By Charmaine Goh
Literally a week after the very eventful IQA World Cup in Frankfurt, Germany, which saw Team Australia emerge as overall champions, Asia will see its first international quidditch tournament that is set to take place in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The inaugural Asian Quidditch Cup will see three club teams from Australia and Malaysia competing for the right to call themselves the best team in Asia. The three teams are the Subang Chimaeras (Malaysia), Australian National University Owls (Australia), and the Damansara Dementors (Malaysia).
Is Asia ready for such a tournament?
As the first installment of its kind in the region, the purpose of the Asian Quidditch Cup is to create a platform to further develop and create more awareness around quidditch as a sport in Asia.
“A few eyebrows were raised mainly because of the number of teams attending the tournament,” said Andrew Kasimir, who is one of the main organizers of the tournament and captain of the Damansara Dementors. “But as first-time organizers, this allows for some room to make mistakes and learn. Fantasy tournaments in Malaysia have proven to be a great way to rope in new players, but with the Asian Quidditch Cup, it’s going to help boost the development of the sport and get the word out to more people.”
Kasimir also noted that some of the local online publications and newspapers have expressed interest in covering and reporting the event for their respective publications.
The Subang Chimaeras are a very young team from Malaysia. In fact, the team only just started playing early this year and is captained by Bryan Chen Chi-Ern from Subang Jaya, Malaysia. Chen decided to start the Subang Chimaeras after stumbling upon one of UCLA’s videos on YouTube.
The Damansara Dementors played a friendly with the Chimaeras in June as a warm-up to the tournament in July, and the result was surprising. The Chimaeras overpowered the Dementors, who have been around since 2013, to win the friendly match.
“We’ve put a lot of our time and effort into training together, and we’re confident we’ll be at our best when the Asian Quidditch Cup begins,” said Chen.
The Chimaeras may lack quite a bit in experience, but they make up for it with a team of very athletic players. Some of the players to look out for during the tournament are the captain himself, Alvan Ong, Alvin Ong, Julie Sasaki, and Shane Minogue.
Australian National University Owls (ANU Owls)
The ANU Owls are almost certainly the team to beat at the Asian Quidditch Cup, having competed all over Australia, including the country’s annual national tournament, QUAFL. The team is captained by Oscar Cozens, who expressed how excited the team is to be able to compete internationally.
“Ultimately, all of us just love playing quidditch and would grab at any excuse we get to play,” said Cozens.
Coming from a country where quidditch is highly developed, Cozens explained that travelling to Malaysia would be a great way to help a developing quidditch nation grow.
“Hopefully, we’ll be seeing the Malaysian team at the next World Cup, facing them as friends,” said Cozens.
The ANU Owls squad will consist of players with a full range of experience. Some of these players have only competed once, while some have been playing for more than two years. It is also worth noting that the team will have two Dropbear players, namely Australian captain James Mortensen and beater Shu Ying Lee, who are still fresh from their historic gold medal win against the United States at the IQA Quidditch World Cup.
Cozens also mentioned that he personally is “very excited to be playing quidditch against new opponents and making new friends in this global quidditch community besides wanting to play well and bring home the cup.”
The Damansara Dementors are responsible for introducing quidditch to Malaysia back in 2013. The team is captained by Andrew Kasimir, who says that while winning the tournament is definitely on his mind, he also wants the team to ultimately learn how to play together as a unit.
There was never an opportunity for the team to properly compete simply because of the number of teams around, or lack thereof.
“For the longest time, our weekly sessions were very casual,” said Kasimir. “For the Asian Quidditch Cup specifically, we started training twice a week in order to get every player up to par with certain types of plays and strategies.”
The Damansara Dementors are going into the tournament as an inexperienced team, but individually they have players who used to or currently play quidditch outside of Malaysia. Kasimir himself started playing in Australia in 2012 and has competed in several Australian tournaments, including QUAFL. Other players on the team with international experience are Marcus Toh Shen-Li (Cambridge University Quidditch Club), Nadhirah Chairil Anwar (Warwick Quidditch Club), Ahmad Iyas Abidin (Liverpuddly Cannons), and Farhana Farhan Menon (QUT Lycans).
Some of the players to look out for on this team are Lance Tan, Shaqib Shahril, Timothy Perreau, Ian Leong, and Hazel Wong.