Pictured: Kaitlyn Ea, Australia. Photo Credit: Badminton Photo
For the upcoming VICTOR Oceania Championships 2022, Badminton Oceania reached out to Badminton Australia’s reigning Women’s Doubles Junior Champion, Kaitlyn Ea, who won the 2019 junior title with Angela Yu. Can she break into the Open era with a tournament win right off the bat, in her new partnership with the Tokyo Olympian star, Gronya Somerville.
The two will be entering the event down under on the back of testing out their team chemistry at the Orlean Masters 2022 last month – Kaitlyn’s first BWF World Tour event. The Australian pair clashed against Hong Kong’s Ng Tsz Yau and Tsang Hiu Yan, ranked #63 globally. Unfortunately, they were not able to overcome their obstacle in the tight three-game match and faced an early first round exit from the tournament. The duo are both based in Melbourne, allowing them to train together on a regular basis.
Check out what the 18-year-old talent had to say about her latest badminton journey:
You are still the reigning Junior women’s doubles champion from 2019. Can you summarise what your Badminton journey has looked like (inclusive of COVID) until this day?
“The last few years have been pretty eventful. Having to juggle badminton and my VCE studies all through a pandemic was something I was not prepared for. Whilst the lockdowns were disruptive to my studies and having to complete SACS online was not preferable, it gave me more time for training. I would train early in the mornings and would then attend school virtually through ZOOM in the car on the way back home. I did not travel much due to the pandemic so I was able to focus on my studies leading up to the exams. I am currently studying at the University of Melbourne and am travelling internationally for my first world circuit tournaments with Gronya!”
What was the process of swapping partners and identifying you to compete with Gronya?
“At the beginning of the new tournament year, Badminton Australia offered me the opportunity to partner with Gronya in several international tournaments in which I gladly accepted.”
What are your thoughts/feelings on the change of partners and stepping into the shoes of Setyana Mapasa?
“Both Gronya and Setyana are experienced badminton players whom I take great inspiration from. I have a lot to learn from the new partnership and am excited for the future.”
Do you live in the same city? What is your training schedule like as a Women’s Doubles pair?
“We both live in Melbourne so we are able to train together at both Badminton Victoria and Badminton Australia training sessions.”
What are you aims for 2022?
“To continue to develop my new partnership with Gronya and to hopefully compete in the Commonwealth Games!”
What have your preparations for the ‘return to badminton’ looked like following COVID?
“I’ve been training most weekdays at the Badminton Victoria and Badminton Australia sessions with Victorian state squad members. The program has become more established and it is great to spar with other amazing players.”
The Commonwealth Games are coming up soon, which tournaments or trainings do you have planned to prepare for this?
“Orleans Masters, Australian Nationals, Oceania Championships, and BWF Uber Cup.”
What sacrifices did you find the hardest to make your career in sports?
“Missing out on social events with friends and family due to travelling and training. Also having to wake up early on most mornings.”
Written by Alex Deng
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