Meet the Malaysian Quidditch Team, a diverse collection of athletes who went on to represent our country in the Quidditch World Cup recently! In their debut tournament, they reached up to the 18th position in the world. In today’s Featured Interview, the team is represented in this article by their Captain, Andrew Mervyn Kasimir to explain to us more about this sport.
1. Hi Andrew Kasimir, please give us a brief introduction about the team!
The team that represented Malaysia at this year’s IQA World Cup in Florence, Italy was made up of players who play quidditch locally as well as abroad.
We had the luxury of shortlisting players and were able to pick the best from the lot. 2018 was the national team’s debut but quidditch has existed in Malaysia since 2013 when the Damansara Dementors was set up.
The Damansara Dementors in fact have competed internationally at the Asian Quidditch Cup 2017 in Hanoi, Vietnam where they placed 3rd just narrowly being beaten by a South Korean team called the Seoul Puffskeins.
Players based in Malaysia trained together almost a whole year leading up to the IQA World Cup and when the whole team met up in Italy, they trained for 3 straight days as whole to get some chemistry going.
2. How was the team formed and who are the members?
In order to gather Malaysian players locally and internationally, we put out an interest form to identify Malaysian players who’d be interested in representing the country.
Those who played abroad had to send in footages of them at previous tournaments or at training for assessment.
A chunk of the players play for the Damansara Dementors while the others are attached to other quidditch clubs based in Australia, Canada, USA, and the UK.
Photo credit: KS Goh
3. What are some of the reasons the members of the team started playing Quidditch?
So obviously some came for Harry Potter and stayed for the sport while others came purely for the sport. Some even started out of curiosity.
I started playing in 2012 in Perth, Australia because I thought it was interesting. At that point I knew of Harry Potter, seen some of the movies, and generally had no interest in Harry Potter. I thought it was for nerds.
Besides the origins of the game there really isn’t anything Harry Pottery about it.
For all of us, it’s like any other sport, just that it’s mixed gender. Competitively you’re not allowed to field a full male or female or non binary team.
One team can only have a maximum of 4 players of the same gender on pitch. For example, 4 girls and 2 guys or 4 guys and 2 girls.
4. How long has the team been training for the Quidditch World Cup?
We trained for about a year. We’d meet up on weekends to train together and during the week we’d train by ourselves.
Some do CrossFit, some powerlift, and some train according to a fitness plan laid out by one of our players.
5. How did the team practice for the cup?
A big chunk of the players locally have experience competing at various levels so we’d share ideas on what to work on but a lot of the strategy came from Nadhirah Anwar who volunteered early on to coach the team.
She used to play with the Warwick Quidditch Club in the UK.
6. Please tell us about your experience at the Quidditch World Cup.
It was extremely surreal for me to be there with a nearly full roster of talented players.
After Day 1 of the tournament, one of the players mentioned to me that in an interview back in 2014 I said that it would be a dream to one day play for my country at the IQA World Cup. And there we were on Day 1 right at the top of the lower bracket at 17th place (out of 29).
This was a big deal for us especially since it was our debut. We ultimately made it to the Lower Bracket Final on Day 2 where we lost and finished with an international ranking of 18th place.
It was a big eye opener especially as a player because against world class players I had to change the way I played back in Asia and I’m sure the same can be said for the other Asian teams which include South Korea, Vietnam, and Hong Kong.
Overall it was an amazing experience learning new skills as a player and as a team. We’re definitely bringing back what we learned in Florence to Kuala Lumpur to further improve Malaysian quidditch.
At club level we’re hoping to finally win the Asian Quidditch Cup in 2019.
Photo credit: KS Goh
7. Please tell us a little bit about the local (i.e. Malaysian) Quidditch scene
The local quidditch scene is not as big as the ones in Australia, Europe, and the US but over the years we’ve made it work.
We may not have a league going or another team to compete against locally but what has made us stick around is the friends we’ve found in each other. It’s not uncommon to see us hanging out off the pitch.
Now that the Asian teams have agreed to meet biennially to compete at the Asian Quidditch Cup, it has given us more drive to improve our game and ourselves as athletes.
This also allows the sport to develop further in quality in the region. The other Asian countries also only have 1-2 teams so meeting up to compete gives players the opportunity to learn different strategies and of course meet new friends from other countries!
8. How could someone interested get involved?
People looking to get involved just need to attend our training sessions. It’s free and we’re always looking for more people.
You don’t need to know how to play, we’ll teach you. You can find us at Jalan BU 4/1 in Bandar Utama on Sunday evenings.
Just message Quidditch Malaysia or the Damansara Dementors on Facebook or Instagram and we’ll take care of you.
Photo credit: KS Goh
9. What were some of the team’s biggest highlights this cup?
The biggest highlight of all is definitely ranking 18th in the world.
Sometimes I think we set the bar too high for ourselves but that just means we need to work harder and smarter at the next World Cup.
Other highlights included making to the Lower Bracket Final. On Day 2 we were winning game after game and it blew our minds that we made it that far.
10. What were some of the team’s biggest struggles during this cup?
Surprisingly, coming from Malaysia where it’s steaming hot, we struggled under the Italian sun. Staying hydrated was important.
Another struggle which we anticipated was our very first game as a team. Though we trained together for 3 days leading up to the tournament, we had to quickly build chemistry during the first game which was against Spain.
We lost to Spain but we found our footing and beat Switzerland in the next game which was a big morale boost.
Photo credit: KS Goh
11. What advice would you offer to people who want to get involved in Quidditch in Malaysia?
If you’re in the Klang Valley, come join us!
If you’re living too far away, start your own team. Get in touch with us and we’ll guide you as much as we can.
Quidditch is really a great way to get into shape or meet new people. People of all skill and fitness levels are welcome.
If you’d like to be part of the Quidditch Team, check out their Instagram and Facebook page to learn more about the sport!
Header Image Source: KS Goh