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Nihonkairali Annual Badminton Championship 2009 - Gijo M.S - Gokulan P.S team crowned champions

Monday 23 November, 2009

In a compelling drama of sport played out at the Setagaya sports center, matches full of thrilling climaxes and setbacks, Gijo and Gokulan stamped their class in no uncertain manner, to set off some unrestrained, wild emotions of joy and celebrations from the Kawasakians.

The Kawasaki-Edogawa rivalry was played out in all its fury in front of the enthralled and bewildered spectators, the suspense and thrill of the unknowns, not belonging to either Kawasaki or Edogawa, adding more drama. The contests were gripping, intense and played with such passion, it resembled a war. There were frantic support for both sides and one could also see struggling umpires, tensed wives, a bit scared kids.

To be honest, the final didn't reach the expectations. Both Gijo and Gokulan were in smashing form for almost through out the day, and played like champions in the final with a convincing straight set win 21-17, 21-14 against Abhilash and Tiby representing Sarveshwara club, Edogawa. Gijo was unstoppable with his powerful smashes and Gokulan raised his game when it mattered most. Though, the brilliant Abhilash and the solid Tiby, tried their best, there was no stopping the Kawasakians as they kept their cool under extreme pressure and in the end, won it easily.

An audacious display of badminton from Rajeev and Anoop almost upset the apple cart of Abhilash and Tiby in the semifinals. Another of those rare breed Kawasakians, the self-aggrandizing Rajeev and the complete opposite, leftie Anoop, routed the eventual finalists in the first set at 21-4. Both Abhi and Tiby looked nervous, and suddenly legs were not moving, shots going wide and it looked curtains for the sole remaining team from Edogawa.  But things turned in the second set, as the support from outside increased, the Kawasakians wilted, and the gentle duo from Edogawa rose like a phoenix to keep the Sarveshwara club's hopes alive. The loss seemed to break Rajeev's heart and the result was a bat broken into pieces..

In the other semifinal, Gijo and Gokulan breezed past the radiant and contrasting couple Saji and Natsumi. The Saji-Natsumi team was one among the unknown teams and caught the attention of the crowd with their brilliant badminton and an upset win in the quarterfinals beating the much fancied Sreekumar-Uday team. This quarterfinal was a thriller with the short in stature, Natsumi-san with her deft touches along with her husband, the tall Saji providing able support, beating the Sreekumar-Uday team.

The script would have been different, had the darkhorses Jude-Jayraj team scored that all important point in the first set of a quarter final match against the eventual champions. Leading 20-16 in the first set, they needed just one point to win, but it was not to be as Gijo and Gokulan with a bit of luck, staged a stunning comeback to win that set and never looked back.

In the morning, the remaining round-robin matches started at 10 AM and were completed before lunch. The 8 teams for the quarter finals were finalized. Before starting the quarter finals, Suresh chettan officially inaugurated the competition and everyone dispersed for lunch. There were lot of help and support from Remani chechi, Sunish san and Jaini-san, Sobi san and others. The colorful familes of players added to the excitement. On behalf of Nihonkairali and Sarveshwara, I really thank everyone, it would be unfair to name only some, who has supported this event. But most of all, the teams who participated and made this so successful deserve all the praise. Without your support and cooperation this would not have been possible. The entire competition was played with great spirit, fun and happiness. Let us all meet next year. The battle lines are already drawn. The Sarveshwara team has taken the challenge, Kawasakians have already started mocking it, or is there an unknown team out there to spring a surprise?

The abiding moments are many. The wide grin on Gijo's face and the quiet chuckle on Gokulan's or the palpable tension on those beautiful faces supporting their husbands or those heartbreaking tale on the eyes of the just beaten. Over to Nihonkairali Annual Badminton championship 2010..

Reported by Raj