14 - 18 March 2023
Singapore pickleball players had another successful overseas tournament in the 2nd edition of APO (Asia Pickleball Open) in Phuket, Thailand.
This year a total of 359 competitors from 19 countries lodged their registration for the 5 days event. Our contingent of 65 players is the second highest in numbers in terms of total attendees in this year's APO. The host country, Thailand, entered 76 players in this tournament.
There was a total of 47 divisions in this year's event. Singapore players medalled in 22 of them. Our haul of 31 medals is made up of 8 Gold, 11 Silver, and 12 Bronze.
Our dynamic duo, Pini and Varsha (Women Doubles 50+ Open Division), won Gold again, following their previous successes in Bali, the Bainbridge Cup in India, and the US Nationals.
Pini successfully defended her Triple Crown which she won in the First Edition of APO in 2022....50+ Open Women's Singles, Doubles (with Varsha), and Mixed Doubles (with her Aussie partner, Martin Clark).
To top off the successful tournament for our picklers, team Hotshot Singapore/ Korea also won Silver in the Team event, behind one of the powerhouses of pickleball in this part of the world, our good mates, Australia. Team India won the Bronze and Taiwan came in 4th. A total of 12 teams took part in this event.
A stand out in this year's tournament is that we saw so many of our local players partnering new found friends from other countries. It's a small world afterall, and friendship has no high walls or boundaries.
These partnerships are admirable. They are not easy to form, as the players don't play with each other often and know little about each other's playing style. But more often than not, the outcome of a game isn't the point - the experience, the exercise and social aspect are much more valuable.
Thanyapura Health and Sports Resort is a perfect home away from home. Phuket has this calm ambience that enables natural bonding and forming new friendships.
Tournament aside, the after games party and get together with our group of friends carries just as much "weight", if not more so, than the tournament itself. Many photos are testament to this.....
Looks like all are having a good time, many of them are better drinkers than dinkers.
As poet John Donne once penned, “no man is an island.” As humans, we need other people, and we need close relationships. Our personal wellbeing, both physical and emotional, is tied up in the quality of our friendships and partnerships, so these special get-togethers can work wonders for our health and happiness. Not only is gathering together enjoyable, but it also nurtures our most important relationships and promotes a sense of belonging.
All good things must come to an end. It had been an enjoyable 5 days, well balanced between intense competition and social gatherings of good friends....
We like to thank Skechers Singapore for the sponsorship of clothing for our travelling contingent. Much appreciated.
Article Contributor: John Ng
Photo credits: Jolene Tan