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Nihonkairali Annual badminton championship 2010 - Abhilash/Sunil, Vinitha/Priya crowned champions

Wednesday 10 November, 2010

The return of the prodigy

The small crowd gathered wanted a fight, and some entertainment. After all, this was the final. The tournament favourites Abhilash and Sunil were all over their opponents -the 'rajs' Jay and Uday- and coasted to an easy 21-13 win in the first set. After a small break, both Jay and Uday tried valiantly to lift their game in the second set and succeeded to an extent leading 13-7 once. But Abhi's superb drop shots at crucial moments played with that dazzling sleight of hand and Sunil's thundering smashes from the back court proved too much for the vanquished. Not for nothing they were called the tournament favourites!! In the end, the beaten finalists were happy that they managed to retrieve some pride by taking the second set to the distance. Abhi and Sunil were deservedly declared the champions for Nihonkairali Badminton championship 2010 organized by SAS. The final score 21-13, 23-21

Earlier the championship got kicked off on 3rd Nov with preliminary rounds for the men. The tournament was inaugurated by Sho Kitayama-san from Grip Kerala. As always, Suresh chettan and Ramani chechi were there with all their support. The women's competition, included from this year, added more color to the event. There were 15 teams in the men's and 6 teams in the women's competition.

On 6th Nov, when the tournament got into its business end with all the knock out rounds, Kurozawa Naoko-san from Grip Kerala kindly graced the occasion with her lively presence.

The day started off on a rather somber note when the tournament favourites in the women's section Reena and Deepa were forced to retire because of an unfortunate injury to Deepa while playing their first match. Strangely the subdued ambience continued for most of the day with some of the contestants among men too not feeling well with cold and fever. This was in stark contrast to the last year's competition which was played with fire and full of excitement.

There were occasional sparks in between though. The Quarter finals between Rajeev/Tisho and Sreekumar/Tiby gradually turned into a battle of the siblings with brothers Tisho and Tiby on opposite sides. The seesaw battle led by the tough as a nut Rajeev, braving a severe fever, on one side and the fired up Sreekumar on the other, finally ended with a 19-21, 21-16, 21-15 victory to Sreekumar/Tiby team.

Fazul and Regin, two newcomers and playing together for the first time gave a minor scare to the eventual champions in another QF match. After a brilliant first set winning at 21-15, their challenge fizzled out in the next two sets with the champions coming back in some style and easily winning by 21-15, 21-14.

Jude/Kloshant team had 3 tough matches with all the 3 matches they played going into 3 sets. They won one and lost 2 of these. The QF against Biju/Prasanth was a thrilling affair but the strong attacking game of their opponents proved too good for them.

The first semifinal between Abhi/Sunil and Biju/Prasanth team ended with an easy win for the former at 21-12, 21-18. The second semifinal between Sreekumar/Tiby and Jay/Uday was more exciting, especially the first set with both teams matching stroke for stroke. Jay/Uday team finally won the match in straight sets at 21-19, 21-15

The women's section had some interesting matches too. Vinitha Rajeev/Priya Gijo team were ruthless in all their matches and cruised into the finals. Rekha Sunill/Banita Binu team from the other group were given some tough fight by the Lalitha Biju/Seena Pramod team in the semi finals. But they prevailed and set up an intriguing final against Vineeta/Priya team. All were expecting an easy win for the favourites Vinitha/Priya and the first set proved no different with an easy 21-8 win. But things started to change in the second set with great crowd support, Banita and Rekha turned the tables to win at 21-12 and raised hopes of an upset. But Vinitha and Priya coolly shrugged off that loss and demolished their opponents in the final set (21-10) to be crowned as the Queens of Nihonkairali Annual Badminton championship 2010.

On behalf of SAS, we are very grateful to all the Nihonkairali members and Grip Kerala for their great support for this tournament. We also would like to thank Sobi-san and Geena-san for coming with some delicious cakes for the finale. Also we would like to thank all the match umpires and line umpires for their unstinting support. And last but not the least, to all the teams who participated in the competition and to their families for supporting them, we extend our sincere gratitude and appreciation.

And finally to the Champions, both men and women. Congratulations on your wonderful win. For the prodigiously talented Abhilash, this is the 3rd consecutive year running, on the podium. Champion in 2008, Runner up in 2009 and again Champion in 2010, as if for him, playing badminton and winning is something of a raison d'ĂȘtre!!

Let us meet again for Nihonkairali Badminton championship 2011!

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Reported by Raj for SAS