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Jessica Hinojosa World University Games
Sept. 8, 2017
Now that I am back at Baylor, I want to tell you everything about my past few weeks. Having the opportunity to compete for my country at the World University Games is one of the best things that has ever happened to me.
After the opening ceremony I told you about, I was ready to start competing. I've had practiced for a few days and getting my mindset ready for the tough days that were coming. I had a lot of matches coming and I knew none would be easy. Unfortunately, I lost my first match against a Kazakhstan seeded girl with a really high professional ranking. We battled for 3.5 hours in 113 degree heat on court. I was so close to winning, and I ended up losing in three sets. I felt proud of myself even though I lost because I knew I gave everything I had and fought until the end.
The next couple of days I spent recovering from my match, practicing and cheering for my teammates. Then, I started playing in the back draw tournament. I made my way to the finals beating girls from Slovenia, Uganda, Argentina and France, before I lost the finals to the girl representing Italy. Overall, I was satisfied with my performance and getting to the finals was a really good thing for me. I was the last one in my team playing, so when I finished we had a day left to tour around Taipei.
We attended the closing ceremony. It was pretty much the same concept as the Opening Ceremony, but it was much more fun. We marched around the stadium with thousands of people cheering for us and celebrating this big event. It was the last event they were doing for us so everyone enjoyed every moment. The next day we traveled back and it was sad knowing my incredible two weeks were over. I said goodbye to the people I met and made friends with and headed back to Mexico with the whole Mexican delegation.
Now looking back I am just extremely grateful for having the opportunity to compete at this event. I leave with motivation, knowing this is what I work hard for everyday and knowing that if I keep getting better I will get a lot more experiences like this.
Hope you enjoyed it! Thank you for your support, Baylor Nation.
Jimmy Bendeck World University Games
Aug. 22, 2017
Day 5: Aug. 20
All that was required of me to do was prepare for the next day's match. I woke up, had a big breakfast and headed to the courts. When I arrived, I had to sit through a mandatory pre-tournament meeting. This was long and boring. I left midway at noon as I had a court reserved at that time. This would come back later to haunt me.
I had a long two-hour practice, one hour indoors and one hour outdoors. The reason for this was to make sure I was accustomed to both surfaces if it rained. I was not feeling confident with my game but I knew that conditions were difficult and the matches would be less about tennis and more about a good consistent mindset.
After the practice, I was excited to head back and relax by going to watch diving. Unfortunately, the bus times did not correspond and I would not have been able to make it on time. I made the decision to eat dinner early, stock up on water and spend the rest of the day sleeping. I had to compensate for the lack of sleep I had been getting every night.
After a two-hour nap, I was hungry. I met up with my airport group of friends for dinner again. At this point I began getting tired of the food. I went with my only reliable food I enjoyed: Italian. Luckily, pasta with chicken is a perfect meal the day before a match. I spent some time chatting with the group of friends before I headed back to the apartment. The mood in the village had begun to change from the first two days. Everyone seemed more serious and focused then before. I spent these last three days roaming around worried about myself, and I failed to notice that I was surrounded by some of the best athletes in the world. On the way back to my apartment I tried to really focus on my surroundings. I saw two people fencing, one guy from Japan pitching, and coolest of all, an American boxer practicing his combinations with his coach. I came into Taipei with the mindset of not being distracted by the surroundings. After this walk back I decided that I would take in what was going on around me in the other sports more than I had been. I can still be focused while taking in the amazing event I was a part of.
Once I arrived, I showered, brushed my teeth, did my pre-match meditation and fell asleep.
Day 6: Aug. 21
Finally, it was match day. I was scheduled to play not before 10:30 on court four. I received a bye the first round and was placed against a guy from Sri Lanka the second round. As soon as the first matches of the day started, it began to rain. This delayed the matches by over 2 hours. This meant I had to get food in me before the next match. What I discovered was that for me to receive food I had to have ordered it the day before. This was something I missed because I left the meeting early the day before. I was out of luck.
At 1:15 I was called to the court. As soon as I stepped outside I knew that regardless of the level of my opponent the conditions were going to be tough. The temperature was 96 degrees, but it felt like 109 degrees. Luckily the chair had umbrellas, cold water, ball boys and a full set of referees. This helped because it eliminated factors outside of tennis that I usually have to worry about and spend.
The match started off well. I was playing aggressively and playing my game. However, I began to get tired. I pulled out the first set 6-1, but there were many close games that could have gone either way. In the second set he came out serving well and hit 3 aces to close out the first game. The following game I served well and held at love. The next game was a marathon. After a lot of back and forth, I pulled it out with a backhand down the line winner. This was the dagger. I was able to get up 5-1, but then I played a loose game. At the change over, I refocused myself and hit four service winners to end the match.
After the match, I was exhausted. The conditions were brutal. I asked around to see if anyone had an extra meal, and I was able to find one. I drank a lot of water and a sports drink. Once I felt recovered I got on the bus and headed back to the apartment.
I spent the rest of the day resting and hydrating. I was still sleep deprived, so I tried to nap as much as possible. The 13-hour difference was still taking a toll on me. At night, I went to get an a small meal and then headed straight to bed. The following day I had off completely as the other half of the draw was set to play.
I want to celebrate my win and be happy that I was able to get a W for Baylor and Honduras. However, I'm still focused. I will be playing a player from Taipei next round who is the five seed of the tournament. I might have the chance to play on center court. I want to take advantage of the opportunity. I know I have the ability to win, but I need to keep a good mindset and professionalism to capitalize on this opportunity.
Wish me luck.
- Jimmy Bendeck
Jimmy Bendeck World University Games
Aug. 21, 2017
Day 3: Aug. 18
I started day three staying in bed until 8:30 a.m. My body was exhausted from the previous day. I went to eat breakfast and then went to my delegation to give them my passport and Baylor ID to get my official university games identification. It took four hours for them to get it. I rested in bed during that time as I still didn't feel recovered. Finally, around 2 p.m., I received my Identification and headed straight to the bus for the courts.
To transport to the tennis center, I had to take a bus that runs every 50 minutes. I waited around 35 minutes and the bus finally arrived, and I was the only one headed to the tennis center. The bus was empty. This worried be because I needed to find someone to play with. I am the only Honduran playing tennis. After 50 minutes I finally arrived at the tennis center. It was practically empty. It seemed as if people had yet to arrive. Unfortunately I was unable to hit; however, I did find two guys from Denmark and planned a hit for the following day with them.
I decided to roam the ground of the tennis center as there was still time to wait for the bus. I discovered that it was recently built. All the courts were separated. The surfaces felt brand new. They also built a stadium court which is beautiful. Hopefully I will get play on it. I explored the players round and the locker rooms. Nothing out of the ordinary. After roaming the ground and visualizing the environment I was going to be around the next week, the bus came.
On this bus ride I fell asleep. I was woken by one of the female players from Denmark. Apparently, the bus had been sitting there for over 10 minutes and she had forgotten her water and noticed me sleeping in the back. I clearly still had jet lag. After I was woken up I made my way to the food court where I was meeting the friends I made the previous day on the plane.
After dinner, we explored the grounds. We found game rooms, virtual reality rooms, internet cafes, dry cleaners and all types of other stores. After some time in the game rooms we all went our separate ways. I headed directly to bed. Unfortunately, I tossed and turned all night.
Day 4: Aug. 19
Aug. 19 was the day of the opening ceremony. All athletes were required to be finished by 1 p.m. to allow buses and staff to prepare for the ceremony. I scheduled a hit with Team USA. I know them well; both players are from UCLA and we play them every year.
I woke up and ate breakfast and then headed straight to the courts. We had a quick hit then headed back to my apartment. We got ready and headed to the bus. I didn't comprehend the magnitude of the opening ceremony.
Before the ceremony all of the athletes were grouped by country in the basketball arena. Every country was there for over two hours. It was a ruckus. Countries were chanting, throwing footballs, singing songs, and New Zealanders even did the Haka. It was truly an indescribable experience. Finally, after we waited for over four hours, they began organizing the countries in alphabetical order to walk to the stadium and be presented. Everything went smoothly for the countries with letters starting with A and B. Then suddenly there was mass chaos. Staff was running around everywhere telling us to stay where we were. Apparently, protesters began rioting in the athletes' path to the stadium. Unfortunately, this did not allow the rest of the countries, including Honduras, to walk with their flag.
Once the protesters were cleared, we made our way to the stadium. It was incredible. There were thousands of fans surrounding and cheering for us. There were fireworks and TV networks everywhere. It was definitely an euphoric experience.
Once every country made their way to their seats, several performances were going to start. I made the decision to take a bus before they began as I was tired and needed to rest to prepare for my matches.
After I arrived back, I grabbed a quick dinner at the Italian station and headed to bed.
- Jimmy Bendeck
Jessica Hinojosa World University Games
Aug. 20, 2017
Hello Baylor Nation, this is Jessica Hinojosa from the women's tennis team. I am representing Mexico at the World University Games in Taipei, and I will be blogging for you about my experience here this week.
On Monday, August 14, I first traveled from my home city Guadalajara to Mexico City, where the Mexican delegation gathered to receive the flag. The 250 Mexican athletes were there and I met people from all over the country that played different sports. I met with the tennis team that I am traveling with. We are comprised of four women and four men with two coaches traveling with us.
On Tuesday, we left for the airport at 2 a.m., and we traveled from Mexico City to San Francisco, where we had a three hour wait to catch the last flight to Taipei, Taiwan. My amazing experience started there when the whole Mexican delegation was traveling together, with the same uniform and meeting athletes from different countries in San Francisco.
When I finally arrived to Taipei after almost 28 hours of traveling on Wednesday night, we went straight to the athlete village where they have a building for almost every country. We went to eat at the dining hall with 10 different kind of foods from all over the world and a thousand athletes from different countries. After eating dinner, I went straight to bed to get some rest after a long traveling day and recover for the next day.
Thursday and Friday were practice days, so we went to the tennis center for the first time. The facility has a stadium, 10 outdoor courts and five indoor courts. The two coaches in charge of the Mexican tennis team, gave us the lineup that we will have for the competition. I will be playing singles, which is very good for me.
On Saturday, I went to the Tennis Center after having a nice breakfast at the dinning hall. I had a morning practice and I met with Jimmy Bendeck from the Baylor men's tennis team. Then I headed back to the village where we had to get ready for the Opening Ceremony. I reunited with the Mexican delegation and we got to the bus that was taking us to the stadium. I got out of the bus and the place was full of Taiwanese people welcoming all the athletes like we were superstars. They were so happy to see us that I started liking this place even more. When the Opening Ceremony started, there was a parade with every country, so I went out there in a Stadium with 50,000 people going crazy for all the athletes that were marching. There were a lot of fireworks and local singing stars. It was an incredible show and a great experience. I feel extremely proud to be representing my country in these World University Games and I am going to fight my best once I start competing.
Thank you for having me and I will keep you guys posted on my experiences and results.
Jimmy Bendeck World University Games
Aug. 18, 2017
Hello Baylor Nation, my name is Jimmy Bendeck. I play on your Baylor Men's Tennis team. I will be blogging for you guys about my daily experiences here at the World University Games in Taipei where I am representing Honduras in singles. I would like to start off by saying thank you to Baylor and Honduras for giving me the opportunity to be part of such a prestigious event.
Day one: Aug. 16
My day began at 4:20 A.M. I had three flights to arrive in Taipei: Waco to Dallas, Dallas to San Francisco, and finally San Francisco to Taipei. In total, it took 28 hours from my first flight in Waco to the time I landed in Taipei. The first two flights went quick. In San Francisco, I had a 4 hour lay over. During my time in San Fransisco is when I first began to see the magnitude and size of the World University Games. At my airplane's gate there were at least 50 athletes who were going to participate. I walked around and spoke to many of them. There were students from all over the country competing in sports such as: fencing, swimming and Judo. Everyone was friendly. I spent most of my layover having lunch with two golfers from South Africa and a tennis player from Australia. The next flight did not go quite as smooth as the first two.
There is a 13 hour time difference between Waco and Taipei. Technically I arrived at 8 p.m. on Aug. 17.
Day two: Aug. 17
The plane trip from San Francisco to Taipei took 14 1/2 hours. I brought several meals onto the flight knowing that the food they gave wouldn't be sufficient. I also purchased two gallons of water in the airport making sure I was hydrated for the weather in Taipei. I strategically decided not to sleep on this trip so that I could sleep through the night once I arrived in Taipei. Having all this time in my hands I decided to use it wisely by binge watching the first season of Atypical on Netflix. Even through I came prepared for the long flight, it still took a toll on my body. Sitting in one spot 14 hours is not an easy or fun task.
At my arrival I was greeted by Honduras' Taiwanese guide named Shu Han. She guided me through immigration, baggage claim and onto my transport bus. The whole process was fairly organized with the exception of the delegations who had brought the wrong paperwork. The first major thing I noticed on arrival was the weather. It was hotter then I expected. The sun was down and it was 90 degrees. Luckily this isn't to much of an issue as I train in this weather every day in Waco.
After the bus ride from the airport, Shu Han guided me through the security and into the athletes' village. The housing for the athletes consisted of multiple zones of 30 story buildings. I was taken to Zone C building 2 where I met the members of the Honduran delegation for the first time. The apartment I was staying in consisted of three rooms with two beds. Once I was settled in I set on foot to the village's one and only dining hall. The hall consists of 10 different buffet stations with food from all over the world. There were over a thousand athletes at the dining hall (they keep count of the number of people in each building at all times with electronic sensors and signs at every door). These student-athletes were from every country I could possibly think of including: Latvia, Finland, Turkey and even North Korea. I clearly did not do enough research into the event as I was in shock with the diversity of the athletes.
At this point it was 9 p.m., and I had not slept in over a day. I quickly ate the rice and beef from the Taipei food station and headed back with my delegation to the apartment. I showered and then sat down speak to Ramon, our delegation's leader. He let me know that he was unable to get my event identification because they needed to see my Baylor ID. This would mean that I would have to spend a great deal of time the following day in long lines to receive it. After our conversation I looked over the map of the village to plan my day. I reflected on all the new experiences I had gone through during the day and envisioned on all the new experiences yet to come on this trip.