Organized by Asia Federation of Pickleball (AFP)
Hosted by Thai Pickleball Association (TPA) & Pickleball Global (PG)
Goodbye Phuket, till we meet again.
After five days of intensive competition, the final curtain was drawn on April 17th, the last day of the inaugural Asia Pickleball Open at Thanyapura Sports Resort, Phuket.
With more than 660 competitors from 8 countries, the atmosphere was electrifying on all of the fifteen courts throughout the five days. We were blessed with perfect weather under the backdrop of the beautiful Andaman Sea. Thanyapura Sports Resort provided us the perfect facilities to play pickleball. All the courts were under cover, and the plexipave tennis court surface ensured true bounce from every ball. Without this top-notch facility, this tournament would be like Picasso without paint, Rolls Royce without fuel - only worse.
Adding to the exciting atmosphere, most centre court matches were live streamed with three cameras were strategically placed, bringing all the action to our family and friends back home who were happily cheering the players on. Thank you, Scott Golden, for your live commentary and insight to the game of pickleball.
Players made many new friends during the course of the five days meeting pickleball players from different continents. Our Spanish and Australian friends used this tournament as a lead up to their next competition in the US (US Open in Minto). All the best to them. You guys rock!
The sport of pickleball seems to bring out the best of personalities. Not sure why that is, but I suspect it has something to do with the inherent drama in this game of ours (which can have a time-transporting effect - I felt like a 18-year-old boy again while watching the likes of Tyson McGuffin and Daniel Moore doing what they do best).
Both very humble gentleman and true champions, and freely providing tips to all the players they encountered. These two guys epitomize what this game is all about: it's not about the result, it's about the people. Yes, the results and competitions should not be dismissed, but the bottom line is about the athletes, and not just the results and medals.
A big shout out to Thai Pickleball Association (TPA) lead by Khun Napajorn (Pae) with their energetic team members; Thitiworada (Ern), Wongsakorn (Ohm), Seree (Nu), Pakorn (Pa) and Soraya (Tai). And the team of over 20 local officials, many of whom are university students who performed their duties diligently throughout the tournament. We could see their confidence growing day by day, in carrying their Technical Officer duties. Pickleball is such a contagious sport, so much so that many of these students wanted to take up the sport as part of their physical curriculum after this APO.
With a feeling of melancholy, we bid farewell to our Thai tournament hosts, and the tournament director, Jan David, who did a splendid job in putting together this successful competition with 1143 matches, 5 days from 8am till late nights. As with all tournaments, we will also learn from our shortcomings, which would help improve our future tournaments.
Many players managed to take time out to enjoy the many historical sights and beautiful beaches Phuket has to offer, and of course, its famous seafood and affordable street tucker. The streets of Old Phuket Town lined with quaint mouthwatering eateries, and coffee shops. The service provided by the locals typically showcase "the land of smiles".
We can’t wait for the day when Pickleball becomes an Olympic sport.... stay tuned for our next Asia Pickleball Open!