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.

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