out anyways to enjoy my time here and he would bring some girls with him. He joined me to do some stairs and one if the ladies he was talking about also joined. We talked more and I was considering going out later after she convinced me some more. They were around my age and went to Carlton which wanna funny coincidence. So they picked me up from the dorms that night and we went out on the town, met more of their friends and overall had a great time.

Just like that my time in Ottawa had come to and end and I needed to catch my flight back to Calgary and the state of panic which was still happening in the city. It wasn't the best tournament considering I was just coming off making quarterfinals in Tahiti, I was very disappointed with my results there but not much I could do. Ottawa was and is a beautiful city right on the river and the architecture of the parliamentary building as well as.other buildings. It was summer when I was there and I fell in love with the outdoor scenery, I'm sure that in winter it is just as beautiful...when it's not freezing outside of course. Let's be honest Canadian winters can be hit or miss. Arriving back in Calgary  I'd return to training and prepare for the upcoming tournaments; US open and Canada Open.  

Saturday, December 28, 2013

2013 Tahiti International Challenge

So my adventures in Auckland, New Zealand had come to an end. I was sitting in the airport waiting to fly out to Tahiti. I was once again flying air New Zealand but this time I had the pleasure of flying on the hobbit plane haha. I also got bumped up into the economy plus section of the plane which was a nice addition but was only for a roughly 5 hour flight. The plane boarded and I was joined by some New Zealand and Australian badminton players who were also going to Tahiti for the tournament which was nice. 

The plane boarded and we were on our way, off to tropical paradise as I was thinking about it. Sun, warmth, crystal clear water oh boy was I ever looking forward to this trip and the tournament as well. The plane got closer and closer to Tahiti and then like a scene out of a movie the tropical island appeared quite literally out of the blue. It was light out and I was able to see the tropical paradise, the water was light blue thanks to the reefs that surrounded the island. It was a gonna be a great trip.

Air New Zealand and the Hobbit Airplane

Upon landing the heat hit and oh boy was it hot. Thankfully I wore some Capri's. Made my way through immigration which wasn't to bad but we (all the athletes) got a little snagged up there. Got the bags and proceeded out. The tournament organizers greeted us with open arms and a lay of flowers. We waited for everyone who came for the tournament to come out and took a group picture which was a really nice addition.

I got Laid 

All of us came on the same flight, Australia, New Zealand, England, and yours truly Trinidad and Tobago

For the 1st night I stayed in a super fancy 5 star hotel/resort because I needed reliable internet and all to submit a final, write a final, and be available via Skype to do a group presentation back in Calgary for a class that I was in. Needless to say all of those went smashing, everyone viewing the presentation probably hated me due to the backdrop that I choose (overlooking the blue waters). After that though I moved to the university residence because well let's be honest it was way way cheaper and I wasn't gonna be spending much time in the hotel anyways. I ended up sharing the room with a great guy from India, Aditya, we hit it off and were friends instantly pretty much but he didn't come till a day later so I had the room to myself for 1 and a half days.

The day That I moved to the university residence I was able to go up to the tournament hall and have a hit with the new Zealand and England players who were there. Tracy Hellmann was among them who use to be a top ranking player back in the day, she was playing the tournament. It was hot there took a little getting use to the venue, they didn't have any court mats set up yet as the tournament wasn't to start for another 3 days. The locals were super friendly and incredibly welcoming. After practicing one gentleman took me out to get Chinese food with him and his son. It was great food and hit the spot after 2 hours of practice in the heat.

The following day saw our little excursion. The tournament had organized for the players (those who wanted to) to take a boat trip to an island. We left early in the morning around 6am when the sun was just coming up on a catamaran towards Tetiaroa which was about a 3 hour sail away. On the way it was amazing watching the sun rise from the boat and seeing dolphins swimming through the water. Its at that moment everything hit me im on a boat x amount of miles from home in the middle of the ocean sailing to an island in tropical paradise. At that moment I had the weirdest sense of accomplishment and tranquility I could think of. I slept for a bit of the boat ride and got splashed with waves most of the way haha but it was nice to work on the tan and relax for a change. I made friends with the other badminton players who were on the trip there was a player from France, the Australians, and New Zealanders as well as a few just tourists that booked the excursion for the day. As we got closer to the 3 hour sailing time the island started to appear but this time the view wasn't from the air it was sea level. As we got closer the outline of the reef started to show and tropical paradise appeared. The surrealness of the events had hit me fully at this point. I was enjoying myself like I never had before while on tour, I was actually relaxing.

I'm on a boat

Lots of dolphins in the water

Upon getting to the reef we had to take the dingy (small inflated boat) to get to the island and that involved some maneuvering and jumping of the reef. There was lots of screaming from the girls to say the least :P upon making landfall we set up the base camp where we would come back to for lunch. The tour was run by a lovely couple and the husband stayed behind on the beach to prepare our meal when we returned from exploring. Taking what we needed we set of on a track around the island. It was breathtakingly beautiful, the crystal clear water, sun and both flora and fona. There were some storm clouds in the distance as it looked like a storm would approach soon but that didn't stop us. 

The walk started and everything was picture perfect. Hard to believe a place so beautiful laid uninhabited in the middle of the ocean. We walked then stopped and took a dip in the ocean, the water was warm despite the impending rainstorm that was coming. Only it held out and didn't hit quite as yet, the sky brightened up again and we were on our way. Another stop but this time it was to observe the locals of the island, this island was sanctuary for dozens of species of birds. After that stop the next one was for another sea bath and it was great. Continuing on the rain finally found us and unleashed its furry, the tide rose and the path that we walked across between two of the islands was now underwater so we had to do a little swimming to make it back over to where we started. making it back to base camp the rain subsided and we were greeted with the pleasant aroma of lunch. After spending the time eating we were allowed to go and explore the island (only the beach, we were not allowed to venture into the interior) for a few hours before setting sail back to Tahiti. There were lots of fish in the reef as well as crabs of all species to be amused by. With the sun setting the journey back was accompanied by a long nap on the boat which made the trip back seem substantially shorter. Upon reaching Tahiti the sun had just set and it was getting dark, I got a ride back to the university residence and grabbed some dinner.

Paradise and clear blue water

Tons of fish, they would come eat bread right out of your hand

This shy little guy

One of the amazing aspects was that night I ventured out to the main building searching for some food. And in the night sky an arm of the milky way was visible, the sheer amount of stars that could be seen was amazing. An attempt to take a long exposure photograph yielded some of the stars but there was about 5-10 times more visible. It was a beautiful sight and I stood out there probably for around 15-20 minutes just basking in its glory.

Picture doesn't do justice, easily hundreds more stars visible

The next day saw the arrival of my room mate and was the day before the tournament was to start. We went and had a hit at the tournament facility with the court mats all laid out. There were 3 tournament hotels which had a shuttle provided between all of them to the tournament hall and back. Turns out that shuttle was a rickety old bus that looked as if it would fall apart at any minute. That being said it got us from A to B countless times with all the hills and turns in between. There was an opening ceremony that happened and that was an elaborate opening there was dancers who did the native dance of Tahiti. I recorded it with my phone but my phone met an untimely end that trip when it hit the floor and the screen shattered. I was unable to unlock my phone and upload or transfer pictures/video so that was what really made me mad about it. I should have taken my actual camera to record the dance =/ oh well live and learn I still have the memory of it. We got a gift bag and were each brought out with an introduction of name and country, I got to dance with the Tahiti girls who were ushering us in and it was fun. 

All the Athletes lined up at opening ceremonies

The tournament started and it was a round of 32 size international challenge. I played a local Tahiti player first round he was one of the top players down there. The 1st game wasn't to bad but then come the 2nd a draft had occurred in the arena and messed me up a little bit. None the less I won 21-16, 23-21. I had made it to the 2nd round and was about to play the 1st seed Kevin cordon of Guatemala but something had happened and he had been injured (blew out his knee) the week before at the Peru international so he withdrew from the tournament. Instead I played a player from the USA; Ryan Chew. The match went fairly smoothly and I won 21-11, 21-10. I had made it to the quarterfinals of an international tournament this was huge for me as nothing like that has every happened before. Let alone at a tournament graded as an international challenge. That meant that I would get a ton of world ranking points, 2200 to be exact, and also won some money. This also meant that I had to change all my flights cause I hadn't anticipated reaching that far, that caused some trouble but in the end got it all done with as few problems as possible.

Tournament Hall, 4 courts and was nice to play in

I had to play my quarterfinal match the following morning against a player from France named Matthieu Lo Ying Ping who was 3rd seed. He was a left hander and was one tough player to play. The first game saw mw struggling hard to figure things out but the 2nd game I was able to figure out how to play him and caused him some trouble. In the end though he beat me fairly handily 2-21, 12-21. So my tournament had come to and end but I was super happy with how things went. I still had a day and a half left there so I was able to watch the semifinals and the finals the following day before heading off to the airport. I was ecstatic for reaching so far in the tournament it was an amazing result for me and at the same time motivated me to keep pushing hard. Seeing results was a nice confidence booster, little did I know this would happen more through the year.

Tahiti International Challenge Men's Singles Draw

One of the funny and first's ever happened to me at the Tahiti international. There was tons of kids and adults watching and I had never signed an autograph before in my life until that day. I signed so many kids would just swarm me (and other players) after our matches. Took pictures with fans both young and old. During my matches players had whole sections of the bleachers cheering for them while the other side was cheering for the opposition. 

These Tahitian girls followed me around the entire tournament, they were nice to talk to

It was a great environment and a fantastic tournament to play, I am truly grateful that went out to play in both the tournaments. Made new friends, saw new countries and experienced some wonderful achievements. Alas my time in Tahiti had come to an end and I had to leave the tropical paradise. I got to watch the finals and then right after that headed off to the airport with the Australian national team to make my way back to New Zealand where I would catch my flight back to Canada the following day. I was sad to go but so happy at the same time, I had been away from home for almost 2 and a half weeks, not to mention missing that same amount of time from school. The journey was coming to an end just a few more flights to take and I arrived back home to Calgary. No matter how many times I leave and where I go, Calgary will always be my home. 

Aditya, Me, and Teshana

Getting ready to leave

Bye Bye Tahiti, until next time