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Sunday, March 30, 2014

Johor Badminton Holiday-POV entering Pasir Gudang Indoor Stadium (Malaysia GP Gold 2014)

Re-entering the Pasir Gudang Indoor stadium to catch the quarter-final games. 

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Badminton Holiday at Johor-29th March 2014 Malaysian Grand Prix Gold

The location of this year's Malaysia Grand Prix Gold is at Pasir Gudang Johor, roughly 40km from JB immigration check point.
The indoor stadium is located nestled around main roads in a sporting hub cluster, next to large soccer stadium.
The address is Jalan Bandar 81700 Pasir Gudang, Johor.
The indoor stadium is named Perbandaran Pasir Gudang Indoor Stadium.
 Pasir Gudang is a large area dotted with factories, petrochemical industrial complexes and large warehouses.
There are housing area near the industrial complexes.
The location of the stadium is such that there is no public transport, and only cars or charted buses can reach the area.
You can imagine the hassle to visit the place from Singapore.
The official poster of the GP gold open, a tiger blue silhouette on a white background.
 As it is a Yonex sponsored event, the stringing machine, strings are well of course, Yonex.
The stringer in blue is a well known badminton stringer at Johor Baru.
Many racquets are strung, from the looks of it, many Nanoray Z-Speed, VT-80, VT-ZF etc.
The ticket is relatively cheap at RM10 for a quaterfinal games.
Bought some socks at the Yonex booth, at RM25 for 2 pairs of 3D-Ergo socks
SG pair of Yao Lei and Shinta Mulia Sari in action against a young Malaysian pair.
The Malaysian pair won in straight sets after the Singaporean pair made a lot of mistakes.
A scratch pair of Tan Boon Heong and Ow Yao Han vs. M.Kido and Giddeon MF.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Yonex Voltric Z-Force II Review

Yonex Voltric Z-Force II

Review Date: 17 March 2014
Racquet Type: Yonex Voltric Z-Force II SP version
Specs: 4UG5
Flex: Extra Stiff
Balance: 295 mm (Head Heavy Balance)
Strings: Yonex BG66 Ultimax
Tension: 26lbs, pre-stretched using Yonex ES5PROTECH
Grip: Yonex cushion wrap+ original grip + Toalson overgrip
Technology: Nanometric, Tungsten Infused Grommet, Sound Filter,Tri-Voltage system
Shuttles used: Yonex AS40

First Impression: 

This racquet made its debut early this year, but was showcased in one of badminton world's biggest event, the 2014 All-England Super Series.
Lee Chong Wei of Malaysia claimed his third All-England with a Voltric Z-Force II.

My first impression of the looks is a racquet dressed in a grey suit with blue accents, kind of like a business man in grey suit with blue tie.
Doesn't look like a flashy racquet.
A successor to Voltric Z-Force with a slimmer profile, this reflects in the naming of the racquet, Voltric Z-Force, mark II.
Similar in shape and flex to Voltric Z-Force but having different materials at the shaft and the grommets.
It's also much slimmer in the head and shaft than Voltric Z-force.
The head is also much narrower than its predecessor.
This racquet occupies the same niche and has the same specs as the Voltric Z-Force i.e. extra stiff flex and head heavy balance.
To put things into perspective, I am benchmarking this racquet against Voltric Z-Force which is somewhat difficult racquets to use (owing to the extra stiff flex).

Final comprehensive review

I played mostly doubles (and half court singles)

TOC (time on court) when making review:

total of 20 hours of game play.

Warm Ups:
Warming involves baseline to baseline forehand clears.
Clears are long and far owing to the aerodynamics, head heaviness of the racquet and how fast the racquet swings.
If one word is to describe this racquet is 'focussed-power'.
When contacted on the sweetspot, the force imparted on the shuttlecock can be felt acutely on your hands.
Drives are pretty fast owing to the 'aerodynamic' slim frame and shaft. The racquet is very manoeuvrable and hence very good for fast reaction.
The racquet shaft is similar to Voltric Z-Force and felt that the stiffness is the same and kickpoint is slightly different from Voltric Z-Force.

The major difference I felt is that Voltric Z-Force II has a smaller head and somewhat flexible shaft with a different kickpoint (Nanometric on VTZF2 vs Nanopreme on VTZF).
Perhaps it's the effort of the designers to improve the somewhat uber stiff kickpoint feel of Voltric Z-Force's extra stiff shaft.

Game Time:
I won't go into detail each and every shot tried.
Generally since I am playing doubles, receiving of serve and serve are great as expected for a fast and stable racquet.
The heaviness of the head of this racquet is apparent, as one can comfortably and easily whip the racquet to hit shuttle violently with momentum.
Despite the head heaviness, this racquet is very easy to handle, easy to go short handle grip to long handle grip.
Not much fatigue felt on my hands after an hour of game. (Ok maybe it's a 4U effect)

Front court: Aerodynamics of the racquet and the slim shaft of the racquet allow quick and fast reaction to perform netshots, netkills and crosscourt net shots. Racquet cuts very fast through the air.

Midcourt: This racquet plays good in the mid court range area as it is both good in attack and jabs. The fast handling and aerodynamics allows fast reaction. As for drive shots, this racquet can rival the headlight racquets, but very hard hitting on the forehand drive. Backhand drive is ok. A smash at midcourt is almost a guaranteed kill; especially when connected on the sweetspot, one can feel the momentum or the focus of the impact on the racquet driving the shuttle to the floor.

Back court:
Basically smashes, drops and clears in backcourt. This racquet is great at the back, pumping smashes and full length clears, don't hold back,go for the full swing all the way.

Control is good, slicing (normal and reverse) and checked drops are precise, fast and relatively accurate. However if the pace is faster, control suffers owing to smaller sweetspot and mistiming issues (racquet swings too fast).

An improvement to Voltric Z-Force with faster swing and with more focus power. A head heavy racquet with a better manoeuvrability compared to other models. Good for fast strokes, but control is sacrifice at a faster pace (owing to smaller head and timing issues: fast swing)

Feel: 9.5/10

Control: 8.5/10

Power: 9.5/10

Defence: 9/1

Maneuverability: 9.5/10

Pros: Focus power on the smash and very fast swing.

Cons: Hard to connect the sweetspot consistently (perhaps improve over time) and control is not as consistent with my other racquet owing to timing issues (racquet swings too fast).

Suitability: intermediate/advanced players 4U and 3U

Player type: Niche hard hitting attacking racquet that focuses on fast attacking shots.

Footnote: this review was done as a hobby and as an interest to inform fellow badminton enthusiast. This is my personal opinion and in no form to promote this racquet.

Conflict of interest: None

Reference: Yonex website (accessed @ 17/3/14)

Sunday, March 9, 2014

The Voltrics: Voltric Z-Force II, Voltric Z-Force, Voltric 80 and Voltric 70

Just acquired Voltric Z-Force II.
Have collected Yonex Voltric series since Voltric 70.
Have acquired most of the voltric 70s and up. Unfortunately, didn't have the Voltric 60, 50 and i-force.
The Frames of the Voltric have increase in thickness since Voltric 70. This created more mass on the head.
The frame is much thicker of Voltric Z-Force II vs. Voltric 70
The shaft of Voltric Z-Force II is also thinner than Voltric 70