It has been a season of firsts at London Academy. Saturday 23rd of April was no exception.
In a day of full of twists and turns Yacoub Rahmani Walrentskya ran out as the winner of our first ever super Series 1 Star Tournament.
This was out first ever 1 Star Under 11 Mixed event and it proved to be one of the most enjoyable days of the year so far.
25 young players battled for over six hours in two hard fought sessions to see who would be crowned champion on the day. The format was another first for us. Instead of the traditional group stages followed by knockouts we ran two round robin stage in the morning and afternoon.
We had five groups of five players in the morning session. The winners of each group went into the championship band in the afternoon. This way every player got to play 8 matches and the competition in the afternoon was ferocious.
Medals were awarded to the first, second and third placed player in each group which meant we had 15 medal winners on the day.
Our top group in the afternoon saw siblings Yacoub and Soraya Rahmani-Walentynska, compete against Stephan Pop, Zacharia Sarri, and the impressive newcomer Jia Jun Liu. Although Zach and Liu set the pace with early wins, it was Yacoub who made the most impressive start by coming back from 10-4 down to win in the fifth set against his sister Soraya, the top seed. This was followed by a tough 5 set win over Zach, and an efficient 3 set win over Stephan. Liu matched this with three wins of his own which meant they both went into the final game of the day undefeated. Yocoub, however, was not to be denied, taking the final match in three close sets. Zach ensured that he would go home with the bronze with a five set win over Soraya.
Group 2 saw Zach’s sister Assil sweep the board with 4 wins out of 4. Assil had to work hard to hold off the challenge of visitors Vivaan Karalkar and the talented and determined Violet-Lily Marquis. Like group 1 this came down to the final match of the day with Assil facing Violet Lily for the top spot. In a match which swung both ways, Assil finally manage to win a nail-biting 5th set 11-9.
Vivaan got his hands on third place with a 4 set win over Inayah Zasella.
The middle band proved to be the most competitive on the day with every match going to at least 4 sets. Despite losing to Hugo in the fourth match of the afternoon, Adam Riadi won gold with three wins out of 4. The remaining places went down to a countback between Hugo, Nicolas and Chloe Kniep. In the end even set averages could not separate the three players and it went down to points.
Hugo took the silver and Nicolas took the bronze with and average of 0.98 compared to Chloe’s 0.97. It really could not have been closer on the day.
The most hard working winner throughout the day was Connor Godley, who had to win two marathon 5-set matches to take gold in group 4. In the end only 2 points separated him from silver medal winner Mohammed Rahdy. Third place went to Donika Aliu, who battled hard to take the bronze with a last ditch win over Leah Brown.
Pride of place in our last group went to newcomer Logan McFarlane. Logan bounced back from a tough morning group to win every game in the afternoon, beating London Academy regulars Serene Rahmani-Walentynska, Naomi Adjei, Collin Gaman, and Shriya Nimse. Serene took the silver with a convincing win over third placed Collin.
Congratulations to all of young players who were represented themselves and their clubs wonderfully throughout the day. We are already looking forward to our next 1 Star in May.