Every year at the continental championships, a player is awarded with the Daniel Shirley Sportsmanship Award.
Daniel Shirley is one of New Zealand’s most decorated badminton players over the last 25 years, winning three bronze and one silver medal across three Commonwealth Games. In 2005, he also went on to win a bronze medal at the World Championships alongside mixed doubles partner, Sara Runesten Petersen.
The award recognises a player who has demonstrated the ideals of sportsmanship on the court through their performance and demeanor.
Previous winners of the award include:
- 2014: Lauti Na’aniumotu – Tonga
- 2016: Michelle Kremper – Guam
- 2019: David Yao – Guam
During the VICTOR Oceania Championships 2020, a panel of technical officials and organisers decided on Fiji’s Liam Fong as the deserving recipient of the award.
“The group who selected the winner felt that Liam stood out ahead of all other players in his overall presence and respect shown on-court for his opposition, partners and officials in both the individual and team events. This award is an honour to receive as it acknowledges qualities in the recipient that underlies the fundamentals of sport“, says Badminton Oceania Secretary General, Julie Carrel.
Following a bye in the final round of men’s team matches, the Fijian team did not attend the presentations, so Fong (who is currently studying and training in Auckland) was invited into the Badminton Oceania office to receive the award.
“One of my favourite moments from this year’s championships was our match against Australia’s Matthew Chau and Simon Leung. Me and Chang Ho managed to get 19 points in the first game and felt like we gave them a run for their money.”
“I actually found out that I had won the sportsmanship award when my mum returned to Fiji. She is also part of the badminton community and we were happy to hear the news”, says Fong.