Tournament Tips: Arizona’s Sun City Festival Pickleball Club on Brackets and Delegation

For Ann Purvis, pickleball is a community affair. Seven years ago, her husband bought her a paddle and they embarked on their pickleball journey together. The two of them began taking lessons together. As they honed their skills, Ann and her husband began teaching the rest of their family the joys of the sport. Now, Ann enjoys playing with her children and grandchildren when they all get together.

annpurvis1

Ann Purvis at an archaeological dig in Mesa Verde.

 

Ann became fully immersed in Buckeye, Arizona’s Sun City Festival Pickleball Club. Four years after she first picked up a paddle, Ann found herself with a unique opportunity. The President of the Club needed volunteers to learn how to put on a tournament. Six members volunteered. One of them was Ann. With three years of experience under her belt, she was kind enough to share some advice with PickleballCentral.

What is the name of your tournament?

The Sun City Festival In House Pickleball Tournament.

Was there a club hosting the tournament? Name of the club?

scf

The Sun City Festival Pickleball Club. Our club currently has a little over 500 members.

When was your tournament?

It was this past year. March 20 through 23, with a scheduled rain day on March 24.

Where was your tournament?

Sun City Festival Pickleball Courts located in Buckeye, Arizona.

How many players registered for the tournament?

We had 162 registrants.

How many courts were available for the tournament? Indoor court or outdoor courts?

overhead

Eight outdoor courts. Hence the need for a rain day!

What events/brackets did you offer? 

Since we are a retirement community, we broke the brackets into skill levels. We wanted new members to have the tournament experience and created round robin brackets just for them. They were able to have a tournament experience while playing with people they play with every day.

Did you have a team working with you? What were their delegated tasks/roles?

Absolutely! The more people who are involved, the better the tournament and the learning experience. We had lots of committees so people did not have to spend their entire lives on the tournament. Committees were:

Set Up and Clean Up
Vendors
Volunteers
Photography
Referees
Food/Snacks/Hydration
Raffle
First Aid/Safety
Registration
We also did a lot of cross-training and mentoring.

Did you seek sponsors for your tournament? Who were the sponsors? What did the sponsor contribute?

We did have sponsors. Most of them run small businesses in the community and people who participated in the tournament knew them. We charged $25 and a banner. We displayed the banners prominently.

We also had vendors who set up tables and sold their wares. Some of these were from the community and some were national. We offered them a choice of days since there was another tournament going on at the same time. Most came for two days.  The fee was $25. We provided the tables.

Did you offer refreshments? Or sell food/drink at the event?

We did have a Food/Snacks/Hydration table where we offered players and volunteers oranges, bananas, cookies, pretzels, water and Gatorade. That was to support the players. We also had a food vendor who sold breakfast, lunch and drinks at the event.

Did you charge a registration fee? How much?

This was an in-house tournament fee of $20.

Anything special or unique about your tournament?

Our club hosted the USAPA Nationals for the first six years the tournament was held. It is important to know that this tournament was started in order to teach our members how to put on a tournament and how to participate in a real tournament.

What are your top tips for people putting on a tournament like yours?

Choose your team carefully. Everyone on the team must be a self-starter and must be willing to take on other jobs to make sure the tournament works. The goal is to have the players enjoy their play and to make sure only the team knows when things go wrong.

Having mentors on the team was very helpful. They knew several tournament jobs and were able to help others learn and fill in when there was a problem. Also, having people on the team and in the community who knew how to operate pickleballtournaments.com was a great help.

Develop a checklist and a budget for your tournament.

Most importantly, having a supportive community and club are keys to success.

Tournament Tips: Surf City Pickleball on Divisions and Multiple Courts

Diana Abruscato fell in love with the sport of tennis back in the 4th grade. After breaking her leg surfing, the former USTA-sponsored and rated tennis player was never able to cover the court like she used to. Looking to scratch the competitive itch she once felt, Diana found, and inevitably fell in love with, pickleball.

Immediately becoming an USAPA Ambassador, Diana naturally evolved into the role of Tournament Director. She was kind enough to share some tips with us on how to make your pickleball tournaments enjoyable for all within the community.

Diana Abruscato with Tournament Group

Diana, the Tournament Director, front and center for festivities!

What is the name of your tournament?
Surf City Pickleball Tournament

Was there a club hosting the tournament? Name of the club?
Surf City Pickleball is an all-volunteer, fully-functioning program facilitated by Les Taylor, Catherine Navetta and myself.

When was your tournament?
The 1st Annual Surf City Pickleball Tournament was held in August of 2016. We were so excited that we began preparing in November for our 2nd Annual Surf City Pickleball Tournament scheduled for August 4-6, 2017.

We chose this time of year because the tournament calendar was open to the pickleball tournament community at the time in Southern California. We also selected this schedule because during the summer, we are the coolest place to play!

Pickleball-playing statue

Where was your tournament?
Murdy Community Park
7000 Norma Drive
Huntington Beach, CA 92647

Surf City Pier
How many players registered for the tournament?
Our first year we had 276 players. It was the largest tournament in Orange, San Diego, Los Angeles and Ventura Counties, including the Central Coast of California. In May of 2017, we had 218 players signed up thus far. We are on the way to meeting or exceeding our expectations. We are going to have some fun again this year!

Paul and Sean

Paul and Sean Leaf readying for some defense

How many courts were available for the tournament? Indoor court or outdoor courts?
We have 12 lighted, wind-screened, outdoor courts with room for inside seating and shaded tree areas. Towards the end of the day, dedicate 4 courts to host medal matches. That allows for spectators to watch with plenty of room inside the court area to enjoy a front row seat. We have room for 16 courts, however, players enjoy the roomier feel.

Richelle Danielle

Richelle Kulju (L) & (R) Carrie Dye in an intense pickleball battle!

What events/brackets did you offer? 
We offer a skill-based tournament. Our committee has agreed that this offering seems to really appeal to players in all skill levels and all ages. Our skill-based tournament by design, is very workable and true to original tournaments.

We like the idea that if a player feels up to the challenge of playing in that particular division/skill level, regardless of age, they can. It provides the younger folks the opportunity to embrace the maturity of the older players, and the older players have the opportunity to challenge themselves a bit by playing in an all-age category. It’s comprehensive and inclusive to meet the wider range of players coming into the pickleball tournament community. This format is tried and a true measure of success. We offer Men’s, Mixed and Women’s. Skill levels include 3.0 – 5.0+.

Diana and Catherine

Diana strikes a pose with IT Volunteer, Catherine Navetta

Did you have a team working with you? What were their delegated tasks/roles?
The Surf City Pickleball Tournament is hosted by an impeccable bunch of hand-picked talent of an all-volunteer Tournament Planning Committee.
They are:

  • Tournament Director: Diana Abruscato
  • Co-TD & Referee Manager: Craig Haas
  • IT: Catherine Navetta and James Chretien
  • Court Preparation/MVP: Les Taylor
  • Our Friendly Registration Committee: Tami Bearardi, Dorinda Jung, Elaine Metz, and Bunny Estrera
  • Concessions: Ruth Woldhuis
  • First-Aid Station: Bryan Tice, EMT.

The most important decision when selecting a committee is to make sure that fluidity and a good flow exists among personalities within the group. At times, we all have to make tough decisions. You have to make sure we are enjoying the conversation while arriving at a tough decision. Our Tournament Planning Team has this ability, and we have mastered the art of it, which makes for loads of fun!

Did you seek sponsors for your tournament? Who were the sponsors? What did the sponsor contribute?
Tournaments must rely on sponsorships, as this can determine the measurement of success of a tournament. When pursuing a sponsorship, the most important element is to make sure the agreement is mutually beneficial. We have pickleball industry sponsors and community-based sponsors. For our tournament, our sponsors have contributed company-branded products and services for distribution at the tournament.  Durafast 40 (featured below) is the tournament ball provided by Pickleball Central.

Did you offer refreshments? Or sell food/drink at the event?
We offer complimentary healthy snack options such as  fresh fruit, closed-package snack items, Gatorade. and water all three days of the tournament. Most players do not eat full meals while playing, and are looking for healthier bites to get them through the next match without weighing themselves down with a heavier meal.

At the end of the tournament day, everyone can enjoy an entertaining meal in our beautiful and historic downtown beach vacation venue at the pier. For 2017, the US Open of Surfing will be gracing our waves at the pier for all to enjoy!

Dura pickleball in the sun

Surf’s up with Dura Fast 40!

We do encourage players to bring sandwiches or take advantage of the grocery store option, Sprouts, within walking distance from the venue.

Did you charge a registration fee? How much?
We have to charge a registration fee and the price is determined by the cost to rent the facility, court rentals, required insurances, pickleballtournaments.com fees, transaction fees, truck rentals, food costs, t-shirt costs, and much more.

To encourage your city to invest in pickleball, renting a city facility is very costly. However, our committee prides ourselves on keeping the registration costs down. We know folks are traveling far and wide to join our fun-filled tournament. We want our folks to enjoy the rest of their stay here in Huntington Beach, California. We charge $50.00 a flat fee that includes playing in 2 divisions.

Anything special or unique about your tournament?
There are so many unique qualities about the Surf City Pickleball Tournament. A tidbit is that a Huntington Beach City Council Member, Jill Hardy, will be singing our National Anthem.

Our city photographer has been running the tournament video on our local HB Website and TV channel for the last year. We hope to have it USAPA Live Streamed for 2017. We are still working on that possibility.

Other than that, our hidden treasures are kept close to our hearts, as you will have to come out and see for yourself, and experience our generous spirit! The same weekend of our pickleball tournament the, US Open of Surfing Finals will be gracing our waves at the pier for all to enjoy!  Come out and see what it is all about. Go to http://www.pickleballtournaments.com to register.

Surf City pickleball medalists

What is your top tips for people putting on a tournament like yours?
Keep your divisions at a predetermined, limited number that corresponds to the amount of courts you have.

Payment = registered
No payment = not registered

On a side note, I would just like to share something with other USAPA Sanctioned Tournament Directors and Ambassadors. The sentiment among the USAPA Pickleball Tournament Director Community it that it is a professional courtesy to hold a USAPA Sanctioned Tournament 1 month apart from each other in the same region. If you are planning to a new USAPA Sanctioned Tournament, keep the 1 month apart timing in mind, and try not to hold tournaments on the same weekend as another one in your region. Please, be courteous to your neighboring cities.

The IFP Bainbridge Cup 2017 – Pickleball History in the Making

It’s a rare moment indeed when you can be part of an historic sporting event.

In 1927, when Great Britain visited the United States to play in the first Ryder Cup, they had no idea the spectacle it would become. Nor did fans or players foresee how big the World Cup would grow when they experienced the first Cup in Uruguay in 1930.

International Pickleball Tournament - Spain 2016

International Pickleball Tournament – Spain 2016

Now it’s pickleball’s turn to make history with the launch of the IFP Bainbridge Cup. Due to the rapid growth of Pickleball around the world, the future of pickleball’s Intercontinental Team Competition appears bright, with the inaugural event set to take place in Madrid Spain, September 15, 2017. The IFP is the International Federation of Pickleball, the governing body of the sport and the organizer of the Cup.

Bainbridge Cup Format

The Bainbridge Cup features two teams: “Team North America” and “Team Europe” (with the possibility of a third “Rest of the World” team). Each Team will compete to take home the first ever Bainbridge Cup trophy. Participation in the Cup is open to ALL players who register, thus players of all age and skill levels are invited to take part.

The format includes Men’s, Women’s and Mixed Doubles Matches, and all players are guaranteed a minimum of four matches. It will be a round robin format with players grouped by skill and age. The Team with the most points (match victories) over the course of the day will be crowned the winner.

Join the Team

Playing in the Cup offers a unique opportunity to join the Team of some of the biggest names in pickleball: Team “North America” players include Marcin Rozpedski, Jennifer Lucore, Kyle Yates, Simone Jardim, Alice Tym, Rob and Jodi Elliott, and Daniel Moore. For Team Europe, top players include Oliver Strecker, Ernesto Cardenas, Faye Plummer, Carlos Perez, Cyril Dirand, Leonardo Gonzalez, Gema Garcia and Ian Medhurst.

IFP Bainbridge Cup Logo - 2017 Spain

 5 Full Days of Pickleball

Immediately following the Cup competition (Friday, Sept. 15) will be another international competition: on September 16 and 17 the 3rd Annual International Pickleball Tournament will be held at the same location as the Cup. Therefore, there will be three consecutive days of competition at the same location: September 15, 16 and 17, 2017. In addition, the Pickleball Pros in attendance will be offering free clinics on the two days prior to the competition, on Wednesday and Thursday, Sept. 13 and 14.

Venue and Early Registration

The Cup and International Tournament will be played at Ciudad de la Raqueta (Racquet City), one of Madrid’s premier racquet sport clubs. There will be 20 competitive courts and a Championship Court with stadium seating. Early registration runs until May 31st. The event is filling up fast so registration is encouraged now to ensure a spot. Registration and detailed Cup information is available at PickleballTournaments.com.

Podium Shot - Spain International Tournament 2016

Podium Shot – Spain International Tournament 2016

See the Sites of Spain

Madrid, Spain’s vibrant capital city, is full of history, culture, a festive environment and wonderful gastronomy. It is home to the Royal Palace as well as the Prado Museum, which features one of the finest art collections in the world. Tour activities have been organized to allow participants to make the most of their trip. For more information send an email to info@pickleballspain.org.

Be a Part of History

It all adds up to five days of fantastic pickleball and history being made. And you can be part of it all, as a player or spectator. Years from now, when Pickleball is an Olympic Sport and the Bainbridge Cup is televised by ESPN, you can say, “I was there at the very beginning of it all.”

 

— Mike Hess, President of the IFP

Tournament Tips: Fundraising Tournaments, The Pink and Dink Tournament

Susie Brumfield is a tournament director for the Lake Wildwood Pickleball Club, located in Penn Valley, California. During her time as a tournament director, she learned a few key things about how to run a tournament for a local charity. She was kind enough to share some of that knowledge here.

What is the name of your tournament?

The last one we did was called the Pink and Dink Tournament, which was huge! We came up with the name for breast cancer/pink in October and dink shots in pickleball.

Was there a club hosting the tournament? Name of the club?

We’re the Lake Wildwood Pickleball Club. It was just a small group (when I started). We had about 12 people and two courts. Now we have 185 members! We’re a big pickleball family. Everyone’s friends. It’s fun to get out and play and have tournaments during the year.

Pickleball Gals at the Go Pink and Dink Tournament

When was your tournament?

The tournament took place on October 1, 2016.

Where was your tournament?

It took place at Lake Wildwood Commodore Park, Lake Wildwood, California.

How many players registered for the tournament?

We had lots of people. Over 55 teams entered which amounted to about 110 players.

What events/brackets did you offer?

We had a woman’s team, a men’s team and mixed doubles. And we did it all in one day!

Tournament action on the courts

Did you have a team working with you? What were their delegated tasks/roles?

Yes. We had 12 people. I had a wonderful team. Whenever you needed something, before you finished asking, it was done. The people were enthusiastic.

I had a to-do list for volunteers posted on the tournament day. So when the volunteers came in, they divvied it up. It just got done. Some of the tasks included:

  • Emcee – Make sure they have a timeline of events so they know what’s going on.
  • Publicity – Have someone in charge of brochures, social media, signs and contacting local businesses.
  • Gift Bagger – We had a gift bag and goodie stuffing party. We wrote thank you notes. We had someone making trophies. PickleballCentral was great. They gave us bags. “
  • Silent Auction/Raffle Coordinator – We solicited items for this. Independent people in your local area are more generous.
  • Scheduling – I had everything on an Excel sheet. Who was playing who and when.

Did you seek sponsors for your tournament? Who were the sponsors? What did the sponsor contribute?

We went around to the banks, grocery stores, and movie theaters. The local hamburger store SPD Market supplied all of our hamburgers, chips, foods, granola bars, bananas and coffee. The whole thing!

For the silent auction, some of the vineyards around here gave a private tasting for eight people. And some of the restaurants gave coupons. The movie theater gave a little package with popcorn and all that stuff.

Trophies for the Go Pink and Dink Tournament

Was the tournament a fund-raising event? For what charity or cause? How much did you raise?

The money went to the Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital Foundation to support their fight against breast cancer. We raised $6,800. It was pretty  good for our first time. We were really pleased.

Did you offer refreshments? Or sell food/drink at the event?

In the morning we provided coffee, juice, water, bananas, granola bars, and grapes. We also had goodie bags loaded with visors with Lake Wildwood logo, Chapstick, water, discount coupons for PickleballCentral and miscellaneous items donated by local businesses.

Did you charge a registration fee? How much?

We charged $35 each or $60 if you played in two categories; i.e. men’s or women’s singles and mixed doubles. The fee included a choice of burger or veggie burger, chips, soda or water and a cookie. 100% of the proceeds went to Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital Foundation.

Anything special or unique about your tournament?

PickleballCentral gave us the All Heart Award!

Trophies were awarded and we also gave away several nice paddles that were provided by pickleball manufacturers. The trophies were hand-made and consisted of a fake pickle inside a mason jar with pickleballs on top. It was cute!

We did a “dinking game” at the beginning of each game during the tournament . The game ended at 5 points. It helped people remember to dink and gave them a little bit of practice as well. A trophy was awarded to the overall dinking game winners.

All In Good Fun!

We also had a “swear jar” where every time someone said a bad word on the court leading up to the tournament, they were charged $0.25. Nobody could keep track, so everybody pitched in $2 or so at the beginning of the tournament.

What is your top tips for people putting on a tournament like yours?

We had a lot of teams; doing it all in one day was too much. Something we would do in the future is to split the tournament into two days.

I would also have a point-of-contact person so people who know where to go after they finished playing their game. There should be a central place for them to figure out which court to go to next.

Any parting advice?

Just a reminder that “thank you’s” to sponsors go a long way. We made them a priority.

Tournament Tips: 300+ Competitors, Georgia Mountain Pickleball Fall Classic

Peggy Castorri is a tournament director for Georgia Mountain Pickleball, located in Hiawassee, Georgia. As the pickleball scene in her community continues to grow, so do their tournaments. Here are some tips from Peggy on how to direct a tournament with over 300 participants.

What is the name of your tournament?

The Georgia Mountain Pickleball Fall Classic which started in 2015 as a local tournament, which then grew to a nationally promoted tournament.

Was there a group hosting the tournament?

We are Georgia Mountain Pickleball.

When was your tournament?

The tournament took place Friday through Sunday the weekend of September 16, 2016. This upcoming year will be the same weekend September 15, 16, and 17

Where was your tournament?

The location for the tournament was our picturesque Towns County Pickleball Complex, Hiawassee, Georgia. This complex was formerly abandoned and dilapidated tennis courts, and just days before the first years’ tournament 2 years ago, the courts were transformed into 14 permanently dedicated pickleball courts.

Georgia Mountain Pickleball

How many players registered for the tournament?

We had more than 350 people from 11 states –  from Arizona and Colorado in the west;  from Canada down to South Florida and Texas.

What events/brackets did you offer?

We wanted to be as broad as possible, so we offered a variety of skills and age levels in Men’s Doubles, Women’s Doubles, and Mixed Doubles. Age group 10+, 50+, 60+ and 70+. Skill levels 3.0-5.0.  All ages 5.0 players. This year we will add Singles to the mix.

Georgia Mountain Game

(Credit: Paul Aaron)

Did you have a team working with you? What were their delegated tasks/roles?

For scheduling purposes, we used PickleballTournaments.com and they basically ran the operations on the ground the days of the tournament.  PT handled all registration and scheduling, whatever we needed they took care of it quickly, accurately and efficiently.  

Since we offered referees for all 5.0 matches and Finals, we decided to have Marsha Fresno handle this responsibility during the tournament.

The support from our local players is what makes the tournament flow and be fun. These are suggested committees.

  • Sponsorships
  • Parking
  • First aid/health
  • Gatekeepers
  • Prep and Take down
  • Hospitality
  • Meet-and-greet

Did you seek sponsors for your tournament? Who were the sponsors? What did the sponsor contribute?

We solicited for sponsors. Months before the tournament,  I attended local rotary club meetings and business breakfasts to let the business community know what was coming up. There were various levels of sponsorships available. Hospitality tent, T-shirt,  court, coupon booklet, and those who paid to have a marketing item placed in the player bags. We had all types of sponsors and preferred to have non- competing sponsors for the large sponsor packages. In other words, only one real estate company was on the T-shirt, however another real estate company could have a different type of sponsor and signage.

remax

We also had some on-site vendors including Real Time Pain Relief, a popular pain relief ointment for players. a local eye doctor who specializes in providing sports eyeglasses, and a local booster club hosted their fundraiser.

Did you offer refreshments? Or sell food/drink at the event?

Our complimentary hydration tent was filled with water, fruits, nuts, and homemade banana bread.  The main on-site food vendor sold grilled burgers and dogs as well as hummus, candy bars, baked goods, drinks and chips and utilized the profits for their annual school fundraiser.

bob Levy

Did you charge a registration fee? How much?

We charged a registration fee of $35 plus $5 for additional events and the Meet And Greet was $10 which did not include alcohol.

What is your top tips for people putting on a tournament like yours?

Decide early the tone and theme of the tournament – Charity, National, Local, Regional, Doubles, Mixed, Round Robin, etc. Begin 6- 9 months in advance.

Share the workload and potential for proceeds with other community organizations.

Farm out professional help where your budget allows.

Make each player feel special – whether they win or lose.

Huntsman Pickleball Golds Won in Registration

Like many, I stayed up till midnight on Tuesday to register for the Huntsman World Senior Games. It was a competition in its own right, and some walked away winners.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t one of them.

Huntsman World Senior Games

A note: I have nothing but respect for the wonderful people running the Games, and this is no reflection on them. I just had to take a moment to lament a missed opportunity and share my tale of woe!

The Huntsman Games provided detailed instructions on how to register for pickleball. It was my opportunity to get into the world’s largest multi-sport event for 50+ athletes, and with them celebrating a 30th anniversary no less, I wanted to be prepared.

Beginning months before the deadline, I studied the “how to register for pickleball” formula with engineering precision—hey, I am an engineer!

But alas. I’m no software engineer, and that night I found my technical skills lacking.

I sat on the couch for hours past bedtime watching World Tennis, thinking I was as prepared as Djokavic when he trounced the 47th player in the world.

Woman watching TV

Not so patiently waiting (Credit: Eric Driggers)

My mental list checked out: Both partners identified. Both partners had Huntsman accounts and athlete numbers. My USAPA membership number was active and ready. Credit card prepared. Even my lodgings were booked.

When the Athlete Registration countdown screen flashed to zero, I took off. Enter, enter enter!

By 12:02, after hitting the enter screen many times, I was ushered onto the sacred registration screen. I had completed the registration entries for all four pickleball events. The only difficulty I had was entering my skill rating. The screen would not accept my entry for about 20 seconds.

With every entry filled, I hit the “Continue Registration” button at 12:03. I clicked it again. And again.

After 5-10 minutes and countless clicks, I was rewarded with the next screen. But something seemed off. I owed $199 for 12 events? No time to question it, just pay!

I entered my credit card number and its expiration date. The date worked, but I could only enter four digits for the number.

Who has a four-digit credit card!?

Frustrated

Why me? Why now? (Credit: rumolay)

The instructions required payment for registration, so I backed up and started from the beginning. I tried entering only men’s doubles, even though the instructions explicitly said to list all partners and events on the registration screen.

Enter! Yet I still couldn’t submit my credit card number.

I got an email at 12:10 saying I was waitlisted for men’s doubles. Back on the registration screen, all events were full except singles.

I frantically tried to register just for singles, but six attempts later, I’d found no success. As soon as singles showed full I tried my luck one more time for the road, but was again told I was waitlisted.

I may have won in the Grand Canyon State Games four days ago with Larry Moon, but I lost big time Tuesday night.

If only my technical prowess was up to snuff!

Sad baby

My mood today (Credit: Donnie Ray Jones)

Maybe somebody was able to game the system, or maybe I gamed myself. (It wouldn’t be the first time.)

Anyone else miss out and want to commiserate?

Indian Pickleball Continues to Grow at the 4th National Tournament in Jaipur

AIPA’s (All India Pickleball Association) hard work and effort has clearly gotten the pickleball rolling as more Indian players take up the competitive mantle. On November 11 – 13th at the Sawai Mansingh Indoor Stadium in Jaipur, the 4th National Pickleball Tournament was a rousing success.

Kavita and Ashwin of Rajasthan

Kavita and Ashwin of Rajasthan (Runners-Up in Mixed Doubles)

Of the 29 states in India, 12 teams were present from 10 states to show off their pickleball talent, with observers from two additional states in the wings. The participating states included:

Bihar
Haryana
Jharkhand
Kerala
Madhya Pradesh
Maharashtra
Pondicherry
Rajasthan
Sikkim
Uttarakhand

The West Bengal and Tamil Nadu visitors expressed interest in throwing their hats in the ring for next year’s tournament in Uttarakhand.

AIPA Nationals 2016

Maharashtra Sets the Standard

The winners this year were actually repeat champions from 2015, with Team Maharashtra once again claiming victory! Rajasthan still made an impressive showing on their home ground, often coming in silver just behind the winners. At least the other states know who they have to knock off the podium when the next opportunity arrives!

In Men and Women’s Singles players from Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh actually overcame the Maharashtra pros, but Doubles was a sweep. The Maharashtra pairs didn’t offer any quarter as they defeated opponent after opponent and claimed gold in all three categories.

Team Maharashtra 2016

Team Maharashtra 2016

Manish Rao and Bhushan Potnis of Maharashtra won the Men’s Doubles title by defeating Dr. Bharat Ram and Prashant Kalaniair from Rajasthan. Somewhat ironically,  in the 3rd national tournament held at Panipat last year, it was Ram/Kalaniair who defeated Rao and Potnis. Can you say “sweet revenge”? The final scores were 11-5 and  11-7.

Manish Rao and Bhushan of Maharashtra

Rao/Bhushan vs Bharat/Prashant in the Men’s Doubles

Similarly, Atul Edward and Natasha Beig from Maharashtra won the mixed title by defeating Kavita and Ashwini Wadhwa of Rajasthan. It wasn’t as easy of a battle, however, as the Wadhwas managed to hold the game until the 3rd set when Edward/Beig won the final. The scores: 11-1 , 5-11 and 11-6.

Atul and Natasha vs Kavita and Ashwin

Edward/Beig vs the Wadhwas in the Mixed Doubles

The Women Doubles gold medal went to Maharashtra’s Karishma and Rujuta who beat Rajashthan’s Madhulika and Garima. It was something of a rout with the final match scores coming in at 11-2 and 11-3.

Karishma and Rujuta vs Madhulika and Garima

Karishma and Rujuta vs Madhulika and Garima in the Women’s Doubles

Hard-Won Singles Matches

Moving on to the singles: the Men’s title was won by Nikhil Singh Rajput of Rajasthnan, who was presented with a tough fight from Aniket Durgawali,  a younger player from Maharashtra. The thrilling match lasted 3 sets and continued for an impressive 50 minutes!

Nikhil Singh Rajput from Rajashtan

Men’s Singles Winner Nikhil Singh Rajput from Rajashtan

Could you stand the heat? Nikhil managed to overcome the stress by putting his 5 years of pickleball expertise to work. The scores: 11-5, 8-11 and 11-2.

As expected, the Women’s Singles title was won by the defending champion from Madhya Pradesh, Shubhi Vyas. She handily won her gold by beating her rival from Rajasthan, Rekha Chowdhary, with scores of 11-5 and 11-3.

Shubhi Vyas

The Women’s Singles champion for the 3rd year in a row: Shubhi Vyas!

Pickleball in India Gaining Fans

This is the 4th consecutive year where AIPA has organized a national-level open tournament. Pickleball continues to gain wider acceptance in India, with players from across the country gathering to witness this event.

Playing the tournament at the Sawai Mansingh Indoor Stadium was something of a dream in itself for many players, with the location being one of the most prestigious sports arenas in the country. The Rajasthan State Pickleball Association made special efforts to book the world-class facility, with top quality housing and food arrangements as well.

There were 4 courts in the spacious indoor hall where nearly 130 matches were conducted in 2 days.

India National Tournament 2016

The Hidden Champions

Special thanks go to Mr. Karan Singh and Ms. Neetu Sharma, who took great pains to make the tournament a grand success. Mr. Raghu Raj, the President of Rajasthan State Pickleball Association, was also a major force in establishing a high-quality event.

The Chief Guest for the closing ceremony was the Commissioner of Police from Jaipur City, who was very impressed by the game of pickleball. He believes that pickleball will be an added attraction for tourists who visit Jaipur and suggested that a public court should be designed in the heart of the city.

Maharashtra at Jaipur National Tournament

Will Team Maharashtra be unseated next year? Who knows… for now, they celebrate!

Image credit goes to the Rajasthan State Pickleball Association and AIPA.