IT WAS a smashing time on the court as Star Media Group (SMG) employees battled it out for house honours in The Starlympics 2022 Badminton Tournament.
The tournament, the group’s first official sports event since the Covid-19 pandemic started, took place at the Lavana 2 Sports Centre in Subang Jaya last month.
There were five categories – Men’s Singles, Women’s Singles, Men’s Doubles, Women’s Doubles and Mixed Doubles – with 50 employees representing their respective houses (Red, Green, Blue, Yellow and Purple).
In previous years, SMG employees would be limited to representing their respective departments.
However, for the Starlympics, each employee was assigned to one of five houses to compete against each other.
Earning the title of champions in their categories were Red House’s Michael Cheang and Sandra Khoo (Men’s and Women’s Singles, respectively), Blue House’s Kamarul Ariffin and Chen Soon Ling (Men’s Doubles), Green House’s Lee Mee Yook and Azmah Abidin (Women’s Doubles) as well as Purple House’s Hong Yi Ling and Chow How Ban (Mixed Doubles).
Runners-up were Yellow House’s Keith Hiew and Sakeena Bakri (Men’s and Women’s Singles, respectively), Green House’s Kiff Chan and Brian Chia (Men’s Doubles), Purple House’s Nabila Shafika and Sutha Kathivaran (Women’s Doubles), and Green House’s Leon Lo and Stephany Yu (Mixed Doubles).
The first-, second- and third- place winners for each category received medals.
SMG Group People senior general manager Terence Raj said the house colours were implemented this year to commemorate the system used in schools.
“Previously, we would organise bowling, futsal and other games. I am grateful for the employees’ participation in this tournament.
“It is nice to see that the top management are also participating in this event,” said Terence, referring to SMG chief financial officer Sam Au, who was third in the Men’s Singles.
Au said he was delighted to take part and was a keen advocate for such sporting events as it was a healthy activity.
“After the two-year lockdown, I am thrilled to be playing badminton and competing because previously, I would play once a week.
“Even though I was defeated, I enjoyed the game. It was an opportunity to meet other team members from different departments who share similar interests,” said Au.
The scoring guidelines were changed for this tournament’s finals, with the first team or individual reaching 30 points in a round crowned champion.
Only the mixed doubles followed the traditional badminton rules, with the best of three sets of 21 points each.
In the end, Purple House won the Starlympics 2022 Badminton Tournament with 345 points, followed by the Red Team with 310 points, Green (305), Yellow (190) and Blue (75).
The house champions received a trophy and hamper, while the second- and third-placed houses received a hamper each.
Green House also received a hamper for having the most number of participants.
Kamarul, who won the Men’s Doubles event, said badminton had not been part of the company’s sporting events for a long time.
“The last time we played badminton together was 10 years ago. I am glad that SMG is encouraging us to be healthier,” he said.
Kamarul said that bigger prizes would encourage and attract more participants in the future.
Women’s Doubles champion Lee said it was a good opportunity to have a tournament among SMG staff .
“It feels like it has been way too long (to host sporting events) due to Covid-19 but now, we are enjoying ourselves, whether we win or lose.
“We want more activities similar to this for bonding,” she added.
The Starlympics 2022 Badminton Tournament was organised by Startrackers 22/23 and Star Sports and Recreational Club.