Friday, December 22, 2006

Asian Games- I

I'm back to writing again after a long break. I'm trying to figure out how to manage my time more efficiently so I can find more time to write so forgive me for the delay.
The Asian Games recently came to an end and India did quite well. I'm not too sure about how we did compared with the previous edition in Busan,Korea but I think we were better this time around.
As far as badminton goes, the team championships actually started on 30th November, a day before the opening ceremony. This seemed strange to me but there were some other sports that started on the same day. There were a total of 9 countries in the team championships with 3 groups of 3 teams each. India was placed in Group A along with China and Indonesia! To top it off, the schedule was such that we played both China and Indonesia on the same day! This was extremely surprising considering our creditable performance in the Thomas Cup and Commonwealth Games, specially since the other groups were much easier than ours. But then again, IBF or BWF or whatever it is called now has a history of making clueless decisions so this crazy draw did'nt really surprise me too much.
So, it was China that we were up against on 30th Morning. We lost 0-5, but considering that China won all their matches in the Thomas Cup without dropping a single match, it was always going to be very hard. There were a few games where we came close, with me losing my first game against World no.1 Lin Dan 19-21 and Kashyap losing his second game to Chen Jin 19-21.
Later that day we played Indonesia. Once again we lost 0-5 but it was a much tougher fight than the score suggests. I played first singles against Taufik Hidayat, the reigning Olympic Champion and lost 21-23,16-21. I was extremely close in the first game and really should have won it. I get a little too anxious in the end and Taufik was getting better and better. I was close in the second game as well until 16-16 but then again made a few unforced errors which I could'nt afford and lost it at 16-21.
Kashyap then played a very good match against Simon Santoso and almost won but Simon proved to be better at the crucial points and ended up winning 21-16 in the third game. Both out mens doubles pairs also gave a very tough fight to the Indonesian pairs and lost in 3 games.
I enjoyed playing Lin Dan and Taufik and found that while playing at this high level, I cant afford to give away easy points. It becomes too hard to fight back if I give away even a few unforced errors in a game. Also, its extremely important to be able to keep focused and have a clear mind when the score is close and the game is coming to an end. I found both Lin Dan and Taufik raising their game and playing at a faster pace towards the end of the game, just when they needed to.

The opening ceremony was held the next day on 1st November. It was the first time I was going to an opening ceremony of a Multi Sport event like this since at the Commonwealth games in March, I did'nt attend the opening as I had a match on the next day. It turned out to be very disappointing. All athletes were taken to a gym where we sat waiting for about 3 1/2 hours. There were a couple of big screens where we could watch the ceremony going on in a stadium next door. To be frank, it was pretty boring to watch on the screen, could'nt understand half the stuff that was going on. But it was a chance to catch up with Indian athletes from other sports so it was'nt a total loss. We were eventually led to the stadium where we walked around the stadium once and waited for the other teams to come in. After all the teams were in, there were a few speeches made, not really sure about what but they seemed pretty long cos we were standing the whole time. The fireworks display towards the end of the ceremony was very nice, as expected, so that cheered us up. After the ceremony we were making our way along with all the other athletes to the exit when it actually started to rain. Considering the fact that we were in a desert, it was a big surprise. The rain started off slowly but was soon a heavy downpour. All of us got wet, were led around in circles until we finally spotted the buses and managed to get in. We were all completely drenched in the rain and it was also very cold so it was'nt a happy end to my first opening ceremony. I dont think I'll be attending too many of those in the future.

The individual events started off on the 5th of December and got over on the 9th. I'll write about that in the next post. Hope you had fun reading this one. Please leave your comments!