Pickleball Magazine 2-3 - Page 60

The First Bangkok Open Pickleball Tournament BY SUNIL VALAVALKAR T he Bangkok Open Pickleball Tournament took place at the Santisuk English School on February 19 and involved an international cast including players from Thailand, India, the U.S., Australia, Vietnam and several other Asian countries. Although it wasn’t an IFP-sanctioned tournament, the event reflected a high standard of organization and competition. It all started in December 2016, when Steve Cable sent an email to me inviting Indian players to join the tournament. We didn’t expect a huge response, but a week before the sign-up deadline, there were over 30 requests from players all across India. The picklers responded out of pure passion, willing to cover all travel costs on their own. In the end, there were five players from state of Maharashtra, nine from Rajasthan, four from Bihar, two from Jharkhand and three from Uttarakhand. Rahul Wani created playing kits for the whole team consisting of blazers, trousers and shirts displaying AIPA’s logo and the Indian national flag. 58 Even though high-level Indian picklers like Manish Rao, Atul Edward, Shanai Mehta and Anish Mehta have competed in international tournaments before, none have ever done so on behalf of their country. As such, it was a special treat to see a pickleball team in their national colors for the first time. The tournament consisted of three events: men’s doubles, mixed doubles and women’s doubles. The initial rounds were played in a round-robin style, where four groups had to play three matches. The top two teams from each group qualified for the knock-out rounds. The following pairs from India reached the qualifying rounds in men’s doubles: Manish and Sachin, Dr. Bharat and Ashwani, Anand and Siddarth, and Gajendra and Gourav. The three medal positions would all be won by Indian players, but it was anyone’s guess as to which pair would come out on top. While playing the semi-finals against Anand and Siddarth, Sachin started cramping. He tried to continue TO SUBSCRIBE CALL 888.308.3720 OR GO TO THEPICKLEBALLMAG.COM