Issue #9 September 2011
2011 YONEX/OCBC SENIOR CHAMPIONSHIPS DRAW BIG ENTRY!
By Mary Ann Bowles
One-hundred thirty players from Australia, Canada, China, England, India, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, and the USA flocked to the OCBC July 15-17 to play in the 2011 Yonex/OCBC Senior Championships. Many of the players checked in earlier in the week to enjoy the spirited competition at the 2011 Yonex/OCBC U.S. Open Grand Prix Gold Badminton Championships which runs all week. With $120,000 in prize purse and Olympic BWF ranking points on the line, no one was disappointed to see the world-class players on court. In fact, one of the six senior courts was reserved for team practices on Friday and Saturday, giving senior players a good look at some of the training these international players go through daily to keep them sharp.
Play commenced on Friday from 9-4, continued on Saturday from 9-4, and finished up on Sunday. The Yonex/OCBC Senior International is the only tournament in the U.S. to offer a combined age doubles format. Instead of events based on an individual’s age, the ages of the doubles team members are added together to qualify them for an event. Men’s doubles, women’s doubles, and mixed doubles all compete under this format in 80+, 90+, 100+, 110+, 120+, and 130+ age divisions. Singles competition retains the regular tournament format. Singles divisions are offered to players who are 40+, 45+, 50+, 55+, 60+, and 65+ ages. This tournament held play in 25 different events.
Gold medal winners receive medals and names are engraved on handsome perpetual trophies. Gold medal winners included: 40MS, Kiam Meng Tey; 45MS, Jariwast Teerachai (Thailand); 50MS, Tom Goh; 55MS, Imre Bereknyei; 60MS, Bob Cook; and 65 MS, Seri Chintanaseri (Thailand); 40WS, Lisa Campbell (Australia); 50 and 60WS, Intan Tee; 80MD, Budy Sumarli/Kiam Meng Tey; 90MD, Muqeet Rana (Australia) /Tariq Wadood; 100MD, Guy Chadwick/Tariq Wadood; 110MD, Curt Dommeyer/Tariq Wadood; 120 MD, John Chan/Joseph Tok; 130MD, Bob Cook/Curt Dommeyer; 80WD, Lisa Campbell/Joy Kitzmiller; 90 and 100WD, Jian-Ping Chan/Bin Lin (China); 110 and 120WD, Mary Ann Bowles/Andrea Weiss; 80XD, Toru Takayanagi/Ying-Fang Lai; 90XD, Joseph Tok/Lina Taft; 110XD, Henry Paynter (Canada)/Wendy Carter; 120XD, Curt/Sue Dommeyer; and 130XD, Robin Lyons/Judy Gray.
Congratulations to stellar winners who collected numerous medals with their outstanding play:
Thanks to all the players who filled the courts for three days of hot and spirited play. Many thanks to all who assisted with the tournament including Bob Cook, Ana Cook, Dudley Chen, Terry Lira, Dave Carton, Carol Bryan, Don Chew, Kim Chew, Montri Chew, Gus Chew, Tim Mangkalakiri, Noi Mangkalakiri, Cai Zi Min, Paisan Rangsikitpho, Yonex USA, K&D Graphics, the OCBC, the USBDF, USA Badminton, and all those who served as volunteer umpires and line judges. It was good to see Paisan, Lee Calvert, and Don Chew on hand though sidelined with health issues, and we hope to see you on court next year.
If you haven’t played in this senior tournament, you should give some thought to next year’s competition. Come to watch the U.S. Open-the level of play is amazing! And join the senior players on court for three days of good exercise and hard-fought battles for titles-you will be glad you did!
FOOD FOR THOUGHT ON THE 2011 SENIOR NATIONALS IN NORTH CAROLINA
By Paul Knechtel
NC Badminton (NCBC) has been asked to document our planning and implementation for the 2011 Senior Nationals held in March in the Raleigh/Durham area of North Carolina:
1. 8 courts with mostly dark walls and high ceilings
2. A 3 day event decreases cost and decreases the temptation of potential ‘medal enthusiasts’ to play too many events
3. Excellent Tournament Software support staff and a top notch draw desk team. Thank you, Bob Cook, Dudley Chen, Terri Lira, Ana Cook, Pei Ying Wu and others
4.An inexpensive hotel ($59 + tax) which included a hot breakfast
5.Airport and venue transportation was included with only a few minor problems
6. 180 participants (highest number in recent memory)
7. A large and dedicated team of tournament committee members (30) with the following committees: Facilities, Registration, Promotion, PR, Volunteers, Program, Transportation, Lodging/Food and Banquet, Tournament Software and Draw Desk
8.Quality tournament shirt included at no charge (see sizing comments below)
9.Good banquet with live band; Price was $25 to players…cost to NCBC was $30
10. Use of technology to market the event and to track entries
What we will do better the next time:
1. All courts will have 100% darkened walls
2. 50 and older events on day 1 (instead of the 55 and over we did) would divide the starting groups pretty well in half
3.Make entry fees high enough that we can compensate all Tournament Software, Draw Desk, and Officials better
4. More precise negotiations with the hotel; a few SNAFU’s could have been avoided
5.When NCBC holds this event again (and we will) we will commit to 250 plus participants
6. Better team recognition and a chance for willing out-of-town folks to participate in the organizational efforts on site
7. Better shirt sizing. Smalls were too large and all sizes were men’s sizes. Next time, NCBC might only offer free shirts to folks who register 30 days or more in advance. This will encourage early registration and make the shirt order time more manageable.
8.Sell the banquet better with tiered pricing…less for early commitment and pay
9.Tap into existing lists, databases, Facebook pages and web site to gather potential participants into a database which could be used by all hosting organizations
1. Rename the tournament. ‘Senior’ is an old and dated term. In Canada, the 35+ event is called the ‘Canadian Masters’. Golf calls the 50+ tour the “Champions Tour.” There are so many really good options.
2.If a bidding group can’t provide 6 (preferably 8 courts), they can’t host.
3.The tournament is not about cost per event but about TOTAL COST TO ATTEND. The NCBC hosted event had the most expensive events ($30 per) + a facility charge of $20. Having said this the total cost for participants including hotel, transportation and meals was possibly the lowest in recent memory.
4.Bids for the event should include a projected attendance figure with the opportunity to host based partly on the feedback from participants and on the number of attendees.
5.Explore why West coast hosted events don’t bring in more participants. With the number of 12, 16 and more court facilities and the number of players there, this should be more fertile ground for hosting and for participants.
6.Provide organizational support to first time bidding groups. The more places that host the better. One caveat…NO white walls and NO low ceilings.
7.Use generic signage that can be used year after year if possible. The NCBC banners were purposely words without dates and the hosting organization can be pasted over with a small 12″ by 36″ sign. Cost was $250 for 2 banners and could be passed on for $100 year to year.
Comments would be appreciated. Please direct them to Paul Knechtel at http://www.ncbadminton.org/
UPSETS ABOUND AT 2011 U.S. OPEN!
By Mary Ann Bowles
The 2011 Yonex/OCBC U.S. Open proved to be the most talent-laden U.S. Open since 1996 and 1997. With 330 players from 40 countries, spectators were in for a treat July 11-17 at the Orange County Badminton Club. The $120,000 BWF Grand Prix Gold Championships also served as a BWF Olympic qualifying tournament for the 2012 London Olympic Games.
This tournament was packed with many top international players. The Japanese came in force with 32 players, while the US had 36 players entered. Canada was represented by 22 players, along with 15 each from Chinese Taipei and Thailand; 13 from England; 12 from both China and Brazil; 9 from Germany; 8 each from Hong Kong, Austria, and Korea; and 6 from Norway, with many more players from Europe and Asia and even Australia and Egypt in the draws. It was a United Nations of players and coaches!
The qualifying part of the tournament was held on the first day of the competition, but with so many entries, Men’s Singles matches began at 5PM on that Monday. U.S. players who qualified for the main draw included Agusriadi Wijaya Amphie, Rulan Yeh, Rulien Yeh, Panita Phongasavithas, and Vimla Phongasavithas, although there were many more who were already qualified for the main draw by their international play. It was a night of yellow shoes-so many men’s singles players wearing the yellow Yonex shoes popularized by #1 in the world Lee Chong Wei of Malaysia.
First round play included #1 seed Taufik Hidayat of Indonesia, #3 seed Tien Minh Nguyen of Vietnam, #4 seed Boonsak Ponsana of Thailand, #5 seed Bao Chunlai of China, left-handed Marc Zwiebler of Germany (#6 seed), and #8 seed and the 2010 champion, Rajiv Ouseph of England. U.S players Nicholas Jinadasa, Howard Shu, Bjorn Seguin, Sattawat Pongnairat, and Hock Lai Lee went down in the first round, but qualifier Amphie and Arnold Setiadi moved on to the second round.
The second day of play was a long but exciting one, with matches running from 9AM until 10PM. More yellow shoes appeared, as well as a plethora of left-handed players. One early upset of the day was the #2 seeded German mixed doubles team of Michael Fuchs/Birgit Michels bowing to a young Chinese team, 21-15, 21-17. Last year’s champion Rajiv Ouseph went down to unseeded Henri Hurskainen of Sweden, 21-18, 14-21, 21-13. Top seed Tine Baun of Denmark met Japan’s Kaori Imabeppu in the first round, and the Japanese surprisingly came out on top, 21-19, 21-15, another big upset for the day. Number seven seed of Thailand, 16-year-old Inthanon Ratchanok, made her first appearance, along with #3 seed Porntip Buranaprasertsuk and #2 seed Shao Chieh Cheng, a player who had reached the semifinals in the 2005 World Championships in Anaheim.
The third day of play, the round of 16, was another day of exciting matches and some surprises. Kevin Cordon, the #16 seed from Guatemala, had a great win over German Dieter Domke, 13-21, 21-15, 21-16, to start play that afternoon. Ratchanok from Thailand, #7 seed, defeated Singapore’s Lok Poon, 23-21, 21-18. Chinese Taipei’s Tzu Ying Tai upset a more experienced Japanese player, Ai Goto, 13-21, 21-14, 24-22, in a long and hard-fought match. Fang/Lee, the #1 seeds from Chinese Taipei, were stunned by Australians Ross Smith/Glenn Warfe, 21-16, 21-15. Howard Bach/Tony Gunawan, to the crowd’s delight, won over England’s Anthony Clark/Chris Langridge, 22-20, 21-13. It was a noisy day, and coaches ran from one court to the other to spur their players on.
Quarter-finals evening brought even more upsets for the swelling crowd. Germany’s Marc Zweibler stunned Taufik Hidayat in the their MS match, 21-16, 21-15, to the amazement of everyone. Zweibler incurred an injury to the back of his knee early in the second game, but after getting a leg wrap, continued to play as if he was healthy, and stayed the course to win. Vietnam’s Tien Minh Nguyen took out China’s Bao Chunlai, 21-18, 21-15; Taipei’s Hsuan Yi Hsueh barely escaped defeat from Guatemala’s Kevin Cordon, 21-23, 21-14, 21-19; and Japan’s Sho Sasaki defeated Thailand’s Boonsak Ponsana, 21-10, 21-15 to round out the quarters.
On the women’s side in the quarters, Thailand’s #7 seed Ratchanok won over China’s #4 seed Xuerui Li, 23-21, 21-18. Taipei’s Tai continued her winning ways over China’s Lan Lu, 21-19, 18-21, 22-20. Japan’s Eriko Hirose (#5 seed) won over the young Porntip, 21-19, 22-20. But the match of the evening for the women was the long battle between Japan’s Sayaka Sato (#8 seed) and Taipei’s #2 seed, Shao Chieh Cheng, the “pocket rocket,” who kept the crowd on the edge of their seats with Sato prevailing in 65 minutes, 21-13, 18-21, 27-25.
The MD teams quarters winners included Bach/Gunawan who took a walkover from the tall Germans, Kindervater/Schoettler; #5 Korean seeds, Sung Hyun Ko/Yong Dae Lee; and the #2 and #6 seeds from Japan. Women’s doubles quarters winners were the #2 seeds from Japan, the #5 and #8 seeded teams from Korea, and the #1 seeded team from Taipei, Wen Hsing Cheng/Yu Chin Chien, who won the 2010 US Open WD title. Mixed doubles teams who were heading for the semis included two Japanese teams, a Korean team, and the #5 Taipei seeds Hung Ling Chen/Wen Hsing Cheng who defeated the #1 seeds from Thailand.
Semifinals night brought a big crowd, and lots of dazzling play for the audience. In the mixed doubles showdowns, the Taipei team, Chen/Cheng, prevailed over Japan’s Sato/Matsuo, 21-18, 21-18. The young Koreans, Lee Yong Dae/Ha Jung Eun, easily took the other Japanese team, Ikeda/Shiota, 21-13, 21-15. Lee, of Olympic fame, was playing in both the XD and MD semis. In the WD semis, the #8 Korean seeds, Jung/Kim, stunned the #1 seeds, Cheng/Chien, in three long games, 18-21, 21-17, 21-19. In the other half, the #5 Korean seeds, Ha/Kim, took out the #2 Japanese seeds, Maeda/Suetsuna, 22-20, 21-19, in 52 minutes.
In MD, the #5 seeded Koreans Lee/Ko wasted no time in defeating the #6 seeded Japanese team, Kawamae/Sato, 21-16, 21-6. Bach/Gunawan, seeded #7, had to work harder to take out the #2 Japanese seeds, Hashimoto/Hirata, but they prevailed in 48 minutes, 14-21, 21-19, 21-14.
In WS, Taipei’s Tzu Ying Tai defeated Japan’s Eriko Hirose, 21-10, 21-19, and Japan’s Sato won over the crowd favorite, Thailand’s Inthanon Ratchanok, 21-14, 13-21, 21-15. In the MS, Japan’s Sasaki prevailed over Taipei’s Hsuan Yi Hsueh, 21-15, 22-20, and Vietnam’s Nguyen won over Germany’s Marc Zweibler (with a heavily bandaged leg) in a 70-minute battle of wills, 20-22, 21-13, 21-18.
Finals night saw a full house ready to watch the Koreans and Japanese fight for titles with more upsets in the offing. In the WS final, Taipei’s Tzu Ying Tai, 17 years old, had been the runner-up in last spring’s Singapore Open, but no one was expecting her to go the distance against the older and more experienced Japanese player, Sayaka Sato. After winning the first game, 21-16, she dropped the second game, 19-21, but Sato was too fatigued to stay with her, and went down, 21-6, in the third. This was the first international title for Tai.
Japan was not to be denied, however, when Sho Sasaki, in the MS final, picked up his second Grand Prix Gold title of the year, 21-17, 21-18, over Vietnam’s Nguyen Tien Minh. Sasaki and Nguyen had faced off in the Australian Open this past spring with Sasaki coming up the winner there as well.
The doubles events of the night belonged entirely to Korea. Ha Jung Eun was able to take two golds in the WD and XD events. She and WD partner Kim Min Jung found it tough going against compatriots Kim Ha Na/Jung Kyung Eun. The two teams split the first two games, 14-21, 22-20, but the older team prevailed in the final game, 21-18.
Lee Yong Dae, despite being unseeded in both men’s and mixed doubles, marched to both titles in straight games. In the XD final Lee/Eun took out Taipei’s Chen/Chieng, 21-19, 21-13. In the MD final, the USA’s Bach/Gunawan put up little resistance in the first game, 21-9. But in the second game, the USA team looked set to even the score at one game apiece before the Koreans, trailing 14-17 in the second, put on a 5-point run to catch up and win the match, 21-19.
What a week at the 2011 U.S. Open! It was a pleasure to watch all the great players-even the warm-ups were outstanding. Being able to view the coaches sitting behind the players during play and watching them in action during intervals and between games was another thrill-some of the coaches like Park Joo Bong of Japan, Kim Dong Moon of Canada, and Kenneth Jonassen of England were international stars themselves for a decade. It was also great to see all the U.S. players, some of them future stars, and it’s always a thrill to see Howard Bach and Tony Gunawan in action on their home court.
Kudos to all who helped with the tournament including Don and Kim Chew, Montri Chew, Gus Chew, Paisan Rangsikitpho, Charlotte Ackerman, Bob Cook, Widya Susanto, Dudley Chen, Dave Anderson, Ed Barnes, Christian Barnes, Robin Metson, Tom Wilmshurst, Dave Carton, Rulan Yeh, Rulien Yeh, Qiu Ming Wu, Terry Lira, Mark and Paul Phongasavithas, Dr. John Yong, Dr. Ed Wang, Tim and Noi Mangkalakiri, Pamela Tan, Ana Cook, Carol Bryan, Linda Shen, Dan Cloppas and Peggy Savosik of USA Badminton, Yonex Corporation USA, K&D Graphics, all the umpires and line judges, and all the volunteers who served in many other capacities.
If you haven’t been to the US Open, you must put it on your calendar for 2012, and if you are a senior, you might as well play in the Senior International and enjoy watching the international players in both tournaments! See you there!