New Zealand will compete in Group 3A at the TOTAL BWF Sudirman Cup 2019, alongside neighbouring country Australia, Nepal and Ireland. Despite a wealth of experience competing around the region, this will be the first time for many of the player’s to compete in the prestigious event and in front of the badminton-crazed nation, including the likes of 2018 Oceania Men’s Singles Champion, Abhinav Manota.
This year’s team includes:
- Oliver Leydon-Davis
- Abhinav Manota
- Edward Lau
- Dacmen Vong
- Sally Fu
- Anona Pak
- Alyssa Tagle
- Justine Villegas
Only Oliver Leydon-Davis, Sally Fu and Anona Pak have represented New Zealand in the Sudirman Cup before and will be using their experience to spur on the team in 2019.
Leydon-Davis has partnered up with Abhinav Manota in pursuit of Olympic qualification in the men’s doubles, while youngster and reigning regional Junior Champion in the men’s singles, Edward Lau, will get a taste of the senior circuit in his Sudirman Cup debut.
“This event is the world’s biggest team event so i feel very privileged to play in this event. Also, wearing silver fern for the country in the team events is different compared to the individual tournaments” – Abhinav Manota
Ninteen-year-old Dacmen Vong will also enjoy his first experience of the Sudirman Cup after the youngster was called into the team:
“Compared to the other tournaments I’ve been to, this tournament is the biggest I’ve ever competed in. Having had played World Juniors before, the transition from the junior to senior will be quite exciting as I get to play against players at a much higher level.” – Dacmen Vong
Alyssa Tagle and Justine Villegas were also called to wear the silver fern for the first time at the Sudirman Cup. Tagle recalls on the increased training regime leading into the event:
“With Sudirman Cup being less than 2 weeks away, the team has been training with greater intensity and also trying different combinations in partnerships to see what will work best for us.” – Alyssa Tagle
Meanwhile, Justine Villegas, who captained Team New Zealand at the VICTOR Oceania Mixed Team Championships 2019 has her say on the re-match against Australia in Nanning:
“Losing to Australia 2-3 in our last encounter was nail-biting. I think a lot of my teammates stepped up on the day. It’s amazing what great support can do to someone’s performance on court! With the preparation that we’ve done leading up to this tournament, I think just knowing that the team is there to support you and having a positive mindset going into the matches will make a difference to this tie” – Justine Villegas