badminton gold

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

My earliest memory of watching badminton was that defining match when Rashid Sidek beat Jono Suprianto to reach the semi finals of the Olympics in Atlanta.

I was 11 and it made me want to pick up a badminton racquet which then turned out to be one of the sports I'd frequently play. Was I a pro? Not at all, but I could get in a couple of forehand smashes every now and then!

Ask any Malaysian, and badminton will always have a soft sport in our hearts thanks to the men's doubles bronze medal won by Razif and Jalani Sidek back in '92. First Olympic medal ever for Malaysia.

Also, we've had 4 world number ones since including one Dato Lee Chong Wei. You may have heard of him. He's only held the title ranking of World No 1 for more than a year, a triple silver Olympic medallist and basically a national hero.

Fast forward a few years later and I've had the pleasure of covering various badminton tournaments on the job. Some of the highlights include the Legends Vision Exhibition and the Sudirman Cup 2017 in Gold Coast.

One of the most anticipated badminton events locally is the Malaysia Masters, and it's going to get significantly bigger.

I had the chance to witness the signing ceremony between Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) with Japan's car manufacturer Daihatsu Motor Corporation.

This collaboration raises the status of the tournament from GP Gold to a Super Series level with an increased prize money from USD120,000 to USD350,000.

To quote BAM President Datuk Seri Mohamed Norza Zakaria at the ceremony - "With the Malaysia Masters upgraded to Super Series, the level of competition and status of the tournament will also increase and feature at least 10 top players in the world".

What that means to us fans, more exciting matches and possibly the chance to take a selfie with players like Viktor Axelsen and Son Wan-ho! 

Staging premier tournaments locally will also benefit our national players to thrive and inspire the next generation.

Speaking of the next generation of players, the executive officer of Daihatsu Motor Co, Osamu Naruse is commited to support the development of badminton in Malaysia saying, "Daihatsu will continue to deepen its interaction with customers and local communities through sports thereby bring new optimism to their lives".

Mark your calendars as the Perodua Malaysia Masters 2018, presented by Daihatsu will take place at the Axiata Arena in Bukit Jalil from the 16th - 21st of January 2018. Can't wait!
xo - Reem 

anfield revamped

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Believe all the hype - times that by a hundred!

That's how I felt stepping into the new extended Main Stand during the first home game of the 17/18 season vs Crystal Palace. 

The Kop end hasn't been touched and is still one of my favourite parts.

I already loved the stadium before renovations (last visited Jan 2016) - I mean this blog is called thekopsalad. Biased judgement will exist. History is plastered on every bit of wall and floor you step on so any signs of the former structure being run down was overlooked.

With the new upgraded stand though, I couldn't feel more proud for the club. I appreciate how they blended the essence of the former with the new. Modern yet historic. Where the future and past collide. I'm guilty of being too sentimental but honestly they couldn't have done it any better.

There were many of these homages dedicated to legends of the club but Stevie was just something else for me. 

Singing along to YNWA with 54,000 other people. The magic only happens here.
There's a brand new foyer for food and drinks with television screens on the inside and a mini live acoustic band that plays before kick off as well. 

The new megastore was launched just days before, so I was super excited to be one of the first few thousands to experience it. 19,500 square feet of merchandise, cafe and even a video wall - what's not to love? 

I cannot get enough of this wall at the exit of the store. Pretty much everything LFC is built on and has thrived from is written here. I need this in my house!

 More from the trip - visiting Melwood on the next post.

xo Reem

international champions cup - singapore

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Can we just take a moment to celebrate the return of the Premier League this weekend? CHEERS.

Relative to Euros last year and a quiet work front, that break was the longest ever. So long I almost forgot the thrill of watching a goal scored.

When I received the invite to the inaugural International Champions Cup (ICC) Singapore in my mail, it was no joke, like finding water after having walked the desert for miles. Lucky for me this was no mirage! 

Of the three matches, I caught the last two.

I was really looking forward to watch Bayern Munich play but the game versus Inter Milan was tame at best. Granted, intensity and pace are not what you'd expect from a friendly because god forbid anyone gets injured weeks before the start of a new season. 

I had been to the Sports Hub before for the WTA finals but that was held in the Indoor Stadium. So this was actually my first time in the National Stadium and honestly, Singapore, you get it right every time. Bowl cooling air system pumped from under your seats? Win.

In between match days we custom made perfume at Oo La Lab and visited the National Gallery.
I can't believe I'd overlooked it all these years. I mean, every Malaysian pretty much travels to Singapore at least once a year but have you ever given the National Gallery a thought? No.
Which is odd since I love visiting museums and art centres when I travel to Europe or the US. 

The Yayoi Kusama exhibition aside (because that alone is reason enough to visit), the gallery is stunning. It reminded me so much of the Tate and even a smaller version of the Met. Even if you're not an art fan you should pop by the cafe downstairs to get a glimpse of the cultured.

Excuse the eyebags.

The third (second for me), and last match of the ICC between Inter and Chelsea 
was a lot more exciting. 
An Inter win would guarantee them winners of the tournament and Chelsea did as much as they could to stop that. More goals, a foul, a penalty - you get the drill. 

With wins over the champs of Germany and England, Inter deserved to take home the ICC cup.
While stadium numbers weren't overwhelming - to be fair it's the first year - the organisation of the tournament was pretty much flawless and up to international standards. 

The ICC Singapore experience wouldn't be complete without this.

We stayed at the Marina Mandarin with this view from our room. We weren't sponsored by the hotel but they were really hospitable and took care of us so well throughout our stay by bringing over drinks and snacks to our room, giving access to the lounge (which serves chilli crabs guys!!!) and delivering clothes I left behind right back home to me. I'm so eternally grateful to be reunited with my favourite cardigans - so here's a big thank you to the employees at Marina Mandarin especially Ravi for going above and beyond with their guests. 
Bonus tip: you even get a view of the National Stadium from the lounge at the 21st floor!

Speaking of stadiums, I'm revisiting a FAVOURITE next week which I can't wait to share on this blog. This one's for the Reds :)

xo Reem
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