Last 26 May 2018, the MILO Summer Badminton Tournament 2018 was held here at the Asuncion Badminton Center. Here are some photos from the event:
Please note that the Milo Summer Badminton Tournament has been moved to May 26, 2018. Thank you.
by Dan Rupinta
Youth, power and athleticism. Three elements which undoubtedly powered Antonino Gadi to his first Open Men’s Singles Title in the 2008 Yonex-Sunrise Philippine National Open Badminton Championships held at the YPBC, Shaw Blvd, last November 30, 2008. The 19-yr old Gadi from the Golden Shuttle Foundation overwhelmed former Philippine team mainstay, Ian Gil Piencenaves of Butuan City Badminton Club/PLDT, in one of the most dominating performances in the tournament’s Open Men’s Singles history.
In the first set, Gadi led all the way and even raced to an 8-point advantage. Piencenaves tried to use his experience and was successful to trimming down the deficit to 3, bringing the score to 14-11. But it proved to be Piencenaves’ last stand as Gadi closed teh set 21-11, with a combination of power and amazing display of intricate net shots. Apart from the early lead of Piencenaves at 3-0 in the 2nd set, it was all Gadi, as once again, his power and precise smashes proved to be too much for Piencenaves to handle. The final scoreline: 21-11, 21-12. The win solidify Gadi’s No.1 ranking in Philippine Men’s Singles and he will be expected to banner the Philippine team’s campaign in the next Southeast Asian Games in Laos.
Earlier in the afternoon, Golden Shuttle Foundation’s title campaign started with a bang as Kennevic and Kennie Asuncion re-captured the Open Mixed Doubles title after their two-year absence in this annual tourney. The Asuncions defeated the very talented teenagers from Allied Badminton, Ronel Estanislao and Malvinne Anne Alcala, 24-22, 21-10. Kennie Asuncion later teamed up with Karyn Velez to capture the Ladies Doubles crown by defeating the pair of youngsters, 13-yr old Malvinne Anne Alcala and 14-yr old Gelita Castilo of Allied Badminton, 21-16, 21-15.
In the Men’s doubles open category, Ian Gil Piencenaves won his 4th title in 5 yrs in the Men’s Doubles category, this time pairing with Marlon Villarin. They defeated Arolas Amahit and Mark Natividad, 20-22, 21-18, 21-16.
In the tournament’s finale, Gelita Castilo of Allied Badminton completed her amazing run in the tournament as she defeated her good friend and doubles partner, Malvinne Anne Alcala, 20-22, 21-10, 21-19 in the Ladies’ Singles Open category. It was the 3rd meeting of these two talented players in this annual tournament, with Castilo winning their two previous title encounters in the 14U and 16U categories in 2007.
And in the Corporate Category, Philippine Star recaptured the title they won in 2005 by defeating Robinsons Land, 2-nil.
In a battle for team supremacy, Whackers Badminton Academy (WBA) of Laguna took the most number of titles in the Juniors event having won the 14UBS, 14UGD, 16UGD, 16UXD and 18UBS events. One of the biggest wins for WBA was in the 18U BS event wherein 207 14U Boys Singles champion Philip Joper Escueta defeated fellow WBA standout, Aries De Los Santos, 21-15, 21-12.
On the 2nd floor of the Moro Lorenzo Sports Center at the Ateneo campus in Katipunan, members of the collegiate varsity badminton team were practicing when their booster – Ateneo speak for team manager – FREDERICK D. GO walked in.
After an exchange of high fives and friendly shoulder taps, the team was called back on court by Coach Alma Ledesma. Afterall, they cannot afford to be lax in practice, as the UAAP meet is in the offing. With stiff competition coming from other universities, the Ateneo badminton team is hard at work to perform well.
As far as Mr. Frederick Go is concerned however, there shouldn’t be any pressure.
“Any success in badminton or any sport is a bonus. We emphasize hard work and training but Ateneans are, first and foremost, students. Education comes first,” aptly said by the man who heads the very successful real estate company, Robinsons Land and was Jesuit-trained all his life.
The Jesuit training urges FDG – as Mr. Frederick D. Go is called by friends and associates – to give back to the school which is highly instrumental to what he is today.
“It probably sounds like a cliché, but there’s no other way to put it,” FDG says. He adds that when the opportunity came for him to manage the varsity badminton team, he didn’t hesitate.
While FDG hopes for UAAP medals, he is not about to compromise the university’s academic standards.
“Many young players want to play for Ateneo. If it were an issue of finances, I can help. But I can’t do anything if they are academically unqualified,” Mr. Go says.
His live for is alma mater is perhaps only equaled by his passion for badminton. A known badminton enthusiast, FDG is a regular in corporate tournaments and is competitive enough to hit smashed with the pros.
He even encouraged his Robinsons Land staff to organize a badminton team. Today, the Robinsons Land badminton team is one of the best and competes in many corporate tournaments.
He is also the man behind the FDG Cup, an annual badminton tournament that attracts amateur, professional and even international players.
“Badminton is a sport for everyone. It chooses no age, sex or social status. On court, everyone is equal,” he explains. “I always say that badminton is a sport that I can grow old with.”
Badminton is also a sport that keeps him young. After our brief interview and photo shoot, FDG changed into his badminton gear, stretched, then joined the team on court for some friendly but high quality badminton games. And true to his statement that everyone is equal on court, the young players of the Ateneo team played their hearts out and kept FDG on his toes the whole time.
And so every time FDG steps into the More Lorenzo Sports Center to visit the team practice, it is like coming home to two of his favorite things – Ateneo and badminton. And we can only expect better and greater things from the Ateneo Badminton Team with FDG at the helm.
Afterall, it is not everyday that a team gets a boost from a man as passionate to the team and the sport as Mr. Frederick D. Go.
Lee Chong Wei is the current number one singles player in the world. He took the silver in the 2008 Beijing Olympics and is a sports hero in his home country Malaysia. I have long known Chong Wei in the badminton circuit and he is considered one of the most liked. He is quiet, unassuming but very friendly. On court however, he is transformed into a fierce competitor whose speed and power are unmatched.
I got hold of Lee Chong Wei recently and took the opportunity to ask him some questions. Find out more about the world’s number 1 player, Lee Chong Wei.
KVA: You won the silver in the last Olympics, how does that feel?
LCW: As for me, I have actually achieved what I wished before the games which is to be qualified to the final. Thus, I should feel proud of winning silver. Anyway, I feel sad because I might have disappointed all Malaysians who really hoped that I can bring our country’s 1st Olympic Gold Medal.
About the match, I would say that Lin Dan was extraordinary on that day. He was too fast for me. Indeed, I have never seen him to be that fast.
KVA: Is it your goal to get Malaysia’s first Olympic gold medal in 2012? How do you plan to achieve that goal?
LCW: I will definitely try my best to achieve the best result in any tournament. The only way to achieve better result is through hard work. No short cut.
KVA: How does it feel to be a national hero and celebrity?
LCW: Actually, I don’t consider myself a hero or a celebrity. It’s very clear to me that I’m still a badminton player. No matter what, my focus is only on badminton. Not on fame. So I really don’t think about these things.
KVA: How does it feel to be the world’s number one player?
LCW: I can feel some pressure at the beginning but I believe I have adjusted in quite a short period by reminding myself not to think about the position. The most important thing that I should focus on is to improve my skills.
KVA: To what or to whom do you attribute your success?
LCW: I will not be successful without the love and support of my family members, my loved one, my best friend and all my coaches especially Dato Misbun Sidek. Of course I will not forget my badminton supporters who root for me every game.
KVA: Can you tell us your usual day?
LCW: I start my day with training at 6 am and I finish at 11am. After that, I take lunch and break until 3pm. Then I am back to training from 3pm to 6pm. After 6pm, that’s when I do my other activities or I simply relax. I usually sleep at 10:30pm.
KVA: Aside from badminton, what other things do you enjoy?
LCW: Actually I don’t have much time beside training & tournaments. So I spend most of my time with my family & friends since I don’t have much time to spare with them during my training. If I have a longer vacation, I love to travel and eat.
KVA: Badminton fans would like to know about you and Wong Mew Choo. How did it start and when?
LCW: We knew each other since we were classmates in Badminton School. We then become very close because of our many school activities. We are together for more than 6 years. (Wong Mew Choo is Malaysia’s number 1 badminton ladies singles player. She is Lee Chong Wei’s girlfriend. -EIC)
KVA: Is it hard to have a professional badminton player as a girlfriend? Or do you help in each other’s games? Do you train together?
LCW: I don’t think it’s hard. We love each other regardless of our profession. Although we train under the same coach, we seldom train together. Our coach has different programs for male & female badminton players.
KVA: What do you do together for fun?
LCW: We love to travel and look for good food.
KVA: After competitive badminton, what do you plan to do?
LCW: I’m doing some business related to IT products. I will continue doing that and hopefully be successful.
KVA: What are your plans and goals for 2009?
LCW: I will continue to train hard to improve my badminton skills.
KVA: What is your message to Filipino badminton fans?
LCW: My heartiest thank you for supporting badminton and for watching our games. I hope to see you all soon.
by Kennie Asuncion
I believe you will all agree that it is noticeable from last year’s results of our local tournaments that indeed our younger players have slowly found their way to placing in the top of our roster of badminton athletes. The tryouts for the composition of the national team have a lot of young faces but, of course, it had to be since the PBA (Philippine Badminton Association) set rules that allowed aspiring national wannabes to be below 25 years of age. That is why everyone looked forward to last year’s year ender national open because it allowed former national athletes and practically anyone who wanted to win different titles join the tournament.
It was a delight for a badminton enthusiast like me to see a lot of young kids play in their own age groups. I am proud to see more competitive kids in the badminton scene. Though some of the looked over eager and I only fear that they burnout faster than they could be able to maximize their skills and so I can only hope their coaches and parents work hand in hand to ensure that these kids still enjoy what they do and not be too pressured at such a young age. However, I must say that the highlight in my opinion would be the men’s singles title. As we call attest that men’s singles is very very tough and in all honesty it is the event people are excited to watch. Seeing Antonio Gadi or better known as Toby age 19, slowly climb up the ladder to be the youngest men’s singles title holder was a sight to see. He is a very young and passionate athlete who knew what he wanted to achieve, very composed, very focused and he surprisingly won most of his matches in straight games. But I must give credit to all who participated whether they were former national team members or present ones because they all played their hearts out and the games were a lot of fun to watch. The Ladies’ Singles is also won by a young junior by the name of Gelita Castilo. She is showing a lot of potential and she is only 14 when she won her ladies’ singles title. Her single final match was an exciting match to watch as she played her fellow teammate Malvinne “Poca” Alcala. Up until the last part of the 3rd game, you couldn’t tell who was actually going to win it. It was a very tight match and both were looking exhausted but Gelita managed to stay more consistent till the end. These young badminton players will definitely be at the forefront of our national badminton squad in the near future.
As an older player to the younger new generation players, there are quite a few things I’d like to share. Since you are all at the beginning of your careers, do remember that passion and dedication to the sport is key. Success doesn’t happen overnight, it requires a lot of sacrifices. It’s not to sat that you cannot enjoy your youth but you definitely have a different life than the rest of people your age, learn to balance things. You should know what your priority in life is and the best exercise of being the best is doing everything in your capacity to achieve what you want. Whether you actually get to your goals or not, you will definitely be better in all aspects of your life. Another is to not let your achievements get to your head. My dad would always remind us to stay humble because in his words, the people you meet on your way up to the top, will the same people you meet on your way down. We all know for a fact that you can’t win every time all the time and so be a nice person so people will always remember you at your best. Respect all players, especially the senior athletes, because believe me, there are a lot of things you learn from them both in and out of the court. Be picky and wise enough to know which role model has led a good and praise worthy in and out of court attitude. Last but not the least, have fun playing. After all, it is the enjoyment that kept you staying and training for the sport.