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Monday, February 24, 2014

Sasuke ASEAN Open Cup - Update 4

Medals!  Gold, Silver and Bronze!
International Team Category ©Nidzam Syaamil

This is Day 4!  The International Team Finals! Day 1 was Malaysia qualifying and Day 2 was Open/Worldwide qualifying and Day 3 was the first of the main events - Individual Finals. Today is the 2nd of the main events and the final day of this 4 day competition.

Wow.. that's gorgeous!  Team Final Plaque ©Nidzam Syaamil

Okay I'm officially impressed. I love these kinds of mementos.  Half the fun of showing up to a big event (like most fan's dream - Sasuke Japan) is to take home proof of your participation. That's why competitors save their saddlecloths and frame their numbers.  It's a keepsake of a moment in time. This is gorgeous.  There will be 3 sets of awards.  Champion, Runner Up and 2nd Runner Up (Gold, Silver, Bronze).   This one plaque is for the top team though. I'm curious who will take it home? or is it one of those "pose with it and we keep it" like the Stanley Cup?

Organizers Zai Joehurry and Alex Cheah with Special Guest Sasuke All-Star Makoto Nagano 長野誠 ©Sasuke Malaysia

A special Shout out to the organizers of this event. Yes.. TWO of them.  They made the impossible happen!  That's Sasuke Malaysia (and Sasuke ASEAN) Director Zai Joehurry and Alex Cheah.  This is a good first start! Those in attendance were so thrilled with the event that they can't wait until the next Sasuke ASEAN Open Cup! They proved they can do it, now let the floodgates open!

Draw ceremony ©Zai Joehurry

After a great International Individual Finals the day before, the scene shifted to the International Team Finals.  Here they were drawing for starting orders.  The teams were set at 5 members each.  As of this blog, I wasn't sure how the teams were created (outside of Japan which was determined before the event started) .  Many came with several prospective teammates, however top times in Individual may have played a part in the selection of the 5 chosen for the Team Finals.

 Draw ceremony - Teams USA, Taiwan and Singapore (can't tell who the team on left is) ©Zai Joehurry

From reports there were 8 teams total with 5 competitors per team for a total of 40 competitors.  Unlike Saturday's event with 100 competitors all competing at the same time, you had everyone running in a preset order determined by the draw ceremony.

 Draw ceremony - Teams Japan, Malaysia and unsure of the team to the right ©Zai Joehurry

But as you can tell from my math here.. the teams I remember being told were competing were Japan, USA, Singapore, Malaysia, Taiwan and..  Brunei? That still leaves us with 2 teams missing.  I'll fix this line later if/when I get more information on the full composition of all the teams in attendance.

Edit (from comment section below): The team on the right is Indonesia.  A few of them were injured at the Power Course during the Team challenge. They didn't proceed afterwards.

 Sasuke All-Star Makoto Nagano 長野誠 and New Generation Star Ryo Matachi (Cliffer #2) 又地諒©Masato Inui

Before the event started though, Sasuke Japan Director Inui posted this hilarious photo.  Hardcore Sasuke fans would know who these guys are and find what they are doing really... unusual.  The caption was pretty much "celebrity clean up crew".   Neither are competitors in this event (Nagano was a guest speaker and Ryo was an obstacle tester) so they instantly became volunteers!  So.. what does Makoto do?  That's right.. order his subordinate to do the work! LOL

 Team Malaysia ©Nidzam Syaamil

Something just occurred to me.  Was everyone provided Team shirts?  (Edit: Nope each country made their own jerseys) I was so enamored with the Japan blue (Edit:  Ube was correct, they were inspired by the Japan National Soccer team) that I didn't even realized that EVERYONE in the Team event had a numbered 1-5 generic Team Shirt.  I find them cool!  I know a few countries had their own shirts made though (Like Taiwan and Singapore).  These are the yellow jerseys for Team Malaysia with head coach being Sasuke Malaysia winner and Sasuke 27/28 veteran Farid "Cat" Isham モハメド・パリド・イシャム  (orange shirt).

 Team USA (Drew Dreschel, Mike Bernardo, Ryan Stratis and Brian Kretsch) ©Ekamil Razali

"This is how we roll" is what I hear when seeing this photo. LOL No idea wtf Strat is doing but it's hilariously intense.. which is about what I always see from any Strat photo.  I assume the phrase is Ryan is "Stratigizin'?  Brian is playing cool and just strutting away from the meeting.. and David is too cool for this photo. LOL

Sasuke Japan Director Inui with his team (Morimoto, Shingo, Asa, Kanno and Kong) ©Masato Inui

By now Team Japan seemed a bit more relaxed.  Both Kong and Morimoto had a couple medals under team Japan's belt in the individual category from yesterday, so this time they were going for the Team Final. They seemed to be having a great time (as evidenced by the party the night before! LOL).

Team Taiwan ©Ekamil Razali

The competition went on with each of the teams going through each stage back to back.  It wasn't a head to head competition (like in the USA vs. Japan in Las Vegas), but it was a top times overall competition using 5 competitors. (Just like the individual event)

 Team Singapore ©Ekamil Razali

 Team Malaysia ©Nidzam Syaamil

 Team USA (Drew) ©Ekamil Razali

 Team Singapore ©Ekamil Razali

Team Japan ©Sasuke Malaysia

 Team Malaysia ©Nidzam Syaamil

 Team USA (Strat) ©Ekamil Razali

 Team Competition ©Ekamil Razali

Team Japan ©Ekamil Razali

Team USA (Bernardo) ©Ekamil Razali

Team Japan ©Sasuke Malaysia

So then the wait began.  The organizers went in to crunch the numbers and determine which country has won the inaugural event! In the meantime, people started to take photos of each other and mingle.

Yuusuke Morimoto 森本 裕介 (Japan) ©Ekamil Razali

Team Malaysia being interviewed ©Mat Redho

Yuusuke Morimoto 森本 裕介, Nidzam Syaamil and New Generation member Kazuma Asa 朝一眞 ©Nidzam Syaamil

Kenji "Kong" Takahashi 高橋賢次 (Japan) ©Ekamil Razali

The celebrity clean up crew were also gofers! ©Nidzam Syaamil
 New Generation Star Ryo Matachi (Cliffer #2) 又地諒 and Sasuke All-Star Makoto Nagano 長野誠

Finally the wait was over and over-sized checks were brought out!  So not just medals for the winners, but cash prizes!  I'm laughing at Nagano trying to figure out wtf that is. I'm sure he's going "wait.. how much do they get? I won the big course and I got practically nothing.. this better not equal my old prize money.. I wonder what the conversion rate is for this thing in Yen.. oooh it doesn't have a name.."
Jump Category ©Nidzam Syaamil
1st - Drew Dreschel (USA)
2nd - Wang Jun An (Taiwan)
3rd - David Campbell デイヴィッド・キャンベル (USA)

First they start off by awarding the winners from Saturday's Individual Finals (all times and leader board are in the Day 3 blog).  These were the top times of all 105 competitors broken down into 3 categories.  They start off with the Jump category.  For those trying to figure out how much money that is.  The lowest prize was $1000 RM (Malaysian Ringgits) for 3rd place.  (That's approximately $305 USD).  2nd was awarded $2000 RM.  Champion was awarded $3000 RM.  Team USA had 2 competitors on the podium and Taiwan made their appearance in 2nd place.

Hang Category ©Nidzam Syaamil
1st - Drew Dreschel (USA)
2nd - Yuusuke Morimoto 森本 裕介 (Japan)
3rd - Awg Mohd Hasnal Husna Bin Ahmad (Brunei)

Next award ceremony for the Individual Finals was the Hang Category which Drew won as well.  Yep, that means he got another check for $3000 RM.  Japan getting on the podium and Brunei making an appearance.

 Power Category ©Nidzam Syaamil
1st - Drew Dreschel (USA)
2nd - Alan Connealy (USA)
3rd - Kenji "Kong" Takahashi 高橋賢次 (Japan)

And last of the Individuals was the Power Category which Drew won another .. wait.. that's not Alan Connealy.. that is most definitely Brian Kretsch.. a stand in?  I'm sure I'll find out later.. but that was definitely NOT Alan on the podium! LOL Anyway Drew with the Hat Trick winning the top time in all 3 of the categories. USA getting in a 2nd place with Alan's time and Team Japan scoring 3rd with Veteran competitor Kong.  Awww Kong is hoisting Drew's arm up!  Either way I'm STOKED he is on the podium.  Go old dudes! No wait.. he's younger than me... /cries okay okay I'll swallow my shame.  GO OLD DUDES!

Team Malaysia - 2nd Runner Up ©Nidzam Syaamil

And finally the results of the TEAM Competition.  In 3rd place/Bronze Medal a VERY stoked Team Malaysia!  The home team edge out Team Taiwan (who was in 4th). If someone can be so kind as to provide me all five names of the team members in order I'd GLADLY post their names under the caption!

 Team Japan - Runner Up ©Nidzam Syaamil
Sasuke Veteran Yuusuke Morimoto 森本 裕介 with Shin Sedai (新世代) literally "New Generation" member Kazuma Asa 朝一眞, New Generation member Hitoshi Kanno 菅野仁志, Sasuke All-star Shingo Yamamoto 山本進悟 and Sasuke Veteran and Former Finalist Kenji Takahashi 高橋賢次

In 2nd place/Silver medal is a very happy Team Japan!  Team Japan took home 3 medal positions in total!  2 Silvers for Morimoto and a Bronze for Kong.

 Team United States of America (USA) ©Nidzam Syaamil
Sasuke Veteran  David Campbell デイヴィッド・キャンベル, ANW's Brian Kretsch, Sasuke 27 Veteran Drew Dreschel, ANW's Mike Bernardo and Sasuke 27 Veteran Ryan Stratis ライアン・ストラティス

And in 1st place/Gold Medal to a very overwhelmed Team USA.  Drew Dreschel had a ridiculous weekend sweeping all gold medals!  Team USA also added a Silver with Alan Connealy and a Bronze for David Campbell.

 International Team Finals Podium 2014 ©Nidzam Syaamil

And there you have the podium for the inaugural Sasuke ASEAN Open Cup!  What a great presentation for the medals as well! That's actually more than I expected!

 Medal ceremony ©Drew Dreschel

 Team USA ©Nidzam Syaamil

Team USA had a hell of a tournament. I'm so happy they flew halfway around the world to participate and support this fledgling event. I don't think they even expected this ovation.

Medal ceremony for the 2014 International Team Finals ©Nidzam Syaamil
Oh snap they did the country anthems as well?? I see them placing their hands over their hearts.. I think they are playing the Star Spangled Banner!

Medal ceremony for the 2014 International Team Finals ©Nidzam Syaamil

Wow I wasn't expecting this. LOL  That's awesome! I'm really really impressed! Nice touch!  I wonder if seeing this will make more countries send athletes to see if they can win the team event!

Sasuke Malaysia (and Sasuke ASEAN) Director Zai Joehurry ©Nidzam Syaamil

My hat is tipped to this woman. She totally thought of this and figured people thought she was crazy. She made it happen through thick and thin. I commend a job well done! Now do it again next year! LOL no .. seriously.. do it again!

Team Japan ©Nidzam Syaamil

In a rare display of nuttiness you have of all the countries, Team Japan hoisting a competitor!  Not sure who that is though it looks like Shingo.  LOL at Nagano also throwing him in the air!

Team Malaysia ©Nidzam Syaamil

What followed was a WHOLE bunch of photo taking opportunities with the checks and medals.  Interviews with cameras (no idea who the television stations were) and general mugging for the camera.

King of Sasuke ASEAN Open Cup 2014

Drew had one HELL of a week.  Applying to the event and being accepted, then figuring out how to pay for a flight there, then flying to Malaysia after being sponsored by fans using crowd funding, then qualifying on Day 2 to the final, then winning EVERYTHING (all 3 categories + overall champion), then doing it again the following day with a team for the Gold in Team Finals.

King of Sasuke ASEAN Open Cup 2014

He posted this on his Facebook: For now I will only post one picture for today. It still has not sunk in. I took the fastest time in all three stages, best overall time, and USA won the team competition.. now what do I do with my life?

 Team USA - Sasuke ASEAN Open Cup Champions ©Ryan Stratis

Waiting for results yesterday I ran into this tweet from Ryan.  This is such an epic photo! LOL I'm proud of you guys!  Congratulations to the Sasuke Fan boys!

 Team USA ©Nidzam Syaamil

From this point forth there's a lot of photos of the ceremony from various country perspectives. I enjoyed that there were so many!  Thanks for allowing these photos to be on the internet!

 Team USA ©Drew Dreschel

Team Japan ©Nidzam Syamil

Celebration with the Taiwan Flag ©Nidzam Syaamil

Team Malaysia members Amirul Ashraf and Muhammad Zaki Nasarruddin with Sasuke All-Star Makoto Nagano 長野誠 ©Nidzam Syaamil

Team Japan ©Masato Inui

Celebratory photos with Taiwan Flag ©Nidzam Syaamil

Team Japan ©Masato Inui

Teams USA and Japan ©Drew Dreschel

Teams Japan and USA ©Drew Dreschel

More celebration photos! ©Sasuke Malaysia

At this point everyone is starting to pile up on top of each other as they notice this is now going on video camera!

Chaos! LOL ©Sasuke Malaysia

LOL Ryo is cackling as he's almost being trampled by the Video operator! LOL I think Nagano just got swallowed!

Cheers! ©Sasuke Malaysia

The video camera operator just learned what personal space is and stepped back to get the whole crew.

Celebrations ©Sasuke Malaysia

Lee from Taiwan having a moment with Nagano in the middle of this chaotic scene! LOL I can't keep the photos straight as it seems some people were swapped in and out of the photos as I place them on my blog.

More celebratory photos - this time celebrating Drew Dreschel ©Nidzam Syaamil

By far the most chaotic scene as it seems EVERYONE is in this photo. What's cute is that everyone starts to point at the Grand Champion Drew Dreschel!

"SASUKE chants were echoing into the night once the event finished! What a great time!!" ©Ryan Stratis
LOL Nagano is totally hogging Drew now. That's the craziest I've seen him in a photo! LOL MAN I love these photos!  Thanks everyone for posting these amazing photos!

Team Japan with Sasuke Director Masato Inui and a rare appearance of Sasuke Producer Hiroki Kikuno 菊野浩樹 ©Sasuke Malaysia

Party is dying down but the mugging still continues! I'm happy Japan is sharing photos as well. Rare to see the Sasuke Producer Kikuno actually being photographed!  He's on the far right of the photo all the way in the back behind the Director Inui. If you want to know who the Sasuke boss is now? That's Kikuno.

The party spills back onto the course! ©SAOC

Winding down I want to thank everyone for making this happen. To the Hundred plus athletes from around the world who participated and supported this fledgling event. Just in Sasuke Japan's history you get the glimpse of Sasuke 1 with Shingo in his short shorts and the indoor arena, this footage will be played for future generations as the first Sasuke ASEAN Open Cup.

The Partying continues! ©Dustin Sims

The hardcore fans of Sasuke who were brave enough to take a chance on something new. I applaud mightily.  Thank you for keeping Sasuke alive.  This new flicker I hope grows to be a roaring flame for the future generations of Sasuke believers around the world.