My Badminton and Life Blog

My Badminton and Life Blog

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.