First National Competition for HADO Academy Junior! Sieg From Odaiba Won the Title!
Crowning HADO’s next generation superstars! The HADO Academy Junior, a futuristic sports school for junior ath […]
Crowning HADO’s next generation superstars! The HADO Academy Junior, a futuristic sports school for junior athletes to learn HADO at one of the four sites across Japan including HADO ARENA Odaiba, hosted a national junior tournament for the first time on October 15, 2022! After a series of battles as intense as senior ones, Sieg from Odaiba becomes Japan’s best junior team in HADO!
The HADO Academy Junior Autumn Tournament 2022 kicked off on October 15 at HADO ARENA Odaiba in Tokyo as the first national junior competition with junior athletes from one of the four academy junior schools that include HADO ARENA Odaiba. The future of sports brought together ten teams with HADO stars of next generation to battle it out on the grand stage of HADO ARENA Odaiba where their families and HADO fans held their breath to watch the games.
The preliminary round held in the morning witnessed twenty exciting games among ten teams coming from all over Japan to determine the top four teams qualified for the championship tournament held in the afternoon. The stage was full of excitement as a sporting event but for the players and audience’s viewing pleasure, it also presented a one-of-a-kind exhibition match between their coaches. The games were streamed live on YouTube with live commentary.
Goal for HADO Academy Junior
The HADO Academy Junior offers HADO classes exclusively for children up to sixth grade as their after-school activity. The school was launched in March 2021 at HADO ARENA Hibiya (currently HADO ARENA Odaiba), and expanded to a total of four locations including HADO ARENA Toyohashi established in April 2022, HADO ARENA Carino Kikuyo and HADO FIELD Yamagata both premiered in June 2022.
The educational principles offered by the program include the fundamentals that students share the fun and excitement of working with their teammates and get an insight into the value of thinking independently for the team’s success. HADO draws pupils and their families’ attention all over Japan as a unique activity outside of school to learn strategic thinking and teamwork and to enhance athletic ability through the cutting-edge techno sports. These national competitions are a great opportunity for them to showcase their skills honed in the usual practice in each local. So what kind of intense battles unfolded in front of the audience both on and off the court? Now get a glimpse into some highlights of the competition!
Three teams from Odaiba and one team from Toyohashi advanced to the finals
Games in the championship tournament gave a win to the teams scoring the first two points. The first match of the semi-finals was a showdown between Sieg from Odaiba and Jandararin from Toyohashi. Sieg, which means “victory” in German, is a cogender team with Yuki, a 6th grader, and Yui and Noa, 4th graders. Jandararin is also a mixed-gender team of 5th grader Jun, 4th grader Yuki, and 2nd grader Sana, who won the local tournament held at HADO ARENA Toyohashi just launched six months ago.
Audience marveled as the actions between attackers unfolded, but Sieg competed with great agility and stable formation to prove their prowess with a two-point finish and earned the first spot for the final match.
The second semifinal was a matchup between Mugicha and NYA, the teams from the same school, Odaiba! Mugicha was a cogender team of 6th grader Riku, 5th grader Masaki, and 3rd grader Lisa, while NYA was an all-boy team of 6th grader Takeru, 4th graders Masato and Rintaro.
The arena radiated with enthusiasm for the head-to-head competition presented by the rivalry between the two teams who know each other’s competence well. After both teams took one set, the battle finally went to the third one, and in the end, the goddess of victory smiled upon NYA who remained calm and excelled in using shields.
Jandararin from Toyohashi in Aichi and Mugicha from Odaiba in Tokyo competed in the third-place match. Even after a host of fierce battles since the morning, both teams seemed relaxed to go all out for the spot on the podium. After each team won one set, Mugicha who took a different stance as their tactic dominated the final set and took third place!
A buzz with excitement for the exhibition match between HADO instructors
Before the final, the stands heated up when the instructors from each local store stepped onto the court to fight against each other for a one-time exhibition match. With full of enthusiasm, the RED team with Yuna and Aya representing Toyohashi and Midorin from Odaiba, and the BLUE team with Iku representing Carino Kikuyo, Miyabayashi from Yamagata, and Aoi from Odaiba competed for their pride as the children’s coaches.
With their students cheering enthusiastically for their coaches from the front of the stage, the game kicked off to finish with the winner taking the first two points. In the first game, the BLUE team fought with all attackers, but failed to break the RED’s shields and suffered a crushing defeat. Both teams showed experience and skill, but the RED team took the lead with better shield use and won the two games in a row.
Both were impromptu teams just formed on this day, but the level and style of the gameplay they presented were astounding! The children apparently enjoyed the exhibition match as they later took a crack at the strategies unfolding in front of them.
Sieg and NYA, both still undefeated, went head to head in the final! Sieg won their first championship title!
Who deserves to be the first junior champion? Both teams already proved their talent in the preliminary round and semifinals without losing any games.
The final match became a neck-and-neck, action-packed competition where both took a sound, steady approach, but the team who broke the tie was Sieg who, through the battle, stayed calm and watched the opponents’ moves carefully to find the gap in each position, and took the first two points to finish on the top of the podium!
In the winners’ interview after the competition, the first junior champions were so modest to say, “We are happy to be able to win, but are very nervous because it is just the first time for us”. That’s understandable, because this team was exclusively formed for the national competition as a result of balancing teams by taking the level of each student into consideration to reduce any variation in skills. Playing with new teammates was not a cakewalk for the students, but they took steps to be able to achieve the best result in the tournament: communicate with each other, improve teamwork, and build strategies by making the most of each proficiency in a short period of time. This is one of the best things about HADO Academy Junior!
Yuki, an ace player in Sieg, has been a student of HADO Academy Junior since it was first established. We asked his parents why he began playing HADO: “He was a boy who was not very interested in any sports like soccer or baseball, just into video games every day. We wanted him to be active like playing sports and thought HADO might be a good choice. Since we started it out as a family, we’ve all got hooked on the sport. He likes to create tactics, so proactively comes to HADO athletes to get some advice, which we think is a good thing since he can learn a lot by communicating with adults besides families. Above all, that he was able to find something he is good at is precious and makes him more confident.”
It was the first time for us to hold a national tournament for junior athletes, but with a host of exciting performances here and there, the event was a huge success that brought together players and spectators alike. We were all amazed to witness how high and sophisticated their tactics and techniques were as a junior team.
HADO Academy Junior plans to introduce more national competitions in the near future, so please come to a trial lesson first at one of the four sites if your child wants to get a taste of the thrill and fun of the techno sport!