mahjong australia
Asia Pacific Mahjong trip to Kunming for the Treyo Cup 2014 WMMIT - 5 June to 8 June 2014

Our team of 13 arrived at the airport on 4 June 2014 between 7.00 and 8.00 pm. We were ready to take on the challenge at the Kunming Treyo Cup 2014 World Mahjong Masters Invitational Tournament as can be seen in the photo above.

On 5th June when we arrived in Kunming, we were greeted at the airport and brought to Kunming Hotel where all the players from all over China and other countries congregated.

After briefing in the afternoon, we all went to the Kunming Cultural Dinner and Dance Show sponsored by APM.

We watched the most fabulous dancers with the most colourful costumes we have ever seen and ate the most delicious Kunming cuisine especially, the local "Guo Qiao Mian Tang" (Noodle soup crossing the bridge). Most importantly, we enjoyed great fellowship amongst our team members.

At 10 am on 6 June the players were gathered at their tournament table for the opening Ceremony and the reading of the Rules. Pauline Heng as invited as the Australian representative to address all players in English on behalf of all the 43 Foreign players prior to the commencement of the Tournament.

We had a group photo taken immediately after lunch.

After the first two games it became clear that our players were real underdogs but they did not give up and in fact, they continued take on the challenge and revered in the "Guo Biao" rules and regulations. We met many mahjong champions and mahjong masters from the various provinces of China. Many have written books about the game of "Guo Biao" and were very happy and willing to share their knowledge with our players. Unfortunately, this willingness to share knowledge could not be imparted during competition. Our players were very much handicapped as they did not know how to score very well. The other foreign players from Portugal, Russia, US, New Zealand, Singapore, and to a lesser degree, Japan also found the competition very challenging. This is the first time China has invited foreigners to compete in this tournament.

All foreign competitors were given very special treatment by our host, The Mahjong Sport Branch Association of Tianjin General Administration of Sport and The Chinese Mahjong Exercise United General Association Limited. Accommodation for all foreign competitors was free during the tournament and all competitors were also given a 2 day free tour of scenic Kunming.

Our Chinese host representatives have expressed their wish to promote the exchange of mahjong culture and mahjong skills and tactics, propelling mahjong into a copetitive field and at the same time popularising mahjong as a Chinese cultural sport. They hope that mahjong will be listed as a world non-material cultural heritage and advocating the healthy development and popularisation of mahjong sport.

Australia has both the youngest and the oldest mahjong players at the tournament. The youngest player is 22 years of age and the oldest player is 92 years of age. Mahjong is likely the only sport that could have an age gap of 70 years and yet both players can remain competitive.

Nonetheless, we are very proud to announce that our player, Limei Gao (Ms) was awarded RMB 2000 for having the highest hand score amongst the Foreigners during the 3 day tournament.

We are also very proud to announce that our player, Henry Choi was awarded the Best and Fairest player out of all the foreigners who played in the Tournament.

Everyone wished each other the very best during lunch after the prize giving ceremony until the next time we meet again.

It was very clear after this experience that we have a lot to learn about the game of mahjong and how this is being played internationally and how we at APM would love to also be a part of this international scene.

We look forward to making some changes in our game to make it more challenging and interesting for our players and I hope that our players at home will embrace it as much as those who have been to Kunming. We ask all our players and our readers to come along and enjoy this new experience with us very soon.

Pauline Heng 15 June 2014

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