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AAA Cup 2017
INDIA IN THE LEAD!
A disclaimer/confession must come first: We failed to do our due diligence with Deepika Padukone. We didn't realize until the middle of group play that the "Bollywood" star is not a native of India. She actually was born in Denmark. But we decided it was too late to substitute Padukone out of the 2017 AAA Cup. So we kept quiet to see what would happen - and after a hard-fought playoff round, she provides her adopted homeland of India with its first-ever Super-Hair cup title!
An abundance of group play shutouts indicated a few hairstyles were dominant in this tournament. When the top four came together, the battle was intense. Padukone had a back-and-forth struggle with Egyptian actress Ayten Amer, yet rallied in the last two days to win the semifinal. Then she overwhelmed former Miss Universe Pia Wurtzbach of the Philippines in the Championship Final, gaining a 73-percent triumph.
While Egypt fell short of back-to-back AAA Cups, Amer won the Consolation Final for third place. She defeated Oman native Denise Ellison by a 62-percent margin. That means an automatic berth in Super-Hair World Cup V for Egypt, while Oman is outside for now.
Weeks of open nominations for candidates from Africa, Asia and Australasia (hence the AAA Cup name) closed 21 April. Then we drew for groups in a live conference call 24 April. After two qualifying weeks to settle some national contestants, six weeks of group play ended this way....
INDIA: DEEPIKA PADUKONE. A Bollywood actress defeated Priyanka Chopra in national qualifying, then rolled up the best possible record in group play.
India 15 points, Thailand (Tanaporn Thongsing) 6, New Zealand (Rachel Hunter) 4, Taiwan (June Ting) 0.
PHILIPPINES: PIA WURTZBACH. A former Miss Universe who defeated Marianne Lyles in national qualifying, then won a tense showdown in Match 6 to claim her group.
EGYPT: AYTEN AMER. A model-turned-actress won a four-way national qualifying contest, and had no votes against her until Match 6. She gained the "wild card" spot based on winning percentage.
Philippines 13 points, Egypt 10, Australia (Amanda Drury) 5, Mozambique (Tamara Seda) 0.
OMAN: DENISE ELLISON. The Oman native was 2009 AAA runner-up as a tennis player at Notre Dame, and impressed again this time as an MBA candidate at Northwestern University.
Oman 13 points, Indonesia (Sandra Dewi) 10, Vietnam (Betty Nguyen) 2, Algeria (Sofia Boutella) 0.
For a full match schedule, results and standings, click here.
SUPER-HAIR NATIONAL RANKINGS, AFTER AAA CUP 2017:
1. United States 2. India 3. Lithuania 4. Philippines 5. Colombia
6. England 7. Egypt 8. Honduras 9. Belarus 10. Oman
11. Puerto Rico 12. Slovakia 13. Indonesia 14. Canada 15. Greece
Review other AAA Cups: 2013 2009 2005
Some tournament flags courtesy ITA's Flags of All Countries; used with permission
OTHER SUPER-HAIR CUPS: Super-Hair World Cup (next in 2018) EuroCup (2016) Cup of the Americas (2015)
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