Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Malaysian Badminton Open 2011

The audience cheered with great vigor and enthusiasm. Spectators waved the Malaysian flags in anticipating that something should happen. An eager look at certain direction in the Putra Stadium by one would attract other audience’s curious attention. Even a bald-headed official who appeared from the Players’ Entrance would attract loud cheers.

Finally, the shining star – Lee Chong Wei – emerged amid thunderous cheers, applauses, drum rolls, blowing of noisy vuvuzela, hitting of plastic tubes. The badminton fans were energized: cheering with approval and roaring in ecstasy when seeing their idol. With the up-tempo and motivating music blasting in acknowledging their presence – Lee Chong Wei and Chen Long, that exhilarating moment was worth part of the price of the entry ticket to the semi-finals of Malaysian Badminton Open on Saturday, 22 January 2011.

Lee Chong Wei jumping up for the killer smash while Chen Long engaged in defence mode.
Photo courtesy of Tan CA, one of the badminton kakis.

I was there with my badminton kakis to witness the electrifying atmosphere. Not only that the ticket prices are cheaper, we get to watch 10 matches simultaneously compared to the finals – more value for money.

When I arrived at the ticketing counters at 12:30 p.m., I was approached by a Malay guy holding a stack of Premium category tickets retailing at cost price of RM 35. So I asked why; he said, "Lin Dan pulled out, many are not interested." When I went to the ticketing counters, the Premium seats were all sold out.

China players doing stretching exercises next to a Proton’s new Inspira

Interesting Observations:

TV versus Live
While watching on TV, the pace of the game is much faster; smashes are louder; players jump much higher. But at the live atmosphere, they just play like us only a bit faster and the rally is longer. Other than the continuous cheers, it is quite 'peaceful' at the court between the players, the umpire and the line-men in focusing in the game.

Court 1 and 2
There were only two courts in action. Most spectators would gather near to Court 1 where the lighting is brighter for the TV live telecast. All video cameras would zero-in on that one court.

Upset Fans
Chen Long was bashed and down with 0-6 in the opening game against Lee Chong Wei’s commanding form. The Malaysian Chinese fans near me started to shout “Where is Lin Dan?” The name Lin Dan sounded to me as ‘zero egg’ in Mandarin to ridicule China. Later, more jeer from the fans: “Ch’ng Loong go shoot movie!!” (Jackie Chan’s name in Mandarin sound like Chen Long).

Acrobatic and Demonstrative
Lee Chong Wei’s skill and form were superb. With the fans solidly backing him, that boasted his confidence as high as the roof of the in-door stadium. It is indeed a pleasing to the eyes seeing him flying high in preparation for a killer smash while the opponent engaged in defense mode. Even with net play, there is a demonstrative split second delay in switching placement, much to the admiration of the fans.

When Lee Chong Wei’s match was in progress, the women’s match between the four ladies from China were still playing. But all the cheer and applause were on Lee Chong Wei, and no one ever bother about them. I am sure the four ladies must be envious of Lee Chong Wei that he can command such attention to thrill a capacity crowd at the Putra Stadium.

Unhappy Fans Support
Despite the medical certification, the unhappy fans still think that Lin Dan is a coward or an opportunist for not meeting Lee Chong Wei, thus focusing their support to cheer for other countries like Denmark, Indonesia and Japan when they compete against China. This is understandable as the China team is just too powerful; lending support for other countries is necessary.

Amplifying the applause and action

Wang Shixian
This pretty lady of women's singles really do stretching to the fullest while waiting for her game. Stretch to the left, right, front, back, turning around, etc for quite long time. But when come to their turn, they still have to go behind the wall and wait for their grand appearance accompanied with up-tempo music.

A Firmed Catch
When the Denmark pair won the men's doubles match, they threw their rackets much to the excitement of the crowd. There was one racket that landed with a few spectators firmly grabbing the prized catch. Well, true to the firmly catch, they hold on to it for almost one minute deciding who should own it while the crowd continued to cheer. Eventually, they settled it amicably amid much louder cheers.

Aroma of Food
I was seated next to a guy who went out to buy food in between matches. The aroma of con steam in butter really smelled good that made me wanted to go for food also.

Excellent invention ... these plastic tubes, when fully inflated and hit at the right place, produce loud “p’ng p’ng” sound

Finals on Sunday, 23 January 2011

Yeah, I was gluing to the TV on Sunday since 2pm only to be interrupted by the rain – Astro TV reception tergendala (interruption).

The not-so-nice moments were to watch China against China in the mixed-doubles, women's singles and women's doubles.

This is not very healthy – I mean for other countries – that the all mighty China almost dominate 3 of the 5 matches. It is no fun seeing them competing against their own countrymen as they would have been competing during their training session – only that we don’t get to see them play then.

Here are the facts before the start of the men's final match:

a) that Taufik lost to Lee Chong Wei a week or two ago in the Taipei Badminton Open. Taufik also lost to Lee Chong Wei even in Indonesian Open (in two straight sets; in Taufik's home ground) not too long ago;

b) that both of them are friends

The famous WD 40 lubricant? Well, it is Women’s Double going on for 40 minutes
Throughout the entire match, Taufik kept pace but as the match wore on it was obvious who was the better player on the court.

So at the second game, it was 18 - 8 with Lee Chong Wei leading in easy win. I believe Lee Chong Wei 'fon sui' (give chance) a little so that Taufik could cross the single-digit point score (10 points and above) and he did not look that bad. So Lee Chong Wei hit out here, hit out there and Taufik's points keep accumulating.

Sometimes when we play badminton, we also 'fon sui' to opponent only to realise that we could not tighten the tap and opponent won the game.

When come to 18-17, I was worried. Even the respectable lady commentator also sounded concern. What it is going to happen if Lee Chong Wei lost to Taufik in the second game from a 10 point lead? That was really unthinkable.

Immediately, Lee Chong Wei tightens the tap and really become very serious. The master is just superb, without much effort, he advanced a few points to win the game.

It was indeed a happy ending – Malaysia won in the men's final; that Taufik did not look bad.

Cheers to good friendship in games.

Korea Badminton Open -- In today's Star newspaper (Tuesday 25 January 2011), it is reported that this coming weekend's Korea Badminton Open, the prize money for men's singles champion is USD 90 (RM 275,000) !!!! Wow! That is three times more than Malaysia Badminton Open.

Maybe Lin Dan is a strategist (not opportunist; definitely not a coward); delaying the grand showdown with Lee Chong Wei with the highest prize money in badminton so far.

Do click here for other postings on badminton by yours truly (KC).

Written by KC Leong

1 comment:

A humble Taiping kaki said...

Good coverage man. Do google badminton central and get some new 'old' kakis in malaysia.