As the hundreds of players race around the world in hunt of Olympic qualification, players from Australia have taken it upon themselves to chase the dream.
Last week, Australia’s Louisa Ma and Anthony Joe travelled to Baku to compete in a BWF International Challenge event, the Azerbaijan International 2019.
In the absence of a coach, the players go the extra mile to find efficient means of travel, accommodation and training while abroad.
“I’m lucky that Anthony is playing as it gives me someone to travel with. We’re able to share the cost of accommodation and we will be able to train together”, says Louisa.
“We organise our own practice times on the competitions courts but often we ask other players if they’d like to join for quick sparring, maybe 5 points games. There is always a few people around looking for extra time on the courts so looking for others is not difficult”, says Anthony.
Meanwhile, the pair missed out on competing in the Crown Group Australian Badminton Open 2019 in their home country, where a handful of Australian and New Zealand players competed. This HSBC BWF World Tour Super 300 event drew an incredibly high calibre of athletes with several of the world’s top 10 player’s competing.
“We chose to enter Azerbaijan as the Australian Open level is too high to qualify for. The lowest qualifying rank is around 100 whilst I am 190. Hopefully in the future my ranking will be high enough to qualify for Australian Open”, says Anthony.
The increased presence of the world’s top players competing in Australia resonated with those in Azerbaijan as the lower ranked, aspiring players also rushed to participate for the same reason. The high quality of competition was evident as both Ma and Joe narrowly missed out on qualification for the main draw.
Anthony won his first-round qualification match before losing to the fifth seed and missing out on a place in the main draw. Similarly, Louisa suffered a narrow defeat in the qualification rounds:
- Anthony Joe (AUS) vs Jahid Alhasanov (AZE) 21-9 21-15
- Iskandar Zulkarnain (MAS) vs Anthony Joe (AUS) 21-16 21-15
- Maryna Ilyinskaya (UKR) vs Louisa Ma (AUS) 17-21 21-14 21-19
Find out all the results, statistics and draws from the Azerbaijan International 2019 on Tournament Software.
Anthony and Louisa are now traveling to Quatre Bornes to compete in the next BWF International Challenge event, the FLEET Mauritius International 2019, which takes place from Thursday 13-Sunday 16 June 2019. They will be joined by other singles players from Australia: Yingzi Jiang and Pit Seng Low.
Follow out all the results, statistics and draws from the FLEET Mauritius International 2019 on Tournament Software.