The Junior developmental tournament series was held in Northeast Badminton club in Somerset, NJ. Two weeks prior the NE Yonex/IBC Open regional, this was held to prepare the youngsters for their very first ranking tournament. The Northeast Open Regional is the 1st in the whole USA to hold the 50% ranking tournament after an almost 2 years hiatus.
The entry fees were subsidized by funds raised from the previous charity event held by NEBA with the idea of making the tournaments more accessible and more affordable and at the same time providing a real tournament experience. Junior players learned how to do staging, how to do proper line judging, play games with umpires and line judges and basically give them a firsthand experience what to expect in a sanctioned tournament. With most players allowed to play same events in different age groups, most of the events were round robin and gave various opportunities for singles, doubles and mixed doubles. Players from PA, NJ and as far away as MA brought their A games and battled it out. Players also enjoyed pizza and medals were awarded to semifinalists and cons winners when cons were held.
The U17 and U19 players were treated to a different event, playing “FUNKY DOUBLES” where anything goes! Players are entered as a WD, MD or XD pair and it was very competitive with 4 groups of 3 in round robin format trying to get out of their group and be at the top.
All in all, it was a very rewarding day. Everyone went home tired, to the victors, medals hanging around their necks, and for all the other kids who weren’t rewarded, the determination to train harder and do better. Smiles all around as they pose for pictures, making new friends, playing the sport we all love, we are then reminded, that we are all winners.