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Friday, May 5, 2017

Badminton Shopping in Hong Kong

I went to Hong Kong SAR last month immediately after the conclusion of Malaysia Open.

I experience a culture shock after checking in into the notorious Chung King Mansion at Tsim Sha Sui area.

However, as my first visit to Hong Kong, I did the tourist thing and visited the usual area like the Peak, Lantau Island, Stanley and a day trip to Macau SAR.

However, Hong Kong is well known for shopping, being tax free.

Badminton shops are located all over the place like Mongkok, Jordan and Central. However, I visited the famous sneaker street or Poh Hai Gai in Cantonese.

The famous Rose Sports, well known from Badminton central. However, I found to my disappointment that Rose Sports is not a dedicated badminton shop but sells hiking shoes/bags and other sporting stuff. Badminton racquets are few.
Racquets at Rose Sports
Mizuno/Yonex Shoes at Rose Sports.
One of the shop with a much bigger selection than Rose Sports, ESL Racquets and Sports Megashop.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Malaysia Open April 4th 2017 in Kuching, Sarawak-Badminton Holiday

This is my second visit to Kuching Sarawak.  However this time with the added bonus of watching Malaysia Open.

The stadium where the event is held is called Stadium Perpaduan. Located in a sports complex area called Petra Jaya which is similar to Bukit Jalil in Kuala Lumpur.

There is even a large aquatics centre for swimming competition.

The stadium is located pretty far from Kuching town, I did take an uber to get there costing around RM 16...and return I took a Grab car back to the hotel.

Funny thing, the players are staying in Kuching Town, and I was shocked to see Chen Long in a 7-11 shop buying ice packs as was the 7-11 cashier. Many Sarawakians are die hard badminton fans and badminton stars are easily recognized.

I managed to take selfie photos with some players while walking around the street of Kuching.

I saw Lee Chong Wei coming back from training to the Grand Margherita hotel whilst I was about to board a minivan to the Sarawak Cultural Center.

Many players were seen doing their laundry at a 24 hours laundromat, owing the pricey hotel laundry service...

Anyway back to the action.

The stadium is pretty big with many seats.
The interior of the stadium.
The center ceiling of the stadium.
Four courts during the 1st day.
Local team playing...
Freezing the jumpsmash using high shutter speed. However, I did not have a high aperture lens to let in more light. My telephoto lens is a constant F4.
Pro cameraman in action.
Another cameraman with Bazooka Telephoto lens. Lens can get pretty big and expensive once you shoot sports photography professionally.
The sponsor of Malaysia Open is Victor, hence a booth selling Victor stuff.
Bags...
Racquets...
The Victor booth. I did not buy anything there. Prices are pretty competitive with most badminton shops.

There is even an autograph signing session by Victor stars, like Kim Ha Na etc.

This Malaysia Open witness a dream final between Lin Dan and Lee Chong Wei, with Lin Dan finally beating Lee Chong Wei in the final.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Malaysia Open 2017 Blog/vlog

The Malaysia Open this year will be held not in Kuala Lumpur but in the Kuching, the island of Borneo.

This time, I will try to vlog about it.

Videography seems like a challenging trade, but very exciting as well.

Combining being a director, actor, producer, cameraman and editor...

But definitely I continue to blog using photography.

Travelling light, I will probably bring a gimbal to stabilise my videos.

Previously in Bangkok,  I was using handheld shot which results in severe camera shake. Will try to stabilise the shots using a monopod as well.

A cameraman videotaping the event using a pro camcorder, in Bangkok.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Badminton Holiday Bangkok, Princess Sirivannavari Thailand Masters 07-12 February 2017

I have just returned from Bangkok, watching the Thailand Masters at the Nimibutur Stadium.

The stadium is located in the sports/stadium cluster. There is the BTS stadium called National Stadium.

Below are the views, shot from the Holiday Inn Hotel's top floor.

                                          Picture 1. The indoor stadium, where the game was held

                                          Picture 2. The track and field stadium

                                         Picture 3.The main stadium

Centrally located at the Pathumwan area, the Stadium is next to the famous Mah Boon Krong or MBK.

Tickets cost 200 Baht for quarter-finals and 400 Baht for semi-finals.

The stadium is dimly lit with the main lights focus on the courts.

There is also tight security where policemen and policewomen will check your bags after you pass through the metal detector.
Picture 4. Policeman manning the entrance to the seating area

There is a Yonex booth, media booth and history booth.

                                          Picture 5. Yonex booth

Local Heroine, Ratchanok Intanon was spotted signing autographs and taking photos with fans during the semi-finals.

The Yonex booth displayed latest gears like racquets, bag and clothes.

The latest, Duora Z-Strike was available at the booth as well.

However, the price is retail price and I did not buy anything. Besides the Thai sports shopping street is just behind the stadium and prices are much lower.

The stadium is a bit old, but it is well maintained though.
                                         Picture 6. Layout of the stadium

The atmosphere was quite lively as other Thai athletes came in a group, singing and chanting,'Thailand! Thailand!" accompanied by drums and dancing.
                                         Picture 7. One of the colourful Thai supporters

Surprisingly, the stadium is so near the hotels that the players were seen walking to the stadium on foot. Besides after the game, many players can be seen going to MBK and Siam Paragon.

Although less lively than the Indonesian Open at Istora Senayan, badminton watching in Thailand is an interesting experience. The Thais are very polite, well organised and respectful of opponents.
                                          Picture 8. Thai player doing the 'Wai' to the supporters and spectators.

All in all, my first experience watching badminton in Thailand. Of course, a great holiday, which I thoroughly enjoyed; combining eating, shopping and watching badminton.

Here is the mini movie I made about the trip. I realised that I still need a lot of experience/skill to edit a proper vlog. My editing and story telling, will need improvement, though.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Race to Dubai 14-18 December 2016

The last month of the year, December is on us.

Hence all good things must have a closure.

The points accumulated through 2016's Super Series, Grand Prix and others...will pit the top 10 ranked players in the world for a Super Series Finale.

The competition will last 5 days from 14th-18th December at Hamdan Sports Complex in Dubai, UAE.

This is the third time in a row for Dubai to hold the Super Series Masters Final.

Geographically, I need to fly there to watch the game.
Ruefully, I was able to watch the 2009 and 2013 Super Series Masters held in Johor Bahru and Kuala Lumpur respectively in Malaysia.

If I remember correctly, with all the top 10 players in the world, I had ample opportunity to take photos and obtained autographs from the players in the stadium.

Checking the price of the hotel and flight, may not be worth it for me, perhaps All England or Japan Open will be on my radar as I attended the Super Series Masters before in Malaysia.

However, I applaud that Badminton Super Series Masters is getting good exposure as it is held in the Middle East, ideal geographically for European players and Asian players.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Lin Dan two time...r...(champion)...

A shocking news reported and uncovered by Chinese netizens.

Lin Dan admitted to having an affair with a model while his wife Xie Xingfang was pregnant.

I thought as a two time Olympic champion he didn't have two time his wife...

I also did not realized Lin Dan is two years younger than his wife.

Well, I guess if you are as famous as Lin Dan in China, getting laid is easy even if you are married.

Ref: 1.http://www.thestar.com.my/news/regional/2016/11/17/lin-dan-affair-badminton/

What do retired professional badminton players do after hanging up their racquets?

 I was staying in a hotel at Kota Damansara KL and spotted two familiar faces smiling back at me.

Wait, it's ex national player Lee Wan Wah and Chan Chong Min.

Haven't seen them in the badminton stadiums for ages.

Spotted the large poster, where they are marketing the Fleet brand racquets - Wan Wah wrapping his left hand around Chan Chong Min in a bromance embrace.

Apparently, I did not follow their post professional badminton careers.

Upon further research, they open some badminton courts with other ex-national players and doing coaching for a living.

References here: 1. 
I visited their Sunsuria pioneer badminton hall.

It is next a indoor soccer court. Courts are rubberized mat with good lighting.

 I did not bring my racquets and didn't get the chance to play with the locals.