I spent a tiring whole day yesterday to witness the Asian Satellite Badminton Championships 2006 Round 1 held at the new venue, the air-conditioned Toa Payoh Sports Hall. This venue is certainly much more comfortable than the Singapore Badminton Hall, where all the previous Satellites were held, not only because the airconditioning at TPSH makes a great difference but also its high ceiling lights do not block the view as they do at SBH, even worse as the low fluorescent lights there really hurt the eye. The seating capacity at TPSH is larger and the seats are better arranged in a circular pattern but without backs for support. There are no pillars blocking one's view as in SBH. The one setback, however is the high aluminium railings surrounding the gallery to prevent one from falling over. This should have been set lower or better still, in transparent plate glass, so as not to disturb one's viewing pleasure. The SBH is good for training players but certainly not good for the spectators! This Satellite is meant for the young and upcoming players, the national second teams, to ply their talents and pit them against equally gifted players in the region. In general the standard has improved but so far I could not see any outstanding candidates yet. Maybe they will display their style later in the competition. For the first time, I met Magical Phoenix and moonsilk in the morning. MP was there to support Chong Wei Feng #11 and all the other Malaysian players on behalf of yannie. And moonsilk gave support to the Thai contingent although their first team was not around, competing in the HK Open. During the XD event in the evening, I met Iwan and we had a good chat. But I could not see badMania. Round 1 Men's Singles This event saw two early seeded casualties - Beryno Wong (MAS), #9, fell to Adnan Fauzi (INA) in 3 games lasting 55 min. Compatriot Kenn Lim, #8, was rudely pushed aside in straight games by Pakkawat Vilailk (THA) in 35 min. Erwin Djohan (SIN), seeded 3, did not appear. Ten out of 32 matches lasted the distance in three games, but all were completed in less than an hour each match. Daren Liew (MAS), #5, almost lost to Wisnu Haryo Putro (INA), 13-21, 21-17, 22-20 in another record 55 min. Another close shave was Raj Popat (WAL) #15, who was extended by 'tiny' Singapore Sports School challenger, Febriyan Irvannaldy, 18-21, 21-17, 21-18 in 53 min. Filipino Ben Jonas Garcia put up a brave fight against unseeded Johnathan Tan (SIN) 21-19, 14-21, 13-21 in 45 min. And Azrihanif Azahar (MAS) #10, stayed on court for another 45 min before ousting Chia Y Lun (TPE) 21-12, 18-21, 21-16. Today's Straits Times featured a writeup on Tommy Sugiarto and Derek Wong and was hoping for a match between these two sons whose fathers, Icuk Sugiarto and Wong Shoon Keat met in 1983 SEAP Games with the latter beating Icuk in first singles to claim team gold for Singapore. But with Tommy seeded 2 for this event, it is impossible for Derek to create another upset like his father. Women's Doubles The Malaysians dominated, especially when playing against their Singapore counterparts. Only unseeded China-born Zhang Beiwen & Gu Juan were able to stop Chong Sook Chin and Tan Sin Lan, 19-21, 21-19, 21-14 in 55 min. But the Malaysian pairs had to submit to their Indonesian and Thai opponents in two other matches. All the seeded pairs received byes in R1. The Swiss pair of Caren Hueckstaedt and Huwaina Razi were impressive in defeating Singapore Sport School's Valerie Wang and Noriko Goh, 21-14, 21-12 in 25 min. Clearly Singapore's women's doubles department is lacking in attention and there is a lot of work to bring them nearer the standards of their ASEAN counterparts. Men's Doubles Two seeded pairs fell along the wayside. Arolas Jr. Amahit/Wilson Frias (PHI) #6 lost to Singapore's Daniel Yudi Kurniawan/Bagus Suprobo (probably new Indonesian imports) 11-21, 9-21 in just 20 min. And Malaysia's Goh Ying Jin/Au Kok Leong #5, were defeated by Indonesia's Ahsan/Bona Septano 15-21, 13-21 in 25 min. There were 16 matches compared to the 32 for MS and only 4 matches went into rubber. Try as they might, the Singapore pair of Derek Wong/Johnathan Tang just could not break the Malaysian combination of Lok Chong Chieh/Chan Kwong Beng. After wining the first game 21-18, Derek and Johnathan lost the second with a similar margin and they also failed in the rubber, going down 11-21 in 40 min. Mixed Doubles This will be reported separately. I will upload some pics for the MS. Enjoy!