Hey, yeah, what is up with separating all the sentences at the beginning like that? I like the flow of the beginning, but I think it should all be brought together as one paragraph. Maybe start paragraph2 with:
It started with a...
Only change it to:
The tournament started with a...
ALSO, it would be good to put your thesis sentence at the end of the first paragraph, right after "our arch rivals in the final."
HEY, Mustafa's advice about your first line is great! And I have actually made that mistake in my writing.. I think I just became a better writer because of Mustafa's comment, there. Writing should focus on the subject, not itself! It's like the Zen story about the finger pointing at the moon: Do not miss the moon because of looking at the finger that is pointing to it!
About the rest of the essay: How about less story and more reflection! It is a cool story, but the reader does not really care as much as you do. It is better to tell the story in half the amount of words, and then use the extra space to reflect very thoughtfully and sensibly about that accomplishment, what it teaches about life, practice, and perseverance, you know? Use the extra space to reflect on what it all means, what effect it will have on you, and you can even tie it into your academic and professional aspirations a little.
BTW, I had to remove your original draft so we don't have too much duplicate content. It's okay for you to post a revised draft, though! Start by putting all those sentences from the beginning into one paragraph.