★ Yonex Belgian International 2011

For the 7th year in a row, I was part of the group that makes this badminton tournament happen. The tournament is part of the Badminton Europe Circuit and it is highly regarded within the circuit of both it’s organization and it’s accommodation. The daily organization is done by a couple of people working for the Badminton federation, but during the tournament, a group of volunteers come together to help out.

And that group of people is what makes this week something I look forward to. Starting Tuesday morning, we were on the road, picking stuff up at different locations, gathering everything we needed at Sportoase in Leuven. And it basically doesn’t stop after that. Tuesday evening the light and sound guys arrive, on Wednesday we finish the hall, the dining area, the ticketing stand, the tournament office, ?

From Tuesday morning to Wednesday afternoon, we transform this:

DSC_4399

Into this:

Sportoase Leuven (Before tournament on Wednesday evening)

On Thursday the tournament starts and everyone is busy with their assigned tasks. I divided my time manning the live-stream, taking pictures and doing everything and anything else when needed. (I spent most of Friday afternoon at the emergency room, accompanying a Danish player that got injured during his match)

On Saturday we change the hall from 6 to 2 courts in the afternoon and from 2 to 1 court in the evening. Plus we add the podium, the car, loads and loads of carpet to cover all the floor. This year, we had national sports television coverage for the first time so everyone was a little on their toes. The TV crew arrived at 7h15 on Sunday morning so after another short night, we were back at Sportoase to make sure everything went smoothly. The result:

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The days are long (usually I get up around 7 and I’m back home by 1 in the morning), the work is hard and after an entire week, you’re completely exhausted. But it’s working with this amazing group of people that makes it all worth it. Most of us don’t see each other often and some even only during the tournament, yet this week is something I (and I think many of the others) look forward to. It’s great to be around these people and to make this event possible. See you all back in September 2012.

You can find the rest of my photos here

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