There has been a lot of talk lately about BWF’s decision to introduce a new rule requiring female players to wear a skirt while playing. As much as I try to be an objective member of the media, I should disclose that regardless of how hard I try it is impossible to eliminate personal bias and I feel an obligation to state that I am personally against the rule. Nevertheless I feel it is important to provide an equal opportunity for discussion and debate amongst the two sides.
Today I had the chance to speak to two different people on opposing sides of the debate.
First I had the pleasure of speaking to BWF Deputy President Paisan Rangsikitpho. Mr Rangsikitpho has been involved with BWF for a number of years in several different roles, and he has been involved in the sport of badminton for around 30 years.
In this interview the Deputy President spoke about:
-What level of tournaments this applies to
-Why BWF decided that this was necessary
-What BWF is saying to respond to some concerns regarding
- perceptions of sexism
- players concerns over skirts being restrictive while playing
Next I had the pleasure of speaking to Anna Rice. Anna is a recently retired professional badminton player with 12 years of playing experience and who was closely involved with the change to equal prize money for men and women.
In this interview Anna Rice spoke about:
-How in her view BWF’s arguments for why this is not sexist don’t hold up
-The variety of professional players who have openly spoken out against the rule
-Media and human rights groups have begun to condemn the rule
-How a rule singling out a gender shouldn’t be any different than a rule singling out an individual race
-How tennis and other sports build stories around the individual players and provide extensive media training to players
The opening day in the US Open was a tough test for the men’s singles with the opening two rounds being played on Day 1. The test was too much for several seeds as many fell at the second hurdle.
The most notable seed to fall is the 2nd seed Dicky Palyama who fell in the second round to Wen Hsu Shao of Chinese Taipei. Derek Wong Zillang defeated Christian Lind Thomsen, the 13th seed in the second round also. Rajiv Ouseph is the top seed remaining, after coming through a tough opening round match against Lai Lee Hock of Malaysia; he then defeated Pao Cheng Fu of Chinese Taipei to book his place in the last 16.
There has been success for the seeds though, with Carl Baxter (Seeded 6), Petr Koukal (Seeded 11) and Scott Evans (Seeded 12) have all came through their matches without dropping a game on the opening day.
There have been seeds falling on the women’s side too, with 5th seeded Jeanine Cocognini losing convincingly to Mayu Sekiya of Japan. 7th seeded Anna Rice is also out, losing out to qualifier Zhu Lin of China in Round 1. 8th seed Anu Nieminen was alos beaten by Singapore’s Fu Mingtian. 2nd seed Pi Hongyan and 3rd seeded Juliane Schenk are safely through to the second round after two game victories in their opening games.
After struggling to close out his previous three matches the top seeded Taufik Hidayat had an easier run today in his quarter-final match against Denmark’s Christian Lind Thomsen. The young Dane has had a good run to this point, but it was not enough as Hidayat closed out the match 21-13, 21-14. In spite of a relatively smoother scoreline this time the match still took 42 minutes to complete which is a testament to the Danes strong performance here this week. Tomorrow Hidayat faces Dieter Domke who ousted Korea’s Lee Dong Keun 21-14, 12-21, 21-16. The other side of the draw had France’s two remaining hopefuls facing off against one another, however the higher ranked Brice Leverdez triumphed over his teammate Simon Manoury in two straight games 21-12, 22-20. Leverdez now plays Denmark’s Rune Ulsing who had a marathon match against Japan’s Saeki Hiroyuki 17-21, 22-20, 21-19.
It was a good run for Canada’s Anna Rice in front of her hometown crowd, but it wasn’t to be as her fantastic run was ended by Korea’s Kim Moon Hi 9-21, 21-15, 21-10. Kim now plays Zhu Lin who has yet to drop a game thus far. The bottom half of the draw will now be an all European affair as Judith Meulendijks of the Netherlands is scheduled to play against Juliane Schenk.
Howard Bach and Tony Gunawan are the lone pairing left in the men’s doubles not representing an Asian country. The Americans have yet to see a serious challenge so far, but tomorrow Singapore’s Hendri Kurniawan Saputra and Chayut Triyachart will aim to change that after defeating Germany’s Ingo Kindervater and Johannes Schoettler 23-21, 21-13. Chinese Taipei’s second seeded Fang Chieh Min and Lee Sheng Mu still remain and will face Kim Ki Jung and Shin Baek Cheol in their semi-final match.
For more results check the draws below:
Canada’s Alex Pang may not have won against the former World and Olympic Champion, but pushing Hidayat to a long three games will certainly add to his credibility on the international tour. The young Canadian surprised everyone, including himself, when he won the first game against the top seed 21-15. Hidayat struck back taking the second and third games to seal his place in the second round, but Pang didn’t concede the match easily forcing Hidayat to earn his points with a final scoreline of 15-21, 21-15, 21-15.
Hidayat may have squeaked through but others weren’t so lucky. Chinese Taipei’s Yu Hsing Hsieh was one of the casualties early on as was Ireland’s Scott Evans, both of whom lost to Japanese players in long three game matches. Korea’s Won Ho Shon also fell in the first round at the hands of Denmark’s Kasper Ipsen.
Ji Hyun Sung was the only seed to fall in the women’s singles when qualifier Oka Hitomi defeated the lanky Korean in two straight games 24-22, 21-16. Local favourite Anna Rice survived a near miss against Slovenia’s Maja Tvrdy fighting back from a game down to win 14-21, 21-18, 21-18 in a thrilling, crowd pleasing battle. Canada’s other hopeful Michelle Li wasn’t as lucky against Singapore’s Fu Mingtian when in spite of a strong effort and a long three games the Singaporean player won 21-17, 18-21, 21-12.
The women’s doubles lacked the dramatics that many of the other events had, however the local fans were given a treat by the Canadian national champions Jiang Xuelian and Melody Liang who defeated Denmark’s Britta Andersen and Julie Houmann in an exciting three games 21-10, 12-21, 22-20. The men’s doubles was similarly uneventful, nonetheless the top seeds Tony Gunawan and Howard Bach were effective in entertaining the crowd with their star power. After winning their first round match they are now drawn to play Canada’s national champions Jon Vandervet and Alvin Lau in the second round. The big upset in the mixed doubles came at the expense of Canada’s top ranked pair and the second seeds of this event, Toby Ng and Grace Gao. The Canadian pair fell to Switzerland’s Anthony Dumartheray and Sabrina Jaquet 21-9, 17-21, 21-18.
The women’s singles provided two of the biggest upsets of the day, the biggest of which was third seed Anna Rice falling to the unseeded Wang Linling. The match was very up and down with Wang winning in three games 21-15, 6-21. 21-9. The other big surprise in the women’s singles was the defeat of Christina Aicardi from Peru to Canadian Denyse Julien. The 49 year old proved once again that she is not to be underestimated as she won in three long games 21-14, 21-23, 21-18. The two big matches to watch tomorrow will likely be Nicole Grether from Germany taking on Japan’s Oka Hitomi, and Michelle Li from Canada taking on Jeanine Cicognini from Switzerland.
The men’s singles lacked any major upsets in spite of Dan Kai from Canada easily defeating USA’s Nicholas Jinadasa, and Ikeda Yuichi of Japan’s similarly easy win over Canada’s Alex Pang. Both were upsets on paper, but there was no doubt who the stronger players were in those matches today. Other than Dan Kai Canada has two other hopefuls remaining at the quarter-final stage with Stephan Wojcikiewicz winning over Timothy Ma, and David Snider pulling out a great performance against Malaysia’s Lee Hock Lai winning 21-17, 14-21, 21-18. They will now meet Daniel Paiola and Kristian Midtgaard respectively.
The only doubles event to take to the courts today was the men’s doubles event as both the womens doubles and mixed doubles events will be starting their first rounds tomorrow. There were a handful of close matches, perhaps the most surprising of which was recent Canadian national champions Jon Vandervet and Alvin Lau narrowly escaping defeat against the pick-up pair of Daniel Pastewka and Tommy McKee. After splitting the first two games Lau and Vandervet trailed by ten points in the final game, but managed to comeback and take the match 18-21, 21-11, 23-21.
Tomorrow will feature some more exciting matches and we can expect some more seeds to start falling so check back in for more results soon.
Although a little late in coming, the draws for the Atwater Canadian International 2010 have been released. Apparently the Pan American organizers had their laptop stolen at the recent World Junior Championships which delayed their publication of the draw.
Top seeded Brice Leverdez faces Zhang Kailai from Canada who may be unseeded, but recently immigrated from China so the top seed could be the first favourite to fall. Other strong favourites for the mens singles title include second seed Canada’s Stephan Wojcikiewicz, third seed Kestutis Navickas, and a handful of other seeds. Perhaps the most dangerous dark horse in the draw is Japan’s Ikeda Yuichi who won the recent Peru International.
Nicole Grether from Germany is the top seed gunning for the womens singles title. Similar to Leverdez in the mens singles Grether has a tough first round against Canada’s Phyllis Chan. On the far side of the draw is Jeanine Cicognini from Switzerland who plays Canada’s Valerie St Jacques. Other notables include Anna Rice, Michelle Li from Canada, and Claudia Rivero from Peru, Oka Hitomi and Ito Kana from Japan.
Almost an exclusively Canadian event, however both the first and second seeds are non-Canadian with Dutch players Ruud Bosch and Koen Ridder as first seeds, and Americans Phillip Chew and Halim Haryanto as second seeds. Recent Peru International winners Derrick Ng and Adrian Liu will be gunning for the second ever international title, they are the third seeds. Fourth seeded Maxime Belanger and Francois Bourret will be looking to make an impact, and unseeded Canadian national champions Jon Vandervet and Alvin Lau are also looming threats.
The German/Canadian duo of Nicole Grether and Charmaine Reid are the top seeds once again after cruising to a straight forward win in Peru recently. As in Peru the second seeds will be Peru’s Christina Aicardi and Claudia Rivero. Both the seeded pairs have challenging first rounds matches. Grether and Reid will likely face the recent Canadian national champions Melody Liang and Jiang Xuelian. The Peruvian second seeds have a possible match up against Michelle Li and Alex Bruce.
In the mixed doubles we have yet another near exclusive Canadian draw with only three pairs not featuring a Canadian player. Top seeded Canadians Toby Ng and Grace Gao will be looking to take their first ever international title, however there are a number of other pairs threatening the title. Perhaps the most threatening are Canadian national champions Jon Vandervet and Milaine Cloutier who are unseeded.
The draws for the 2010 Peru International have been posted and with the exception of the women’s singles all of the draws appear to be filled with a lot of new talent. With players like Bobby Milroy and Andrew Dabeka retiring from international play the men’s singles is a much more open field in the Pan Am zone. The same goes for the doubles with Will Milroy retiring, and American players Tony Gunawan and Howard Bach not being present.
Pan American Champion Kevin Cordon is the top seed and strong favourite. His first major challenge comes in the round of 16 where he will face unseeded Japanese player Ikeda Yuichi. If Cordon can pull through in that match he will likely face either Andres Corpancho or the recent Canadian Champion Alex Pang who is fresh off a strong European performance after recently beating Ville Lang in Poland. Other notables in the draw include Jamaica’s Charles Pyne and India’s Aditya Adbul.
Nicole Grether is the top seed and shouldn’t have too much trouble in the early rounds, however she faces a number of tough opponents if she’s to live up to her top billing. Peru’s Claudia Rivero is her likely quarter-final opponent. There are also a number of strong Canadian players present including Anna Rice, Jocelyn Ko, Charmaine Reid, Phyllis Chan and Michelle Li who defeated Nicole during a local Canadian tournament in January. However the toughest of these two Canadian players must face off against each other in the round of 16 when Anna Rice and Michelle Li will relive their recent national championship final.
The top seeds in the mens doubles hail from Peru as Martin Del Valle and Antonio De Vinetea partner up against Jamaica’s Gareth Henry and Charles Pyne in the first round. The second seeds are American veterans Mathew Fogarty David Neumann. Canada also has a strong contingent with third seeds Derrick Ng and Adrian Liu as well as recent national champions Alvin Lau and Jonathan Vandervet coming into the even unseeded.
The top seeds for the event are the German/Canadian pairing of Nicole Grether and Charmaine Reid. With the most diverse international experience they are the favourites for the title. There will however be strong opposition from Peruvian second seeds Christina Alcardi and Claudia Rivero and a potential tough start against Americans Rulan and Rulien Yeh.
Canada’s Toby Ng and Grace Gao will be the top seeds in the mixed doubles. After a disappointing nationals the pair will be looking to get back on track with their international events. This is perhaps the most wide open of the events as few big name teams have made the journey down to Peru including recent Canadian national champions Milaine Cloutier and Jon Vandervet. The second seeds for the event are the relatively unknown Bruno Monteverde and Claudia Zornoza.
In spite of not fielding a team for the Pan Am team event, Guatemala has a lot to be proud of this week. Kevin Cordon managed to fight his way to two gold medals at the Pan Am Championships in Mexico when he defeated Stephan Wojcikiewicz from Canada 21-11, 21-19 in the mens singles and then partnered up with Rodolfo Ramirez to defeat Antonio De Vinatea and Martin Del Valle from Peru 21-18, 17-21, 23-21. The rest of the events were snatched up by Canada who also won the team event.
Men’s Singles : Kevin Cordon def Stephan Wojcikiewicz 21-11, 21-19
Women’s Singles: Anna Rice def Jocelyn Ko 21-17, 21-14
Men’s Doubles: Cordon/Ramirez def De Vinatea/Del Valle 21-18, 17-21, 23-21
Women’s Doubles: Cloutier/St. Jacques def Gao/McKee 13-21, 21-14, 21-17
Mixed Doubles: Ng/Gao def Pang/Ko 21-15, 21-16