Sunday, March 21, 2010

Not So Good Experience in the Philippine Badminton Open

Ok, I bought my tickets three weeks before the semis. My boss might have thought of me as a jerk because I have constantly shown it to her. She could have thought of obliterating it in front of my face. Well, I know she gets it. I’m excited to watch the two special days of my 2009 calendar - the Bingo Bonanza Philippine Badminton Open, on its 3rdevent.

I didn’t get to watch this with my boss, but I thought of inviting her and I just thought that maybe, she might not really enjoy it. She’s actually into more contact sports, having been raised in the US and exposed to “manly” sports like football and basketball. The timing wasn’t right either; she was on the hospital starting Wednesday albeit prior to going to Philsports Arena (where the venue is), Nimmy and I visited her to know how’s she’s doing.

Nimmy and I then went to the venue after. It was a great feeling to see the badminton courts. You’ll see players practice, and people watching. You’ll see cameramen fixing their angles and the lights – the lights was astonishing. It wasn’t even a first time for us to see this, especially for me. I’ve seen the Thomas Uber Cup way back 1999 and I still feel this energy of just seeing professional players do the sports you love. I exactly feel the emotions when someone gets to step in the courts. The venue never really changed. It still hosted the tournament, and it is really part of the Philippine Sports history.

So the first day we went there, we watched the semis. One thing I’ve noticed is that most of the players that attended this annual event are not even as half popular than usual veterans of any international badminton event. I didn’t get to see players from Korea and yeah, I’m anticipating Lee Yong Dae. I didn’t even see a Korean in the crowd. I also didn’t see Malaysian players. Could it be possible that Malaysia and Korea had boycotted this grand prix? Chinese dominance has been a normalcy in Badminton. This event has just proven that point.

There were only four nations I’ve seen in two days, China, Hong Kong, Japan and Indonesia. Actually, that’s only three; technically, Hong Kong is a territory of China. So far, they have produced world ranking players. I thought that it could be a more interesting and money-worth too see players from Korea, Malaysia, Germany and England. Which then again made me ask, why did not join? Where are they when some players are gaining badminton points for their ranks?

So we get to see a lot of neophyte, inexperienced and non-ranked Chinese players. Yet, they won major titles after. So this brings me to the point – why do Filipinos have not produced any badminton Champions? Why do I only know the Asuncion siblings? What does it take to bring popularity of badminton? And, am I wrong in saying that badminton is only a sport for those wealthy and powerful?

We were seated in the second row from the front and this is because I really made sure our tickets will give us the vantage eyes. Oh yeah, it was fun to see them. You get to see players reactions, first hand. You get to see them yell out of frustrations. This seat also made us instant TV personalities. It’s funny, because people started texting me saying that they had seen me on their TV monitors. My plan really is to get closer to players and get pictures. The first day wasn’t that lucky. We didn’t get any.

So on to our second day. Nimmy and I had lunch first in the Galeria. We went to KFC and usually get my favorite two-pieces classic recipe chicken and fully loaded for my Nimmy and I was about to bring our food to our table when suddenly, I saw the male Chinese players. They are having lunch. Then I realized, the players actually stays in Crowne Plaza, so before they head to the venue, they had lunch first. It was an opportunity I thought. But I’m cowardly shy, so no picture taking while they eat. I know there will be a chance. And so I thought again.

We head to the venue, on the second day of the tournament. The crowd is starting to surface. We saw the mixed doubles pair practicing. Ok, they are good. But they are so so exciting to watch during their face-off. By the way, mixed doubles, women’s doubles, singles men and women were all fought by the Chinese and Indonesians. Men’s doubles on the other hand were dominated by the Indonesians.

It was great matches.

But here’s what annoyed me. Women’s doubles were done and so the winners, Gao Ling and some other Chinese Olympic players, god-knows I forgot her name, were awarded $8,000 US. I’m really happy they’ve won. No questions about that. They ranked 38, and both of them are Olympic players, people respect them, and adored. They are popular and they have all the rights to brag about their accomplishments. So they are heading back to their places when I decided to stand up and stood in front of them, and as they approached, I asked if I can take a picture. To my surprise, they rejected me.

Yes, they rejected me. Me, who spent some hard earned money just to watch their games, me who spent some time to see them and cheer them, me who is such a dork, gained some degrees in college and work in a reputable company and just get refusal from these foreigners? Well, I don’t think that’s really fair and I don’t think I’ll get over it.

It’s not really the pictures that pissed me off. It’s the fact that a fan like me gets rejected by a very miniscule thing. How inconsiderate and insensitive.

Well, I’m done with Gao Ling and her partner. I’ve decided to boycott them and if ever they play again next year, I’d rather not watch them anymore.

Gao Ling

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