My Badminton and Life Blog

My Badminton and Life Blog

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

Thursday, October 24, 2013

New Zealand Grand Prix

It has been a long time since I have posted here. I simply didn't have any time to do that. I know it's not an excuse though when I'm going non stop and out of the house from 8am to 10pm any free time I have I just want to lay around and do nothing. So here are some long overdue updates and entries. Better late than never right.

The first half of the year saw me  making a trip out to the oceanic region for some tournaments. Two to be exact back to back, New Zealand GP (April 10-14) and Tahiti International Challenge (April 18-21). I was going to go to the Australia Grand Prix Gold the week before but was not able to because of school commitments. So these two would have to suffice, not to mention I would be missing all my final exams and a major presentation which I did present via Skype in Tahiti with the beach as my backdrop. I also did 2 finals while i was away and had to email them into the professors.

So the trip started off with me leaving Calgary and heading to Vancouver to catch my flight to Auckland, New Zealand the host city for the tournament. I was excited and it was also my 1st time flying Air New Zealand. They were a nice airline and I was lucky in a way to have lots of leg room on the flight :P after 14 hours and crossing the dateline I touched down in Auckland around 5am in the morning a day later. It was such a surreal experience as it is every time I travel just leaving and landing in a new country in this case on the other side of the world almost. So it was super early and I needed to get to my hotel which was a fancy hotel attached to one of the focal points of Auckland, the sky tower. My hotel was the sky city hotel right in the heart of downtown Auckland and was simply amazing.

Sky Tower in Downtown Auckland
After arriving and checking in (had to wait 2 hours for my room cause it was so early >.<). I took a nice long overdue nap and then woke up to go find some lunch and explore the city. It was awesome to be walking the streets of such a nice busy city. Sunny and hot was a pleasant change from the winter that was happening back home in Calgary. I found a nice little food court which had lots of different foods from Asia. I love Asian food so of course this was the logical place for me to eat. After some exploring and walking around I needed to head back to the technical meeting and then off to the tournament venue to get a hit in during practice sessions.

The venue was nice it was an actual stadium with 4 courts set up as well as another 4 practice courts tucked away against the wall. The tournament was sponsored by a brand I had never heard of before Xtream which seemed to have lots of flashy clothing, shoes, bags, and racquets. The shuttles that we used were decent though and definitely not the worst I've played with but not the best either. I checked in with the tournament and was greeted with a nice welcome bag that had lots of goodies in it. Afterwards I was lucky to randomly met up with one of my friends from the Australian national team who was also playing the tournament and was able to have a hit with him and some of his teammates.

Lucky for me my world ranking  was high enough to secure me a spot in the main draw so I didn't have to qualify. My match day came around and I was playing a guy from Malaysia, Jiann Shiarng Chiang. He beat me fairly handily, it was quite an experience and taught me quite a bit. So at that point I was knocked out of the tournament as I was just playing singles. That meant that I had 4 more days in Auckland to enjoy the city before I flew out to Tahiti for the tournament there.

I spend the next few days exploring and seeing all that I could see in Auckland. There was a giant park with a museum not to far from me (15-20 minute walk) so I went there and looked around it was an amazing place. Had the cultural history of new Zealand and surrounding area/islands as well was a military and general museum too. Walking through there took the better part of 5 hours, there was just so much to see. Another day I went down to the water front and walked around there, it was nice to see all the yachts and boats that would enter and exit the docks. There was a lot of public art and some nice little restaurants to try as well. The downside was that it wasn't the sunniest of days and actually started to rain later on which cut my exploring a little short and made me run to a nearby food court to grab some food and escape the rain.

Seeing as the tournament hotel was attached to the sky tower, in our welcome package there was a free ticket to go up to the sky tower and look around. I choose the right day to do that as it was sunny and clear out so could see for miles. It allowed for a great view of Auckland being able to see for miles in every direction. Standing up there and looking out I still wasn't able to fully comprehend that I was on the other side of the world when a few days prior I was in Calgary attended university classes. My last full day in Auckland had come and I spent the first half of the day walking around a bit more and checking out shops, restaurants, parks, galleries, etc. That's one thing about me I love nature and being in a great park, the trees in New Zealand are by far some of my favorite from around the world. In the evening I went to the tournament hall to watch the finals, the venue was packed as there were many high level matches being played. The men's singles final was one of the best and featured a qualifier from China who just a week prior was in the final of the Australian Open and now again in the finals against a fellow Chinese player.

After the match I went back to my hotel room and finished packing. Did one last workout in the gym at the hotel then ate a snack and went to sleep. I had to be up by 5am as I had a 6am departure from the hotel to the airport with the entire Thailand team. There was around 20+ of them so there was 2 big vans carrying us all to the airport. Upon arriving at the airport I found my check in area and proceeded to check in for my flight to Tahiti. All in all it was a fun tournament in Auckland, New Zealand. I may have gotten beat on court but had fun seeing the sights and eating the food of New Zealand. The next part of my tournament trip would be quite the unexpected surprise though. There was lots that I didn't get to see or do while there which would definitely warrant another trip back, maybe next year for the same tournament. Unfortunately there isn't a 2014 Tahiti, French Polynesia international :/ kinda disappointing but will make due. 

Monday, June 17, 2013


Heartachs, heartbreaks, soreness, and pains. Summer is not ment to be a time like this.

Sunday, January 27, 2013


I cant believe the weekend is done already, I wasn’t able to do anything really. My weekend didn’t start until 7pm on Sunday night and just like that its over already as I get ready for bed and the start of the week tomorrow. 
Friday: 7am wake up and then get home at 11pm
School: 3 hours, training (on court, weights, fitness): 4 hours, coaching: 4 hours
Saturday: 7am up and then get home at 11pm
Coaching: 8 hours, training (on court, fitness): 5 hours
Sunday: 8am up and then get home at 7pm
Coaching: 4 hours, training (on court, weights): 3 hours
And its back to the grind tomorrow with days that are just as long as that, no rest for the weary. To be the best have to work hard but also work smart and rest is key (I will get a rest day soon), only 4 more years.