Memories of the 2011 Yonex All England Championships - Now A Premier Event

Discussion in 'German Open / All England / Swiss Open 2011' started by abedeng, Mar 15, 2011.

  1. abedeng

    abedeng Regular Member

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    It had been 10 long years since I last experienced the Canals of Birmingham ....... during the time when my weight was still manageable and I looked less of a bouncer.

    One fine day, I met fastdrop during the Malaysian Open Finals Day and asked him whether he was going this year. Fastdrop being the regular devotee of the All-England, is pretty much considered the BC Brand Ambassador from the Far East.

    Unfortunately, not this time, he said. Needed to babysit a friend, it seemed.

    Too bad, so it looks like I will have to go solo then. But going solo gives you the benefit of speed. Plans were drawn up like lightning and tickets and airfare were snapped up during the Victor Korea SuperSeries week. But I didn't expect that the event tickets took the slow boat route to reach me, only arriving a mere week before departure ...... :p

    As usual, maximizing on the Emirates Skywards Points requires me to fly out via Singapore, pretty much on the eve of the Championships. And since the huge Emirates Airbus A380 doesn't fly to Birmingham, I needed to detour, to Manchester for a chance of visiting Old Trafford for souvenir hunting. Yup, better to kill three birds with one stone this time ....... :D fly the A380, experience Manchester United, and then enjoy the last 3 days of Competition at the NIA.

    It was quite a long layover in Changi, long enough for me to do a spot of shopping and enjoying the Singapore Airlines Show (a promo of their newest route - to Brazil). Pics here .....

    Warning!!! Some pics contain Graphic Detail, not suitable for minors.

    SG Show1.jpg
    The SIA Brazil Promotion Show Poster

    SG Show2.jpg
    Trick Show with a girl volunteer

    SG Show3.jpg
    The Samba Orchestra

    SG Show4.jpg
    SG Show5.jpg
    The Show Diva makes her Grand Entrance

    SG Show6.jpg
    Candidate for Best Picture ..... wakakakaka
     
  2. abedeng

    abedeng Regular Member

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    Manchester Arrival

    Arrived in Manchester at noon on 10 March. Despite a total flight + layover time of close to 24 hours, I felt very refreshed. Yup, the A380 does do wonders to air travel. Pity that the fares are going up due to rocketing fuel prices.

    Only had half a day to explore, so first I went to the Wheel of Manchester at Exchange Square to see if it was still in operation. Apparently not on that day ....... :mad: and it was raining by the time I got there. So much for my efforts.

    Pics here:

    MAN Wheel1.jpg
    MAN Wheel2.jpg
    The Wheel of Manchester

    MAN Wheel3.jpg
    And They Said It Was Open 7 Days A Week ......

    After a quick lunch at Manchester Arndale, I jumped on the tram on the way to Old Trafford. What a great place this is.

    Pics here:-

    MAN Busby.jpg
    MAN Legends1.jpg
    In Honour of The Man who built the Dynasty

    MAN Legends3.jpg
    MAN Legends2.jpg
    And the Legends Who Shaped It


    MAN MU Stadium3.jpg
    MAN MU Stadium1.jpg
    MAN MU Stadium2.jpg
    Pictures of the Grand Stadium


    There is a Megastore within the Stadium Compounds, and it had souvenir stuff meant for everyone, from babies and kids, to wives and girlfriends (WAGS), and old folks. Yup, old folks would really love those retro stuff. Prices aren't too bad too ........ Time enough to start donating to the, ahem, MU star players' pay fund ....... :eek::D

    Pics here:-
    MAN Store1.jpg
    MAN Store2.jpg
    MAN Store3.jpg
    MAN Store4.jpg

    Half a day was gone too soon, and by the time it was getting dark, I started off towards Manchester Piccadilly Train Station, to hop into the CrossCountry service to Birmingham.

    Pics:-

    MAN Piccadilly1.jpg
    MAN Piccadilly2.jpg
    At the Manchester Piccadilly Station
     
  3. pjswift

    pjswift Regular Member

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    Thanks for the free promotion of Changi. It s the one airport to go early for a flight and extended layovers, isn't it? Lots to do,eat and see, at fair prices.

    That means you will be going for WC and OG12? Heard the OG12 tickets are on sale today. Do you know if there are any season tickets? Those single session tickets are a bit steep.
     
  4. abedeng

    abedeng Regular Member

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    The World Championships does have season tickets, I bought one online while in Paris last year. Those early bird tickets cost GBP 90, website is http://www.ticketmaster.co.uk

    But for Olympic Games is different. Tickets are based on sessions only (morning, afternoon, evening sessions). At the latter stages, one session could mean just 2 or 3 matches.

    And yes, they are steep so I might not be too interested. You should apply for tickets if interested. But you will only know the results in June.
     
  5. abedeng

    abedeng Regular Member

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    In Birmingham

    My home base in Birmingham is the cosiest place on Earth this side of the world. The nitenite Birmingham, is what you'd call a cross between a budget hotel (in terms of space and windows, or rather, the lack of it) and some rather upmarket amenities (huge flat TV screen + free movies, free wifi, coffee making facilities, daily housekeeping etc).

    In short, the room is perfectly acceptable ,as long as you don't share rooms with anyone else ...... Didn't stop many lovebirds to make this place their nest though.

    Pictures here:
    BHM nitenite.jpg
    Pictures of nitenite Hotel compound, at night .....

    BHM nitenite1.jpg
    And in the day

    BHM nitenite2.jpg
    BHM nitenite3.jpg
    This is how big my room was, and I was taking the pics from inside the bathroom and just outside the door ......

    Had a very good sleep my first night, only to wake up to the tragic news of the Japanese earthquake and tsunami :eek: ....... my condolences to the Japanese people. It was deja vu again, of what happened during our BC Group's Thomas/Uber Cup trip in 2008 (the China Earthquake).

    Since Friday's matches were to start only at 5 pm, I went to explore the Mailbox Premier Shopping Centre. Yup, the Premier League status of this place is probably the reason that it was practically empty and not fully tenanted ......

    Had coffee at the BBC West Midlands Broadcast Centre within the Mailbox while hearing those broadcasts live just outside the studio.

    Pics here:
    BHM BBC1.jpg
    BBC West Midlands @ The Mailbox

    BHM BBC2.jpg
    Having Coffee Here Is Nice

    BHM BBC3.jpg
    While Listening Live to BBC WM Broadcasts

    BHM Mailbox1.jpg
    Behind the Mailbox, is the Canal

    BHM Mailbox2.jpg
    View of the Mailbox Restaurants from the Canal

    BHM Mailbox3.jpg
    You could walk here, all the way to the NIA
     
  6. abedeng

    abedeng Regular Member

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    The Taming ..... Of The Bull

    As soon as noon approached, it was time to explore the Pallasades and the BullRing Shopping Centre. When I last visited this place, the new BullRing was still under construction. Now they are rebuilding the New Street Train Station just underneath the Pallasades, and not a moment too soon too.

    Took me some time to find the Bull and, ahem, challenge it to a duel. :D

    Pics here:

    Bull1.jpg
    A duel with the Bull!

    Bull2.jpg
    WWII Bombing Memorial near BullRing Markets and St Martin's Church

    Bull4.jpg
    View of the BullRing Shopping Centre, very imposing from up close

    Bull3.jpg
    Another view, from the overhead bridge linking Shopping with Parking

    Bull5.jpg
    The BullRing Markets, with varieties of cheap shopping and dining

    "Bullfighting" in cold, hard weather and with a few kilos of thick winter gear does tend to whet any matador's appetite. A quick search in the streets surrounding the BullRing was enough for me to find the best meal deal in town.

    At GBP 4.99 per pax, the Oriental Buffet offered was enough to attract a decent number of Malaysian supporters to the place for the entire duration of the tournament. Yup, they practically camped here before and after the matches, which forced me to get to lunch as early as possible to avoid the crowd.

    Pics here:

    Food1.jpg
    Had lunch here for 3 straight days

    Food2.jpg
    Food3.jpg
    Food4.jpg
    Food5.jpg
    The ambience within the cafe, this was before the crowd got here
     
  7. Cheung

    Cheung Moderator

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    The bit about manchester and the colour red...I skipped that bit. :p
     
  8. abedeng

    abedeng Regular Member

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    More Tour of Birmingham Pictures

    With still too much time to burn before quarterfinal matches, I took the opportunity to navigate thru the historical architecture of Birmingham.

    Pictures here:

    Arc1 Nelson.jpg
    Statue of Lord Nelson of the Battle of Trafalgar Fame, within the BullRing Shopping Centre Area

    Arc2 BoyGirl.jpg
    Boy meets Girl, falls in love

    Arc3 Woman.jpg
    Huge female statue at Victoria Square

    Arc4 Victoria.jpg
    Queen Victoria herself

    Arc5 Victoria Square.jpg
    City Council Building at Victoria Square

    Arc6 Birmingham Memorial.jpg
    Chamberlain Memorial

    Arc7 St Martin.jpg Arc8 St Martin.jpg
    St Martin's Church

    Arc9 Train.jpg
    An old train, parked at Moor Street Station

    On the way back to the canal and the NIA, I met a lady with this peculiar large yellow hat, seeking donations for the Marie Curie Cancer Research. Donated some money, and took her pictures, below.
    Arc10 Marie Curie.jpg
     
  9. abedeng

    abedeng Regular Member

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    Circumnavigating The Canal ....On Foot

    The thing that I like about Birmingham (and Manchester too) is that the City Centre is not too big, thus public transport is obsolete as long as you can walk within a 6 km radius, and you know your way around. In London, you are enslaved by the Underground and the number of strikes and maintenance TFL undergoes each year.

    Didn't take me long to reach the Canal again, and henceforth towards the NIA on foot.

    Pictures below:-

    Canal0.jpg
    Birmingham's version of the Great Wall

    Canal1.jpg
    Where the boats are berthed when off-duty

    Canal2.jpg
    Water bus stop

    Canal3.jpg
    How low can you go?

    Canal4.jpg
    Don't say your head hasn't been warned.:p

    Canal5.jpg
    The Canal Network, the pride of Birmingham

    Canal6.jpg
    Waterbus on it's way to the Mailbox

    Canal7.jpg
    Look! A roundabout!!!:D

    Canal8.jpg
    And we're here.
     
  10. abedeng

    abedeng Regular Member

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    At The Arena

    By the time I reached the arena, a good number of Malaysian kids were already there. The Ticket Box Office opened a little bit later, and an orderly queue started to form.

    Pics here:

    NIA Queue.jpg
    Fans queueing up at the Entrance

    NIA Interested.jpg
    And disinterested parties leave

    NIA Olympian.jpg
    Unlike us mere mortals, Olympians don't need to queue up

    Inside, several booths had been set up, for food, sales and promotion of the BWF World Championships, Games and of course, most importantly, badminton apparel, souvenirs and equipment.

    During the course of the week, I met several Malaysian VIPs there, including one of Malaysia's ex-Inspector General of Police. Hmm, didn't know he loved badminton ........

    There were fun and games, and my first glimpse of playing badminton on computers. Kinda crude in movement, but here, the crowd is interested.

    Pictures here .....

    Badminton Eat1.jpg
    One of the food stalls, manned by Cadbury

    Badminton Game2.jpg
    Badminton Game1.jpg
    Ah, the games we play!!!

    Badminton Honour.jpg
    All England Roll of Honour, dating back a hundred years

    Badminton UK.jpg
    Badminton UK booth, join up and you get to buy concession tickets to the BWF World Championships ..... and use their Premier Lounge with OSIM Chairs

    Badminton Merchandise4.jpg
    This had been tested to perform. The foot, I mean. Not the shoes .....

    Badminton Merchandise5.jpg
    All England 2011 Souvenir T-Shirts

    Badminton Merchandise3.jpg
    Yonex Racquet Booth

    Badminton Merchandise1.jpg
    Cheap sale of All England Sweater Jackets during finals day, only GBP15 each. Should have bought 3 more ......

    Badminton Merchandise2.jpg
    The weapon that slayed the Dragon!!!
     
  11. limsy

    limsy Regular Member

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    thanks for sharing abedeng
    hehe
     
  12. tjl_vanguard

    tjl_vanguard Regular Member

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    nice... seems like u had loads of fun! :D
     
  13. Blurry D

    Blurry D Regular Member

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    I see a talbot torro racket in use.. wow haha
     
  14. abedeng

    abedeng Regular Member

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    Spectator Action ......

    Yup, now we come to the greatest part of what makes badminton great. Not the players, nor even the Arena itself. But the spectators ...... :D

    Groups of fans not that much older than limsy decked themselves in "battlegear", shouting in unison, and even singing folk songs. The Malaysian kids and Indonesian camp brought the most colour and variety into the Arena, while the Danish supporters were the most structured.

    Koreans and Japanese alike were the most disciplined, and the Chinese had the biggest flags ever. And for the first time ever, I saw groups of Russians ....... no doubt watching the progress of lovely Anastasia Russkikh. Too bad there weren't that many Indians, testament to the fact that Saina Nehwal and her teammates failed to do well here.

    Pics here:

    SupporterINA.jpg
    Indonesian supporters at the top tier, still going strong on semifinals day .....

    SupporterCHN.jpg
    But by the next day, they were overrun by the Chinese

    SupporterMAS2.jpg
    Excited Malaysian girls, this was during the Koo Kien Kiat/Tan Boon Heong vs Cai Yun/Fu Haifeng match

    SupporterMAS1.jpg
    The most fanatical Malaysian fans were located here, complete with their kompang drums orchestra

    SupporterMAS4.jpg
    SupporterMAS3.jpg
    Pictures of a very dedicated fan
     
  15. abedeng

    abedeng Regular Member

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    Pictures of Players .......

    ..... were few and far between. Not being equipped with a bazooka, I wasn't going to waste my time taking action pictures. Better to just follow the live action on Russian binoculars.

    But then, there is Eriko Hirose. It doesn't seem to do her justice if I don't snap a couple of pix, even from extremely long range ..... :D

    Hirose1.jpg
    Nice defensive pose against Nedelcheva

    Hirose2.jpg
    Hirose3.jpg
    In the final match against Wang Shixian

    Hirose4.jpg
    Taking instructions from Kanako Yonekura

    Hirose5.jpg
    "Ouch!! My back hurts!" Wang Shixian complains
     
  16. abedeng

    abedeng Regular Member

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    The Most Highly Anticipated Match ........

    ........ was of course, the battle between the defending men' singles champion against the Olympic and Asian Games champion. One of the more mature matches between the two, now that they've both gotten quite, ahem, old. No more superfast movements from start to finish as seen up to 2 years ago. But still, you could see the quality that engulfs both of 'em, quality that cannot be seen when they play any lesser mortal. Or probably ever again once they retire.

    Here are the pics of the winning moments:-

    LCW1.jpg
    A smile that shows supreme confidence

    LCW2.jpg
    LCW3.jpg
    Celebration of thanks after nailing the winning point

    LCW4.jpg
    LCW5.jpg
    And here comes the hugs and kisses .......

    LD.jpg
    The runner-up acknowledges the crowd

    LCW6.jpg
    The trophy is hoisted aloft

    LCW7.jpg
    The victory lap

    No sooner than after I had snapped the victory lap picture, that 30 seconds later, I was already on my way out to the New Street Station, to catch the 1800 train to Birmingham International.
     
  17. Lindanftw

    Lindanftw Regular Member

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    nice photos man
     

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