|Standing L to R : Team Mgr Yvonne, WVN Organiser Wilson Chiew, Chief Coach Waheeda, Asst Coach Calvin.|
Squatting L to R : Bryan Goonting, Ng Ee Hern, Lee Qi Hong, Haris Sufian, Aaron Wong, Kaiser Tan, Tan Yan Yi, Dylylva Saha, Odelia Wong
Wilson Vision Network (WVN) launched this inaugural team competition for U12 and U16 in Forum Pudu, KL during the mid year school holidays. Team-16 run by coach Waheeda invited both Aaron & Haris from Wira Tangkis to complete her U12 team. The U12 team comprises of :
Lee Qi Hong 12, Aaron Wong 12, Haris Sufian 12, Ng Ee Hern 12, Bryan Goonting 10, Kaiser Tan 10, Tan Yan Yi 12, Dylylya Saha 12 & Odelia Wong 12.
Team-16 which was fully sponsored by Protech Sports & OA Hyperstore was quite a refreshing departure from the conventional knock-out competition which the boys have been accustomed to over the past 2 years. The match categories were XD, BSU10, GS, BS & BD using the now defunct 11 points best of 5 sets system.
Here, team strategy, depth, balance and team work comes into play which is what coach Waheeda is at her best. A strict and astute strategist, she meticulously moulded the team comprising of average rank players (with the exception of Tan Yan Yi) into a team to be reckon with. I have to admit, I learnt a few tricks form her and found myself relishing the challenge from this inter- team event.
Team-16 was grouped together with Rising Sports and SHBC. Only the group leaders advance to the semi-finals. While I see no threat from SHBC mainly comprised of underage players, our serious challenger was Rising Sports.
In the first game of mixed doubles, Aaron was paired with Odelia against his old rival Wong Vin Sean and Maria Ngoh. Aaron/Odelia scrapped through in a 3-2 thriller. The fifth set was won by the skin of their teeth 11-10.
In the BSU10, Bryan Goonting started with a cold engine and found himself trailing against a pint size David Liew. However, when he had warmed up, he romp him with a 3-0 win. Team-16 was 2 up at this stage. So far so good!
Next was BS where Rising Sports unleashed their Selangor State ace Kenny Khiew against Lee Qi Hong and Rising narrowed the score back to 1-2.
In the GS, Team-16 had our own ace in the circuit champion Tan Yan Yi from Melaka. She had no trouble to win in straight sets against Beh Chin Hui and sealed a 3-1 win for the team.
The final game was academic in BD where Aaron/Qi Hong lost to Kenny/Vin Sean 2 -3.
In the match with SHBC, I was not with the team as I had to be in office but Team-16 won comfortably with 5-0 trashing to top the group for a semi final clash with Art Sports Spritzer Orange mainly comprising of Penang BA team B.
I just had to watch the semi-finals although I didn’t apply for leave. How can I miss it? The first draw was XD where Haris was paired with Dylylva against Ooi Yi Hern and Cheng Su Hui. The Northern duo was a tad more skilful and we were 0-1 down.
The second match was GS where Tan Yan Yi found her match in another Penang ace Tan Zhing Yi. Tan Yan Yi dropped the first set but found her winning rhythm in the next 3 sets to level the team score to 1-1.
Next was BD where Aaron teamed up with his Putrajaya mate Haris to have a go against Poopathi and Ooi Yi Hern. After taking the first set, they eventually lost steam and threw away the next 3 sets and we were down again 1-2.
The forth match was BSu10 which I predicted a given point to Art Sports Spritzer but the courageous Kaiser Tan turned the table around to upset favourite Eogene Ewe to level the team score back to 2-2.
The decider BS now fell on Aaron’s hands as he was chosen to play against Beh Choon Meng, another GP qualifier from Penang. Unfortunately Aaron floundered uncharacteristically and lost in straight sets. A sombre mood overcame our team. It was not because he lost the match but the way he lost the match was damaging to the pride. The pressure and the expectation proved too much for him to handle.
The team took home a 3rd place medal with a badminton bag and some cash winnings. In the aftermath, all of the parents supported the idea to maintain the team for future team events and hopefully we can do better next time. As for the boys, we will now take a long break from badminton since its school holidays and we have arranged for a 3 day family camp at Radiant Retreat in Janda Baik. Happy holidays everyone.