With less than two weeks to go, the teams from Australia and New Zealand are preparing for the TOTAL BWF Sudirman Cup 2019 which take place in Nanning, China from 19 – 24 May.
Australia and New Zealand have been drawn in the same group – 3A – and will face each other on the first day, Sunday 19 May, from 6pm.
The game will mark three months since the two teams last met, in the final of the VICTOR Oceania Mixed Team Championships in February.
The trans-tasman rivalry continues and both teams have it all to play for, as the final result was a narrow 3-2 victory in Australia.
We spoke to two champions from the recent VICTOR Oceania Individual Championships (Juniors and Open) to see how they are preparing for the Sudirman Cup and the elusive Australia vs New Zealand clash:
Australia’s Simon Wing Hang Leung left the regional championships with numerous medals from the Open competition: Mixed Doubles Champion (with Gronya Somerville), Open Men’s Doubles Runner-Up (with Mitchell Wheller) and Mixed Team Champions.
“Preparations with the team for myself begin end of the week when I travel down to Melbourne on Friday. I believe some of them have stated training already but for myself I haven’t been able to go down as early as I wanted because of work commitments. But the whole team will definitely be together by Monday and have a good week of training together before we fly off to China late Thursday night.”
At 22-years-old, Leung is competing in the Sudirman Cup for the first time. After a string of international tournaments over the past three months, the Australian player is eager to gain more experience on the world stage.
“Sudirman cup is one of the prestigious events. It’s the world team championships and for myself it’s my first-time part of the sudirman cup team after narrowly missing out 2 years ago. This event will really give me a better understanding and experience in team matches. At the end of the day it’s just another tournament where I want to perform to the best of my abilities and also learn as much as I can from myself, my team mates and the pros.”
Despite winning the match against New Zealand in the Mixed Team Championships three months ago, Leung is determined not to act complacent
“New Zealand will be strong as always. We played them in the finals earlier in the team from Oceania champs and we were fortunate enough to get the win. I think as a team we will really prepare well as we did in Oceania and do what we know works against them. We will go in with a very positive mindset just like any other opponents we play and fight for each point. We I guess go in as the favourites, so we do have a bit of pressure, but we won’t give away easy points.”
Meanwhile, New Zealand’s up and coming junior player, Edward Lau was crowned the Junior Men’s Single Champion in Melbourne and was part of the team that narrowly lost to Australia in the Junior Mixed Team final. Lau’s impressive performances saw his selection into this year’s Sudirman Cup and the 18-year-old youngster is excited about the opportunity to embrace the senior circuit:
“The Sudirman Cup is different to other tournaments that I have participated in as it is my first senior level mixed team competition. I look forward to gaining experience by competing against senior players and being in an environment with a senior team.”
Speaking of the VICTOR Oceania Mixed Team final, Lau will be going one higher in the Sudriman Cup as the only junior to play alongside his senior peers:
“I think that the team learnt a lot from the tie against Australia and that we have all trained hard since the Oceania mixed team champs.”
Find out more about the TOTAL BWF Sudirman Cup 2019, including the draw and competing nations here.