Well it’s that time of year again where we look back to see what kind of a year it has been for VX and, as you will see the biggest thing for VX this year has been the international development!
We had already had a visit from Osman from Hong Kong and in March/April we went to Hong Kong where we had meetings and ran a Level 1 Coaching Course We were delighted to be assisted in this by Easi-RockIts’ Léna Fowles who was travelling at the time and was just over the border in mainland China. Hearing we were there, she decided to make a detour to Hong Kong for a couple of days and was a great help.
We met some wonderful people in Hong Kong and since then we have been blown away by the progress they have made under the leadership of Osman Wong, even getting players to the World Cup in India!
We keep seeing great things happening over there and are looking forward to going back in the middle of January to help them keep moving forward.
2018 has also been a good year for competition in VX. The V2 National Finals again produced a great level of VX with Henry Pittham winning the Juniors, Joe Willis winning the Youth category, Scott Snowdon again winning the Seniors and Paul Hildreth again winning the Masters.
We were also delighted to see the Universities V2 competition being held at Leeds Trinity University and with more universities than ever before being represented. This time it was won by Tom Hildreth (Open University).
The next tournament was the annual 365 invitational challenge cup. You might remember that this was inaugurated for the 365 sports in 365 days odyssey of Beefy and Rob from New Zealand. This has become one of the premier events in the VX Calendar and features the very top players. The first two finals were contested by Scott Snowdon and Tom Hildreth with Scott winning each one by the tightest of margins. This year the final was Tom Hildreth and Carl Alsop and again, it was won by the tightest of margins. If this tournament had been televised VX would be through the roof – so exciting!
Now let’s move on to the World Cup. 2017 was in Italy. 2018 was in India – and what a tournament! Massive congratulations to VX India for what they had put together – they managed to provide accommodation for all players, had sponsors, media coverage, high profile VIP guests! They really raised the bar in this respect!
On court it showed how international the sport is becoming – in the Youth V2 World Cup England’s Oliver Stocks had to fight really hard to overcome India’s Parminder Singh in the final and in the seniors the top 4 players came from three different continents (Tom Hildreth Champion, Dan Raper runner-up both from England, Pawan Tanwar 3rd from India and Hasindihe James from Uganda).
In the Masters Paul Hildreth beat India’s Sewa Singh and then promptly announced his retirement from competitive Masters V2, retiring undefeated in the Masters’ category since it was started 6 years ago. It was also great to see history being made again with the V2 Senior World Cup Final being awarded to a non-UK referee for the first time – congratulations to Davinder Singh Kohli who did an excellent job.
Now we look forward to next year’s VX Games – this is the VX World Cup and V2 World Cup in one event. The event is to take place in York from Thur Aug 22nd to Sunday August 25th. Then it is Hong Kong in 2020 and Scotland in 2021. We already have 16 countries expressing an interest in participating in York in 2019 – VX is truly becoming an international sport!
After World Cup it was the European Championships in Bilbao, where England again maintained their 100% record.
In the V2 reigning Champion Tom Hildreth lost narrowly to Carl Alsop in the semi finals with Carl going on to win the final. With Tom losing, Oliver Stocks became the first player in any category to do the World and European double as he beat off a stiff challenge from Becca Fram to win the Youth title. It was also very tight in the Masters but it was Leigh Branton who beat Karen Bruin right at the death to take the European Masters V2 title.
In the seniors there are 5 major titles up for grabs. With Tom losing out in the Nationals and Europeans he holds 3 of the 5. With one of the 5 being a University title it could be a long time until anyone has a better chance of doing the clean sweep!
In VX York Phoenix remain the team to beat as they again took the English National Title and the UK Club Championships but Ripon Vanquish are snapping at their heels. All of these events, both V2 and VX, show us that standards in the sport are getting higher and higher. Our top players are constantly pushing their boundaries and some of the things they do are jaw-dropping.
We are also delighted to see our first Regional Association in England – VX West Midlands, headed up by Marc Kings. Marc has made great progress since he got on board and we are delighted with what is happening in the West Midlands under his guidance.
We have more plans and hopes for the future so watch this space.
To finish off it just remains for us to announce the Person of the Year and the Executive Awards.
Executive Awards go to Osman Wong, Lt. Dan Raper RN, and Hasindihe James. Osman receives his Executive Award because of the work he has done in Hong Kong and the progress being made over there under his guidance. Dan receives his for the ongoing, unsung work he has put in to the organisation of the sporting side of V2 World Cups. The tool he has designed and developed is of immense help and allows us to keep on top of what is becoming a major piece of organisation. Hasindihe James receives his award in recognition of his ongoing efforts in the face of extreme difficulties. James has minimal resources, receives no help, encounters many barriers yet he keeps the faith, keeps persevering and this year managed to get two players to India to compete in the World Cup, with he himself getting the highest international ranking ever of a Ugandan player.
It must be said, however, that we are very proud of all our volunteers at all levels and extremely grateful for their efforts. As this is a young sport that gets zero support and help from the powers that be, it is much harder for our volunteers than for those in established sports and yet our volunteers keep going and if it weren’t for them we simply wouldn’t exist so thank you to you all.
Finally – the Person of the Year 2018. This is awarded to Dr Suman Shankar Tiwari for the work he put in to lead VX India in preparing for and hosting the 2018 V2 World Cup. Dr Tiwari makes history as the first person to win the Person of the Year twice. VX India’s hosting of the World Cup raised the bar very high in terms of sponsorship, provision for competitors, media coverage etc. Congratulations to them for a great event and to Dr Tiwari on his award.