So because I choose to go to Mauritius I decided to skip the US Open this year which is a tournament I have attended for the past 5 consecutive years. This meant that after coming back from Mauritius I had just a week to prepare for the 2015 Canada Open which would be in my home city of Calgary, Alberta. That was a nice change meaning that I wouldn’t have to fly anywhere, or stay in a hotel, I would be at home. The venue for the tournament would be up at Canada Olympic Park in the Markin MacPhail center where the hockey arenas are located. Over the past few years the tournament was held in Vancouver notably at the Richmond Olympic Oval (home of the 2010 winter Olympics) and then moved over to the UBC Thunderbird arena for one year before getting moved to Calgary. This time Jeff Bell, Badminton Alberta’s director and my boss would be in charge of setting up and he did a fantastic job on the arena turning it into a world class venue for badminton. Another major perk was that Lee Chong Wei would be coming to participate due to his ban for 8 months and being in need of points.
|Canada Olympic Park|
The draws were released and I had a tough one right off the bat. The previous edition of the tournament in 2014 I made it to the 2nd round and lost to a player from Korea. This year I would play a player from China named Huang Yuxiang first round. I wasn’t afraid and was excited to go out there and give it my all, especially with having everybody there to watch me. This meant getting some practice time at the facility first though. So I was able to get some court time with a Lithuanian player and a Jamaican player who would both end up becoming great friends. So we got to practice 2 days in a row at the facility which helped and I felt really solid playing there.
|Practicing with Lithuania and Jamaica|
|Japan and Chinese Taipei practicing|
The facility was is located on the opposite side of the city from where I am but my dad decided to come watch me play which was really nice. My mom had the opportunity back in March to watch me win my first national title at the Trinidad and Tobago National Championships so maybe having my dad come watch me for the first time would be good luck. The tournament got underway and my match was one of the first one up unfortunately. The reason to that was because it meant not a lot of people would be off work in time to come watch but there was a decent amount of people in the arena. My match was called and as a first I had Kamasha Robertson umpire my match, she is a player/umpire from Trinidad and Tobago so that was different having her umpire my game at Canada Open. The match started and I had my coach Ardy Wiranata sitting behind my court, my dad in the stands as well as kids that I coach and their parents all watching me. That match was one of the toughest I have ever played. The caliber of this Chinese player was miles above me, I wasn’t able to move him as easily and winning at the net proved to be a lot tougher than I previously anticipated it to be. In the end the score was low a mean 3-21, 7-21 but the quality of the game was different.
Ardy talked with me quickly and then I saw my dad before he left, I was going to stay and watch some more matches because a lot of my friends still had to play and so did Lee Chong Wei. There were some good matches on for the rest of the night and a few upsets happened through the tournament. Canada Open was the last tournament I would play before heading off to Pan Am Games beginning of July. That being said I was incredibly busy coaching and would not have much time to watch the rest of the tournament. I went to see the semifinals on the Saturday evening after coaching which turned out to be pretty good but ultimately that was the Canada open for me. A quick match against China and early exit in front of a home crowd, no second round like at the 2014 edition of Canada Open where I beat a Canadian player and then lost to a Korean.
So that was a very quick entry not much else to say, I didn’t have to travel to an international for once in my life, I got to stay at home in my own bed, eat my own food and be in my own city. It was quite the different experience but I did enjoy it. Well it was back to the grind come the Monday morning, only a week until I would leave again and I had to coach an all-day badminton camp as well which would cut into training times. Next stop though, Pan Am Games…the biggest tournament I would play to date.
|Always focused on the task at hand...and damn those quads|