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"The 18th Daihatsu ABC Badminton National Primary School Tournament" Match Report by Kumiko OGURA

For 3 days from the 14th of August, "The 18th Daihatsu ABC Badminton National Primary School Tournament" was held at the ''HOKKAIDO PREFECTURAL SPORTS CENTER (HOKKAIKITAYELL)'' in Sapporo, Hokkaido.
The heated battles brought about by the prefectural representative players who blazed through the qualifying rounds will be reported by Kumiko OGURA.

I am surprised by the high level of these primary schoolers!

This time, what I felt as I watched the national tournament at the venue was, "The level of primary school students now are really high!".
I think their level has definitely increased since our time as primary school students. Each player possesses good senses towards the racket and shuttle, they are able to hit proper shots, the way they apply spins or feints are at levels unconceivable for juniors and their footwork are flexible too. I felt that their technical level as a whole has increased.
Especially this time, since the matches were fought by powerhouses that had emerged victorious from the qualifying rounds in their respective prefectures, many of them were worth watching.

The one that left the greatest impression on me is this player!

As expected, the match that left the greatest impression on me this time was the finals. Especially towards Sora ISHIOKA (Kita-Hokkaido Representative) who won the finals for the Group A Girls, I felt that her play was mesmerizing. Her shots from above, which was manipulated using her tall height were especially good. On the technical side, her usage of the racket face and sense of impact were there, and I felt the breadth of her plays as well. In addition, she possessed mental strength which allowed her to remain unfazed even at a large stage like the finals at the national tournament. I can say that even amongst the participants of this tournament, she is an overwhelming existence. As I believe she is still growing in height, by building upon more trainings and experiences, and improving the sharpness and application of speed further, there is still great possibility of her growth. She is a player with a bright future.

Another two that left an impression were the finalists of the Group A Boys, Yudai OKIMOTO (Hiroshima representative) and Yuna NAKAGAWA (Saitama representative). NAKAGAWA displayed great sense in each of his plays be it his senses towards the shuttle or his usage of feints. On the other hand, OKIMOTO is a player with great reading skills. This means that he is able to make decisions in a situation instantaneously. This is an absolute requirement for a strong player. The finals fought between these two players was indeed a heated one that was definitely worth watching.

Another player that left an impression was the player that won in the Group B Girls, Suzuka HIRATA (Ibaraki Representative). She is tall as well, and I felt that she possessed great senses which allowed her to react and control her plays freely as she willed. With an imposing and steady playstyle, she is not only a player that can attack, but is also able to utilise her physique to react flexibly. I think that if she continues to keep on with her trainings and adopt greater footwork and speed, she will become a stronger player.

For the Boys, Shuji SAWADA (Kita-Hokkaido Representative) that won the Group B was executing an interesting play. His shots were simply unreadable. He is a player that executes plays that makes it difficult to predict what kind of shot is coming next, and I believe this puts great pressure on the opponent. His straight shots from the back end has great sharpness and this was his ace shot. In general I felt a high level in his techniques, but his physique was still a little shaky. From here on, if he works on his core muscles and practices more on protecting his axis, he will become a more stabilised player.

Interview for the champion

Yudai OKIMOTO (Group A Boys) <Hiroshima Representative>
Yudai OKIMOTO (Group A Boys) <Hiroshima Representative>
Yudai OKIMOTO (Group A Boys) <Hiroshima Representative>

What are your honest thoughts on winning the tournament?

I am happy.

To whom do you wish to convey your feelings to?

Those many people that have supported me thus far.

Why were you able to win the tournament?

I think it was because I was able to display all the results of my daily trainings.

What is your next goal?

Since I was able to become number 1 in Japan, I wish to become a player that is active on the world stage.

Which Badminton player do you like?

Jan O JORGENSEN.

Sora ISHIOKA (Group A Girls) <Kita-Hokkaido Representative>
Sora ISHIOKA (Group A Girls) <Kita-Hokkaido Representative>
Sora ISHIOKA (Group A Girls) <Kita-Hokkaido Representative>

What are your honest thoughts on winning the tournament?

I am so happy.

To whom do you wish to convey your feelings to?

The various people who have supported me so far.

Why were you able to win the tournament?

I was able to head on with strong feelings.

What is your next goal?

To win at the National Primary School Badminton Championship.

Which Badminton player do you like?

LEE Chong Wei.

Shuji SAWADA (Group B Boys) <Kita-Hokkaido Representative>
Shuji SAWADA (Group B Boys) <Kita-Hokkaido Representative>
Shuji SAWADA (Group B Boys) <Kita-Hokkaido Representative>

What are your honest thoughts on winning the tournament?

I am extremely happy.

To whom do you wish to convey your feelings to?

The people from Junior Club.

Why were you able to win the tournament?

I think it was because instead of the opponent's flow, I was able to keep with my flow throughout.

What is your next goal?

To win the National Primary School Badminton Championship.

Which Badminton player do you like?

LIN Dan and LEE Chong Wei.

Suzuka HIRATA (Group B Girls) <Ibaraki Representative>
Suzuka HIRATA (Group B Girls) <Ibaraki Representative>
Suzuka HIRATA (Group B Girls) <Ibaraki Representative>

What are your honest thoughts on winning the tournament?

First and foremost I'm filled with gratitude and happiness.

To whom do you wish to convey your feelings to?

My coach and those who have always supported me.

Why were you able to win the tournament?

I believe it was thanks to my team who practised with me, my coach and my mother's teachings.

What is your next goal?

I would like to do my best for the National Primary School Badminton Championship next.

Which Badminton player do you like?

Ayaka TAKAHASHI and Misaki MATSUTOMO.

Keiju MIYAHARA (Group C Boys) <Fukuoka Representative>
Keiju MIYAHARA (Group C Boys) <Fukuoka Representative>
Keiju MIYAHARA (Group C Boys) <Fukuoka Representative>

What are your honest thoughts on winning the tournament?

I am very happy to that the results of my trainings so far has come to fruition.

To whom do you wish to convey your feelings to?

My coach, my father and my mother.

Why were you able to win the tournament?

My coach who practised with me thus far and also due to my feelings.

What is your next goal?

I hope to be active even at third grade.

Which Badminton player do you like?

LEE Chong Wei.

Sayo OKUDA (Group C Girls) <Kita-Hokkaido Representative>
Sayo OKUDA (Group C Girls) <Kita-Hokkaido Representative>
Sayo OKUDA (Group C Girls) <Kita-Hokkaido Representative>

What are your honest thoughts on winning the tournament?

I am so happy.

To whom do you wish to convey your feelings to?

Everyone in the team.

Why were you able to win the tournament?

I think it was because I practised a lot and practised together with everyone.

What is your next goal?

I want to be the champion again.

Which Badminton player do you like?

Nozomi OKUHARA.

Looking back at this tournament

I think that the players who participated in this tournament this time accumulated significant experiences. I participated in my first national tournament when I was in the sixth grade. There, I hit the so-called "national level wall". But by exposing players from the lower primary level to this kind of tournament, they are able to compete against rivals from the national stage. This teaches them where they stand and also what they lack. Also, by competing at a national tournament, they accumulate experiences and will be less afraid of the big stages.
I believe that through this tournament, both their technical abilities and their mentality have grown a full notch.

This time, as I watched the primary school players compete with all their might, I was reminded of the feelings that I used to have as I frantically chased the shuttle when I had just started playing badminton. To all the seniors who are competing at the world stage, do come down to watch the little one's play and be reminded of the "beginner's heart" that you possessed when you had just started playing.

Messages for the Primary School Players

In comparison to my time, the primary school students now are very blessed in terms of the environment in which they play badminton in. These are the results of the hard work of the seniors at the world stage and the adults. They worked hard in improving the environment while carrying thoughts of strengthening Japan's badminton. If you possess thoughts such as loving badminton, wishing to win and becoming stronger, don't be deterred. Just keep on practising with all your might. Accumulate loads of experiences and matches. Thanks to the work of your seniors at the Olympics and world tournaments, the world stage has become a place that is reachable for all of you. Never forget the joy and frustrations that you have experienced in this national tournament and continue to face badminton head on.

Venue Report

At the Daihatsu booth, cheering goods and drinks were distributed. Original towels were also distributed to the players, and these were great for memories of their national tournament participation. I guess these items were great presents even for the parents and team mates who were here to support the players.
At the area where supportive messages were being collected for the players participating in the Japan Open, and in front of the cut-outs of the All Japan players, droves of children were laughing as they took photos. The whole venue was hyped up and lively, and the atmosphere was really good.

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After the opening ceremony, a demonstration on para-badminton was conducted by the para-badminton players, and they received a large round of applause from the tournament participants and audiences.

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At the car park of the venue, "Free regular inspection of your car" was conducted. A free inspection service by Daihatsu's service staff was provided to event staff and participants who came by their cars.

Domestic Tournament
The 18th Daihatsu ABC Badminton National Primary School Tournament
"The 18th Daihatsu ABC Badminton National Primary School Tournament" Match Report by Kumiko OGURA
Nationals Tournament Overview / Schedule
Qualifying Rounds Report
DAIHATSU astec open
"The 13th DAIHATSU astec open" Match report by Bellaetrix Special Interview with Liliyana
Tournament Overview / Schedule
Result