Red Bull Smash Zone crowned its first ever champions as badminton enthusiasts came together to duel it out for the title of being the best. (Photo by VoxSports)
Smash Zone is Red Bull’s first foray into badminton and the tournament featured a new way to score points, leading to exciting plays on the court.
Players could now score three points instantly, provided a shot landed within the blue zone demarcated as the ‘Smash Zone’. As the name indicated, it was easier to hit that area with a smash, thus encouraging players to serve up ferocious shots and leave opponents to defend against such aggressive tactics.
It proved so in the male’s category Finals, when Lim Kheng Yang constantly battered former Singaporean representative Andrianus Adi with smashes in order to gain three points.
While Adi admitted it was unnerving, he eventually managed to outplay Lim and earn $600 along with a Ning-N90-III badminton racket as well as the trophy.
Winner of men's category Andrianus Adi (centre) and runner-up Lim Kheng Yang. (Photo by VoxSports)
“It was such an exciting match, I was under a lot of pressure and in the finals my opponent managed to hit one in the Zone to pull closer to me. I tried to do it too but I couldn't, he gave me a tough match,” said Adi.
In the female category, Joy Lim enjoyed a comfortable win over Neo Jasmelia to take home the same prizes as Adi did.
For Neo’s effort, she earned $250, a Li Ning N-90-III badminton racket as well as a runner-up's trophy. The 18-year-old was good-natured about her win, as she joked about how it was frustrating to have met Joy again, after the two met in previous competitions.
In the female category, Joy Lim (left) enjoyed a comfortable win over Neo Jasmelia to take home the coveted title. (Photo by VoxSports)
“I have played against Joy before, so I knew it was going to be difficult. I have always lost to her. I have never gotten champion before, because she is always there!" Neo squealed with a smile.
The tournament also attracted players from abroad, with Lim being one of them.
A Johor state representative, the 20-year-old shared that the unique format of the competition was what prompted him to travel across the Causeway in order to compete in the Smash Zone.
“I feel it's a pity to have lost in the final, but it's okay, it's an experience. I will try again next time. There were strong opponents but if you didn't have these experiences you will never grow,” the runner-up expressed.
Team Singapore’s Derek Wong (below) was also present at the event, in order to play an exhibition match with one of the selected players.
(Photo by VoxSports)
“I was just having fun on court, and hopefully I gave the crowd a good display,” said the nation’s highest ranked shuttler.
Stanly Haizeson was selected to go up against Wong, and he was delighted to have the chance to play with the latter.
"I was extremely lucky to be selected, I mean there are many strong contenders today, so to have been selected out all of them was a privilege.
Stanly made good use of the opportunity to test his skills against the Republic’s best, and even landed a Smash Zone shot against Wong.
“To be honest, I thought I could play better, but to make him sweat at least, I'm proud of myself,” he added.
“I was extremely nervous. Like they all said, Derek Wong is a national player. But I managed to get my groove back, I told myself to do my best and not have any regrets when I walked out of court.”
For Wong, he hoped such event will encourage the public to take up badminton as a sport in the future.
"I can see that there is a young vibrant crowd out there now, and it is also held at SCAPE, so a lot of the young and hip people are here to watch this event so hopefully they will participate in this event in the future," he said.
"In this format, different level of players can come together and play on a level field. Today was a very good example, my opponents can take three points against me. I didn't even have one Smash Zone shot!
"Everyone who wants something new and refreshing can try this; I liked it so hopefully more Singaporeans will try this out and learn to take up badminton."