Sunday, February 26, 2012

The 2012 WA State team is finally announced

Dear friends and readers

It was a very anxious day today for my wife Annie and myself. We had to get to Kingsway early as my sons had a doubles game in the A Reserve group.

They won the game by points and were probably going into the finals for that group.

The rest of the team were doing extremely well in their respective categories.

The B Division Mixed doubles finals was between Titus/Alex v Dennis/Shelby. Titus/Alex stayed calm and won in 2 sets despite a valiant fight by Shelby and Dennis.

The B Division Womens gold was won by Shelby, Silver by Silvi and Bronze by Alex.

Amos won the A Reserve Mens single in a 3 setter after losing the 1st set. He won by sheer determination and by wearing out his opponent.  At the end of the game, his opponent was lying on the floor from exhaustion. I am glad Amos's mum was not around to see the match as she would have had a heart attack.

Dennis played Chee Kian in the B Division mens single. It was another 3 setter before Dennis graciously lost in the 3rd round after fighting hard.

Dennis and Titus then played the B Division men's doubles final against 2 very much taller opponents. Titus and Dennis did well winning the first set. They looked like they were going to win the 2nd set before losing their concentration and the game. Despite trying their best and jump smashing all the way, they were not able to get the gold and had to settle for the silver.

Phing won the silver in the women's Open division.

Edward won the C division men's singles.

In the A Reserve, my 2 boys witnessed the team that they beat in points today take 2 sets off the boy's 1st opponent from yesterday. So despite winning both teams in points, the boys could not progress to the finals. They were so disappointed as they wanted to see how they would perform in a finals at that level.

At the end of the competition, the WA Under 17s team was announced.

The players are Phing, Silvi, Shelby and Alex for the girls.

This was never a secret.

The boys selection was I am sure harder to predict. It turned out that the selectors picked Amos, Titus, Jazton , Tyzton and Edmund. Edmund is the team captain. I am sure he will do well as the captain.

The other boys and their parents were definitely disappointed after all the hard work put in by their children.

All the players should be congratulated for trying hard and never giving up on their dreams.

I am sure my boys were relieved at being selected. This has been an anxious few weeks.

Now it is up to the selected players to prove to the selectors that they have made the right choice.

To the boys who were disappointed, I wish them the best and thank the parents for being there throughout the selection process and with their fund raising efforts.

I am sure their sons will go on to prove themselves in sports and academics.

Thanks to YuLi for patiently sitting out through the whole competition watching her wards.

YuLi was also pleased that she was able to introduce a few of her students into competitive badminton. 2 of her junior players won the boys doubles trophy. Uncannily, the boys were also Tans. I spoke to the parents and found out they are not brothers but both trained with YuLi. BAWA should be pleased that coaches like YuLi continue to groom future champions for WA. I believe YuLi also brought 2 new girls to the tournament and they did quite well too winning trophies. You could see the excitement and satisfaction in their young faces. Infact I was told some of these news kids wanted to go back immediately for training with YuLi that afternoon.

Thanks also to the selectors Trevor and Andrew for their hard work.

The proper training starts on Thursday. The hard work begins. Good night for now.

From left , Annie, Kay, Edmund, Tyz, Titus, Jaz and Amos on top. Shelby, Silvi, Alex and Phing kneeling down

Saturday, February 25, 2012

First day of the Be Active Tournament

Dear friends and readers

The day started early today. The missus and her sister were up at 7 am to half finish cooking the noodles for the fund raising sale at the Kingsway kitchen. The final stage of the preparation had to be completed at the Kingsway kitchen for health reasons.

Then we had to pack up all the gear and food for the day. Taking part in a competition is hard work especially if the parents are fund raising.

When we got there, most of the other parents were already there preparing their selected food favourites for sale.

As mentioned earlier in my blog, the results of the Be Active Tournament will be considered for the team selection.

I was not able to watch most of the games for the players.

I was hoping to read the results for all the players on Tournament software.

Parents who  want to check the player's results can visit

I just had a look and it seems today's results have not been put in yet.

It is still very unclear how the selectors will go with the boys. Most have played well and punched above their weight.

It is hard to compare the boy's performances as they are all playing at different levels. Unfortunately I did not get to see any of the girls' games.

It did not help that I was taking part in the competition myself. I will not bore you with the details of my losses. I cannot teach the players or my boys badminton skills but I believe I can teach them determination in the face of adversity and stronger opponents. I am not known to be one to give up at any stage of the game.

Perhaps that is why after every competition, I end up with a sore body.

I try very hard to teach my boys that they get the best out of their partners by encouragement.

In Buddha's words :

"Words have the power to both destroy and heal. When words are both true and kind, they can change our world.  Whatever words we utter should be chosen with care for people will hear them and be influenced by them for good or ill.".

The surprising and most uplifting moment of the day today was seeing 4 new boys who were playing in the boy's division.

Having been involved with badminton in WA for the last 2 years thanks to my sons' interest in the game, I have gotten to know most of the players who take part in the BAWA organised competition.

I managed to persuade a friend to get her son Tommy to play in the boy's competition as I always believe it is better for the children to be involved in sports instead of playing computer games.

Tommy is trained by AiLing Zhang at Balcatta. He performed well although it is his first competition. He just missed getting into the next round by 1 point. As Tommy was under my care, I advised him to look around at the other boy competitors so that he gets a better idea of what he needs to do to win.

I noticed these 4 new boys that were hanging around together. It turned out 3 of them were from Afghanistan and 1 was from Sierra Leone. He is probably the first badminton player I have met from Sierra Leone. I do not think badminton rates very highly in war torned Sierra Leone or Afghanistan.

The skills of the 4 boys were of course not high compared to the players vying for a spot in the state team. However, you could see that they were enjoying the game and they all showed no fear for their opponents. You could see that they were trying their very best and playing with their hearts.

They were going for every shot. No tempers, no frustration. Just kids who want to do their best.

During lunch I asked Nick Kidd  if they knew where the 4 boys were from. 

As you know, Nick is Australia's current no. 1 men's singles player and he has been coaching children for many years.

Nick told me the boys were his proteges from Balga Senior High School.

I believe the boys arrived in Perth as refugees. I have to verify that.

Nick recently started a school program to teach badminton to the students at Balga Senior High School. These 4 boys have only been playing 1 day a week for 2 hrs for the last 3 school terms.

Apparently Nick started with 9 kids and now he has 47 kids training with him once a week. Can you imagine how much time each player gets at that training.

Can you compare that to some of our kids that have parents (including myself sigh!!!) pay for hourly one to one training. Our kids get to see their parents pick up shuttles for them during their one to one training. My boys have been trained to thank mum and dad at the end of each training for picking up their shuttles. I hope all other parents who pick up their kid's shuttles at training make sure their child appreciates and thank them at the end of their training for that thankless job.

Back to Balga Senior High School. Nick tells me some of the players are girls and he hopes that the girls may prove themselves worthy of representing WA one day.

However, as usual , it goes down to getting funding. Nick was saying that being able to break the race and religion barrier has been one of his greatest thrill in his badminton career. I could see from Nick's eyes and his voice that he was beaming with pride with what he has achieved with these kids who may not have as much oppurtunity as most of our children.

He should be congratulated for being such a great ambassador for badminton.

From left Meerais Hussaini, Iraj Sharifi, Nick, Sahrmusa Koroma, Nassim Hussaini
By the way, I am not that bad a photographer , but I was told by Nick not to take a  full picture as he was wearing sandles. Always the ambassador.

Coming back to Balga Senior High School. Nick is of course overwhelmed by the players nos. If any of you players can help on a Friday from 3 pm for 2 hrs, give him a call. You might want to help some of his students to learn the finer points of badminton.

By the way, these 4 boys had to take a bus to get to the tournament. They had no parents who could bring them there in a chauffered car. In fact I was told one of the boys lost his parents in a war.

Later that night I arranged to have dinner with Nick. However he was sidetracked as he found the 4 boys walking in the rain to get home and Nick decided to drive them home. Good on ya Nick.

Our children do not know how lucky and pampered they are.

I am sorry this blog has not reported much on the Under 17s team.

However, we need to understand that there are many players out there especially girls, who if they had the right oppurtunity, could have played for WA.

Right now I am keeping my fingers crossed that the 4 girl players do not get injured at the Hobart tournament.

Tomorrow, or is it today as it is 1.21 am, will bring another glorious badminton day. I am not playing as I have been eliminated. I hope all the nominees in the State team outdo themselves and give all they have. Good night.

Friday, February 24, 2012

The tournament at Kingsway on Saturday

Dear friends and readers

It is 1.37 am and I should be asleep as my 2 sons and myself are playing in the Be Active Competition at Kingsway tomorrow.

My 2 sons were with me at Samson last night having a few doubles game to keep all of us on edge.

Jaz and Tyz are playing in doubles in A Reserve today (it is the early morning now). Amos and Edmund are doing the same. It should be interesting to see how they progress.

I am playing myself with 2 new partners today. Let's keep our fingers crossed.

My 2 sons have been told that the tournament is going to be crucial for their state team selection. I wish them the best. 

Good night as it is 1.41 am and I have a tournament tomorrow.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

3rd day of trials

Dear parents and friends

Today was the 3rd day of the trials at Samson Recreational Centre again.

The girls did not have to do anything other than look good. They still played hard to see what is the best girl formation for the team.

The boys' games were a totally different kettle of fish. The selection process has been blown wide open as one of the boys fought his way from being out of contention to being very much in contention. It is great to see good fighting spirit.

However, it is not so great for the selectors as now their job is even harder.

Selecting 5 boys out of the 9  will now depend even more on the boys' performance at the tournament next week.

The puzzling question is how the selectors will gauge the boys when they are all playing at different levels of the competition. Some are playing at A Reserve level while others are playing at C level.
Some of the selectors deep in discussion. Do not envy them!


Some of the ever supportive parents with Mark and Kelly from BAWA

The players should all be thankful for the support of their parents. The times they have to spend bringing the players to training, the times spent picking up shuttles for the players at training, all in the name of love for their children.

At the competition next week, the parents are cooking and selling food to the tournament attendees. This is to fund raise to help defray the expenses for the trip to Tasmania.

It is hard being a badminton parent in WA. The lack of funding really hampers the advancement of the players.

The Badminton Association of WA has set up a Junior Development Program to see how the Junior players can be assisted to bring them to the next level. They are having their first meeting at my office next Thursday to brainstorm how the players can be helped. If you would like to help with suggestions or even attend, please drop me a line.

So until I report from the tournament next week, let's hope all the players stay fit and healthy so that they can perform their best next week.

Good night till next week.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

2nd day of trials

Dear friends, readers and parents,

Today was another stressful day for the parents as they watched their 8 boys slug it out for 5 spots in the WA State team.

The selectors do not have an easy job at all. From my own calculations, 2 boys have a very slim chance as they have lost the majority of their games. 3 boys have cemented their position in the team leaving 3 boys to fill in 2 spots. It is going to be tight.

However, there is still 1 more day of trials. The results of the competition at the Be Active Tournament on 25 and 26 Feb will also be considered by the selectors.

So even the 2 boys who have not done well in the trials can still overturn the tables by performing well at the Be Active competition.

The girls have nothing to worry as their positions have been secured. However, we have yet to find a reserve girl player.

If I remember, the actual National competition will have the WA team play 2 teams each day. One in the morning and one in the afternoon. Each player will play about 8 games per day. That can be very tiring for young bodies especially if all the games go to 3 setters.

The players need to remember that in the team event,  every point counts even if they are losing. If the play goes to a 3 setter, that again helps the team's final total.   In the 2010 Under 15s competition, WA got 4th place but could have won 3rd place if they had won just one more game.

The Manager, Kay addressing the boys.

Silvi, Alex, Phing and Shelby

Trevor giving the team encouragement

Andrew Chai, one of the the selectors keeping an eagle eye on the players

Edmund and Amos against Jaz and Tyz

Phing and Silvi v Alex and Shelby

It has been an interesting day for the selectors. Whatever they decide, I am sure they will know that all the players have tried their best and have presented their best. Good luck to all the players.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

First day of the Trials

Dear friends, readers and parents

Today was the first day of the WA Under 17s Trial. The trials are taking place at Samson Recreational Centre. If you are in the vicinity in the next 2 Saturdays, do turn up to cheer the players on from 4 pm to 6 pm.

There were some nervous players and their parents today. This was especially true for the boys. There were 9 boy players vying for 5 spots.

One boy has already opted out by not turning up.

We got to see the 2 new girl players perform today. The girls have an easier run as they have all been accepted into the team.

The new girls are Shelby and Rachel. Shelby is from Canada and has only recently migrated to WA with her expat family. Good luck to her and her parents and welcome to the WA badminton scene. There is lots to learn and much to experience. I hope they enjoy their experience of being in their first
State team in a national championship. The next few months will see the players experiencing one of the most magical experience in their young life. They will experience joy and heartache and they will learn to savour every moment.

They will learn about teamwork and what it means to represent the State. I am sure they will make their parents and WA proud.

Rachel is from Hong Kong and is a student of YuLi. However mid way through the trials, there were questions raised as to whether Rachel was too old for the competition. It turned out she is going to turn 17 this year and the rules prevent her from taking part in the competition. It was so sad for her to know she will not be able to play. She would have been a great contributor to the team. Hopefully she will nominate for the Under 19 team.

That means the team only has 4 female players and that is not ideal as there is no room for a reserve.

That raises the question as to where we are going to find another girl player. I think the board will have to speak to Andik to see if his daughter Olivia will play. She is one of the rising stars in the WA badminton scene. Apparently she has been training in Indonesia. Lets keep our fingers crossed that Olivia will agree to take part.

We welcomed back Alexandra who has been on a badminton break from national competition. She however looks like she has been having secret training because her skills have improved significantly since the last time I saw her play.

Of course we have our  usual girls namely Phing and Silvi. They have always been solid contributors to the WA team. Phing and Silvi were in the history making WA team that won the Under 15's bronze medal last year together with Dennis, Amos and my son Tyzton.

Phing, Amos and Jazton were also in the under 19 team that won bronze last year in Sydney.

Their experience will definitely help in our quest this year to get another national medal.

Back to the boys.

The boys will pose a big problem for the selectors. There has been no clear winners.  Many of the matches have ended in draws. Those boys who have lost all their matches will be heartbroken as their chances will have been dashed with the intense competition to get into the team.

Unfortunately I was unable to get any photos as I had to umpire some of the games. I will try definitely to do so next week.

It was great for the team and the parents of the players to meet the management and coach today.

There will be lots of work needed for the next few weeks. We seem to be behind on the 8 ball as many of the state teams have already been selected and have been training as a team while WA is still making their team selection. However, there is great hope for the team as I always believe that the heart is the most important part of the body and the team.  The hearts of the players are already visible from the way they battle for each point in the trials. I wish the players all the best.

I hope all the parents appreciate what their children are going through. They need your support and your love.

Special mention must also be made of the volunteers who are helping at the trials. Trevor, Mark and Winston have always been a great help. Andrew Chai has also been roped in as a selector and I am sure he will make a great contribution towards the team selection.

Good luck to all the players. Till the next blog, train hard and play hard.

I would like to remind the readers and especially the parents that they can contribute to this blog by sending in their thoughts and encouragement for the team.

Good night.