SJRS Father & Son 2022 Badminton Tournament

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The weekend of 25/26 November 2022 saw the 2nd father and son badminton tournament take place. The bar had been set really high after the success of the inaugural competition in 2021.

32 pairs in the age 6-10 year category had signed up and 40 pairs in age 11-16.

Day one – age 6-10

As dads and boys arrived and registered, the hall filled with excitement, camaraderie and banter. Ooooohs resounded around the hall as everyone noticed the big screen TV by the registration desk – the scoring system had gone high-tech this year! Last year, the tournament was held in a 4-court hall. This year, we returned to our pre-Covid home ground at Aldenham School which holds 9 courts. Many new pairs had signed up this year, having caught the badminton bug.

Another development this year was that the briefing had been delivered by way of a pre-recorded video broadcast which was fully informative and entertaining with much positive feedback received.

After a short welcome speech the matches started. Rackets were raised and ready, players were bouncing ‘on their toes’ and soon the shuttles started flying. Shouts of ‘yours’ and ‘mine’, words of encouragement, fist pumps and high 5’s between dads and sons – it was a lovely show of bonding.

Scores were being updated on the ‘Tournify’ system and updating in real time on the big screen and the app. Once all group stage matches were completed, players who had made it through to the round of 16 stepped back on court. Soon this number was whittled down to the last 8, then 4 and then finally the last 2 pairs took their positions on centre court for the final. Whilst all this was going on, spectators were enjoying refreshments of Karak chai courtesy of The Hubb restaurant, mandazi and crisps. There’s nothing like a tense competition to make one peckish!

As the shuttle was tossed to determine who would begin, murmurs could be heard reminiscing last year’s final. The same 2 pairs were on court – Kermali vs Muraj. The 2021 champions were keen to defend their title and the runners up were out to fight and take the winning title.

The atmosphere was tense, the hall was quiet. The match was umpired by SJ boys long standing and admired coach, Keith Burns. Both pairs played with determination, with the youngsters showcasing their improved skill and development from last year. However, last year’s runners up started inching ahead and jubilantly won the game at 21-10! Cheers erupted and SJ Head of Sport, Tauseef Kanji, was invited to present the trophies. What an end to the day!

However, in just a few hours, the excitement was to start again for the age 11-16 competition.

The format was the same  – 8 groups with the top 2 going through from each to the round of 16. Watching the level of play in youngsters in this category was beautiful. The movement, the technical play, the tactics – all demonstrated how much our children have developed their game.

Once again, 16 went down to 8, to 4 and then to the final 2. And in the same fashion as the younger age category, the same 2 pairs as 2021 stepped onto court for the final. Would the reigning champions, Aarif and Suhail Merali hold on to their reign? Or would the coveted title go to last year’s runners up Arif and Muhammad Ali Chandoo?

Benches were placed around the court. SJ youth badminton coordinator Mustafa Muraj was invited to umpire the match. Live scores were shown on the big screen.

Once more there was hush in the hall. The squeak of soles on the floor, the ping of strings hitting shuttle, shouts of yours/mine, intermittent gasps from the crowd as the points climbed fairly evenly all added to the atmosphere. The Chandoos play was stunning and the final score ended at 21-16 to them. The runners up from 2021 had claimed the title as 2022 champions!!

Head of Gents Sports & Trustee, Shaneabbas Merali was invited to say a few words and present the trophies to both pairs. There were handshakes, paparazzi style photography and many words of congratulations as both pairs received their prizes.

Once again, we thank all donors, helpers and organisers for their dedication in making this tournament a success. A special shout out to our SJ youth badminton coach, Keith Burns of ABC Coaching / Abbey Badminton Club for his input and help throughout.

The question on everyone’s lips now is ‘how will 2023 top 2022??’