The 2011 BWF World Championships were held this year in London, England, at the Wembley Arena between August 8-12. As the Olympics will also be in London next year and the badminton will probably be in the same venue, this tournament was probably more or less to test out the venue for next year. Overall, I felt the venue was very good. The courts were pretty standard with wood flooring. It felt a lot like the NIA in Birmingham at the All Englands, but I think the lights are a little brighter here. So generally, the courts are really lit up because it contrasts with the darker spectating areas. However I thought the lights were a little too bright at certain places. Nonetheless, it looks like a promising venue for the Olympics next year :)
|The Venue: Wembley Arena|
The Canadian team arrived between Friday and Sunday consisting of Stephan Wojcikiewicz, David Snider, Charmaine Reid, Michelle Li, Alex Bruce, Joycelyn Ko, Grace Gao, Derrick Ng, Adrian Liu, myself, and National Coaches Jeff White and Ram Nayyar. We had some brief practices in the Main Hall (20 minute blocks for practice) and had to go to an alternate school for more practice times. Unfortunately on Sunday, there was a football (soccer) game that day and it was very crowded with people. The bus couldn't take us to the practice hall because the road was blocked off so we had to go to an alternate one. As Wembley Stadium was nearby, we had to walk in the crowd of people heading to the train station.
|Crowd heading to the train station after the football game.|
The tournament went pretty well for a few players, and I guess not so great for most of the others. Adrian and Derrick had a big win against Thailand in the MD, while Michelle also had a big win against Susan Hughes from Scotland, but losing a close one to Yip Pui Yin of Hong Kong. Michelle and Alex also had a 3 gamer against the Netherlands in WD, but came up a little short in the 3rd set. Interestingly enough, the winner of the match had an instant walkover into the Round of 16, as the Korean WD seeds withdrew because one of the players had an injury. My match in the XD was against the UK team of Chris Adcock (England) and Imogen Bankier (Scotland), who made an incredible run all the way to the finals, defeating seeded teams from Thailand, Japan, China, and Indonesia, before losing to the #1 seeds from China in the final. Our game wasn't the best, as we have played them once in Ireland in 2010, but we did slightly better at that tournament instead. We started trailing near the beginning of the 1st set and never really got into the match. There were some moments in the 2nd set that we were a little closer, but they pulled away after the interval. Imogen was quite difficult to play against, as she is constantly rushing the net, making it tough to play anything to the net. She is also moving constantly and changing her position, so sometimes I was just hitting to the wrong spot. All in all, I felt we could have done a lot better against them, but fortunately, you can see the match for yourselves as it was on the TV court. The tournament was live streamed by the BWF on YouTube, so you can see the match in the link attached below:
2011 WC - R64 - Adcock/Bankier [ENG/SCO] vs. Ng/Gao [CAN]
|Heading back after practice...|
After the tournament, we just spent most of the days watching the matches. There were some good matches on, even though I left on the day of the QFs. Special recognition goes to Kevin Cordon of Guatemala for making it all the way to the MS quarterfinal before losing to Lee Chong Wei. Other than that, we just ate at nearby places as there was always that riot risk in London. I don't really know the story, but one of the days in Wembley, everything just shut down at 2pm, as the police advised the public that there may be a potential riot in the area. Thank goodness for McDonalds though, cuz that's where I was using the internet most of the time. The hotel had expensive internet with horrible downloading speeds, so it was up to McDonalds (AGAIN!) for free internet and cheap food.
|4 GBP Donair/Gyro at a nearby place. Pretty good actually.|
|Vodka Blue, Piri Piri Chicken Wings, and Instant Noodles. Price: 8 GPB =(|
Other than that, that was pretty much my week at World Championships. The final highlight would probably be the 7 hour flight delay of my flight from London Heathrow to Calgary. Fortunately I had Star Alliance Gold and spent most of the time in the lounge. They also had hot dogs, which made it easier to get food because lounges in Canada rarely give actual food (just soup and salad). Also, I was able to upgrade to Business Class (Executive First), so that was pretty nice. Food wasn't too great, but lying down for a short nap is always a plus :)
|Smoked Salmon & Salad Appetizer|
|Duck and Salad Appetizer (Return Flight)|
|Salmon, Potatoes, and Beans (Main Course)|
I have a few of the Canadian players' matches, but I will decide if I upload them or not. Check back later in the week if I decide to, but I will most likely keep them unlisted because the BWF has their own videos. I will check to see if they are already up. If not, I will just upload the non-TV court matches.
Thanks for visiting!