The anticipation of a long flight never gets old with making sure you have enough provisions and films to survive a 13/14 hours sitting in the same place. Luckily with enough chocolate and polos I managed it! Of course, the second I stepped off the flight in Bangkok, I was hit with a wall of 80-100% humidity and 38ºC – not much fun! Thankfully, most places had air conditioning which created another challenge to survive during the walk outside between the venue and the hotel! However, upon the arrival at the hotel there was a noticeable difference in the guests in the hotel compared to a normal badminton tournament. The hotel was full of BlackPink fans obviously dressed in black and pink as there was a concert in the stadium directly in between the hotel and badminton venue! Unfortunately, all of the tickets were sold out (I did try!) but managed to catch a glimpse whilst wandering around the stadium and dodging thunder showers. Fortunately, the BlackPink concert wasn’t continuing throughout the duration of the tournament which meant things returned closer to the norm. However, it seemed that the Thailand organisers must have been aware of the concert as the umpires seemed to be very big fans as the uniform for the week was also black and pink!
The tournament was a fantastic experience, the Thai people were so hospitable and made all the overseas umpires feel so welcome with mountains of snacks and delicacies to try! This was something we definitely needed as the event definitely got their money’s worth from the volunteers! One of the days of the event started at 8am and finished at 2am the next morning! Not a problem! We’ve all been there at a badminton tournament, however, not usually followed by another briefing at 8am for another 12-hour shift! Nevertheless, it was an extremely lovely event which I’d love to return to at any time!
After working on the first final in Thailand, I then made my way to the airport for my flight to Singapore. Unfortunately, although I had said my goodbyes to my fellow colleagues at the arena as my flight was earlier, I then happened to say hello to them again at the airport! A 4/5-hour delay was bound to happen! Although, maybe it was worth it for the snacks that Singapore airlines provided whilst waiting! Arriving in Singapore in the early hours, I unfortunately wasn’t able to fully experience the airport as my goal at 4am was to get to my bed asap! After some much needed sleep, it was suddenly time for briefing, a BWF workshop and the obligatory welcome chat between the assessors and candidates.
Following the first match nerves, everyone settled down and had a fantastic week with all candidates passing the assessment for BWF. It was a great relief to finally know that we did it! Now would be the normal time to celebrate wouldn’t it! However, the referee had other plans, as the umpire numbers were so low, the candidates were selected to be working in semi finals and finals which meant celebrations had to be postponed slightly. However, once the finals were finished, some sightseeing could be had around the famous marina bay followed by a lovely group meal to end not only a great tournament, but also a fantastic result! It will certainly be a tournament and experience that I will never forget!
The Association would like to heartily congratulate David on his magnificent achievement on becoming BWF Umpire !