Yonex California High School State Championship

July 21, 2008, 12:41 p.m. (ET)

With the growth of the sport at an unprecedented rate, the opening of new Badminton facilities can't even keep up with the number of people playing. Northern California alone now has 9 dedicated facilities to ease the growing needs of the sport. The time has come, perhaps none too soon, to have the State High School Championship. When Yonex approached me to set up the first Yonex California High School Championship, I was thrilled to be a part of history. First, I had to get the approval from the 2 largest sections of CIF in Northern California to stage the tournament. While other sports have their High School All?Star set, it is not so with Badminton. After going through all the rules and regulations pertaining to High School Sports, we got the thumbs?up to proceed. However, we did have to change the title to the California All?Star Junior Championship. With the help of Ben Lee from Bay Badminton Club and our former 1992 U.S.Olympian, we set out to field the best High School team in Northern California, though there was not much time to work with. The idea of the Championship, the brainchild of Mr. Hiroaki Ebihara of Yonex was brought up close to the end of the High School Competition. We invited winners of the NCS and CCS competitions, and if for some reason they are not available, we would then go to the finalists. Next was to pick Mr Ambrish Batheja as the NCS Coach and Mr. Wesley Hsieh as the Coach for CCS. With a caravan of three vans, 16 over?excited High School kids, 2 Coaches, 2 very?tired Managers, a wife and a toddler, we left and arrived at our destination safely. This North vs. South competition took the Sudirman Cup format with the NCS and CCS teams representing the North. The first team played against each other one day, followed by the second team the next day. The accumulation of the wins and losses determines the result of the competition. Although the results were indicative of the strength of each Region, the spirit was not. Everyone played their heart out, and every match had its moment. The Team was treated with entertaining U.S. Open matches, meeting the U.S. Olympians, and a Banquet honoring their accomplishment as Representatives of the best in High School Badminton. Many thanks to:Mr. and Mrs. Don and Kim Chew of K & D Graphics, Mr. Hiroaki Ebihara of Yonex, Ms. Nancy Lazenby Blaser(Commissioner of CCS), Mr Gil Lemmon(Commissioner of NCS), Mr. Tom Wilmshurst for his excellence photography, and all the people that have made this event a successful one.