Thursday, 13 March 2014

Yonex All England 2014

For years, badminton and Formula 1 had been the two sports I would follow closely with my grandpa. We used to hog the TV during most of the F1 races and badminton matches. Coming from Malaysia, badminton had always been the hope of the nation for a gold medal in the Olympics. Badminton undoubtedly is the country’s strength in sports. Though best played in indoor courts to minimise the interference of wind etc, badminton is commonly played in the community across fences which play the role of acting as the dividing net. At a point when I was in college, badminton became one of my obsessions until I busted my knee while playing it.

As a fan, for the second time of my life, I went to Birmingham to watch the finals of All England matches. The last time I did this was in 2012 during my first year in the UK. The very year Chong Wei withdrew during the second game because of an injury.

All England 2012: Lee Chong Wei vs Lin Dan
Due to the long journey, I’ve made the worst decision of leaving the DSLR behind. Having bought tickets on the lower tier for about £24, I was sitted with my friends in Block 11 where an entire block of seats were reserved for the players to watch their fellow teammates in action. What an amazing seat to be in!!! Unfortunately, most players out to watch the match was from China, Japan, Korea and Indonesia. With most of the players I supported not playing in the championship, there wasn’t anyone to watch out for amongst them as I don’t know most of them. Bumping into Chen Long, I asked for a photo opportunity only to be dismissed rudely by him. (He is definitely picking up after Lin Dan -.-)

All England
Taken with iPhone 5C, this is the view from my seat without zooming in
All England
The Japanese players watching the finals of Men Doubles
The most awaited match of the day was the finals of Men Singles between Lee Chong Wei and Chen Long. While Lee Chong Wei is the world’s top ranked player and Malaysia’s pride, Chen Long is rising up the rankings and filing in the shoes of Lin Dan extremely well. Having beaten Chong Wei in the finals of All England 2013 and Denmark Open in October 2013, it was an opportunity to avenge for victory.

All England 2014: Lee Chong Wei vs Chen Long
Winning the first set with 21-13, Chong Wei battle through a tough match to win the All England title with a score of 21-13, 21-18. In most of the matches I’ve watched, Malaysian players in general lacked stamina and usually lose their form in the rubber game. Throughout the second game, Chong Wei led in the points with a very small gap. Thankfully, his great performance allowed him to nail it quick enough. During his victory interview, Chong Wei undoubtedly admitted that he was thankful to have won in 2 games as he was getting tired.

The victory ceremony of All England 2014 Men Singles
It was definitely a £24 well spent to watch the victory of Malaysia. Anyone looking forward to watch the match live next year, remember to get seats on the lower tier in Block 11 and there’s definitely a chance to be close to your favourite players.

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