Rally Niagara Badminton Wraps 2012 with Two Tournaments
Two separate events packed the courts at Rally Niagara this December: its first-ever Merry Christmas Mixed Doubles Adult Tournament and the Second Fall Classic Kids Tournament Event featuring two-level competition for elementary and middle school aged students.
Playing paparazzi, Navin Agrawal captured the event (viewable on the club’s Facebook page) as he “did a great job taking 220 photos,” said Coach and club co-founder Mike Hacker. Gaining in popularity, the event drew 36 kids from “various schools and badminton programs,” 10 more than last year’s event according to Hacker.
Several skill events offered variety to the singles and doubles tournament play including: tower bird building, shuttle bouncing, and bird in a bucket. Hacker said, “Badminton is a great sport for kids to enjoy. Our goal at the club is to provide an encouraging environment whereby kids enjoy badminton through the participation of interesting activities, challenging drills, and fun games.” This tournament event was no exception, offering prizes to the winners of the skill events.
Tower Bird Building competitors: Megan and Sierra
Bird in a bucket winner Junqui Wu with Alex Sung
In a day jam-packed with fun, the L7 singles junior matchup between David H. and Kyle L. proved to be one of the day’s key upsets, with David H. beating his older opponent 15-13 in a nail-biter. Both boys, part of the Rally Niagara’s own kids program, culminated as “David was so excited that he was running and jumping all the way from his court to the scorer’s table,” explained Hacker.
Left to Right: Coach Mike Hacker, Daniel Hacker, Noah Kerkes, Jael Velazquez,
Joshua Hacker, Spencer Leitch, Junqui Wu, & Coach Hetram Sookdeo
Middle School Level Winners:
1st: Daniel Hacker
2nd: Noah Kerkes
3rd: Joshua Hacker
Elementary School Level Winners:
1st: Spencer Leitch
2nd: Jael Velazquez
3rd: Junqui Wu
Merry Christmas Mixed Doubles
Left to Right: Competitors Christina Gossett and Dennis Kempsten
In the holiday hubbub, 16 enthusiastic mixed doubles teams arrived to work off some of their holiday calories at Rally Niagara’s Christmas event. Christina Gossett (pictured above), sporting her holiday attire “actually played with her antlers on the whole time,” said Coach Mike Hacker. Drawing from several local clubs in Western New York and Canada, competitors included not only some of Rally Niagara’s own, but also from Buffalo, Ken-Ton, Amherst, and Orchard Park.
Mixing up the style of play into four segments kept things interesting. “The first hour was a progressive game in which partners were inter-mixed and players really had a chance to get to know each other,” Hacker said. Round-robin play progressed to 11 rather than the typical 21 points with the winning man moving to the next court, while his female counterpart moved to the previous court. Losing pairs would remain, but split cross court so that everyone had opportunities to play one another. Points were tracked individually and the highest scoring man and woman received prizes.
A quick, fun game with the mixed doubles teams had one partner holding an empty bird tube can and the other serving the bird over the net. The object was to catch all six birds in the can. Hacker said, “I guess it was easy as the winning pair won in less than 2 minutes. They told me that they practice this skill at home, but I’m not sure if they were joking.”
The third round, a 4-4 round robin of all the teams resulted in 8 teams selected for the “A” level, and 8 teams for the “B” level. This set the stage for the final round, an exciting, enjoyable bracketed tournament. An especially exciting matchup was the “A” bracket semi-final between Chris Low/Yuen Fong Chong & Rem Tsai/Becky Wong. Observers said, the exciting 30-29 match seemed to last forever with crisp rallies back and forth, and every type of shot imaginable played.
Hacker said the four plus hours of “friendly, competitive badminton was unlike other tournaments,” in that the afternoon was “jam-packed play without a lot of waiting around. Players really liked meeting and playing with others as well as the holiday flavor that was added to make it a fun event.”
Left to Right: Rem Tsai & Becky Wong Runners-Up and
Yuen Fong Chong & Chris Low, Winners
"B" bracket winners:
Muhammad Anjum & Ammar Anjum
"B" bracket runners-up:
Mike Sherwood & Fong Chan
The December Kids Tournament Event and Merry Christmas Mixed Doubles at Rally Niagara Badminton supported Hacker’s vision to “foster an enthusiasm for the sport of badminton and its related health benefits through an introduction of the game to new players as well as provide a challenging environment for experienced players.”
Merry Christmas Event Photos Courtesy: Cara Hacker