The first Olympic qualifying event is upon us in New Zealand as they players have arrived in Auckland to compete in the Barfoot & Thompson New Zealand Open 2019 – a HSBC BWF World Tour Super 300 event.
The men’s, women’s and mixed doubles sees a strong contingent of Oceania players competing as they rush for world ranking points which will also boost their position on the Oceania tour – an initiative supported by the BWF to encourage our players to compete in regional events with the chance of winning funding to subsidise international training and competition.
In the men’s doubles, the regional runners-up from the recent VICTOR Oceania Individual Championships 2019, Simon Leung and Mitchell Wheller will be aiming to qualify for the main draw with one qualification match standing in their way. The pair will play against New Zealand’s Dhanny Oud and Christopher Steeghs on Tuesday, meaning an Oceania pair will qualify for the men’s doubles main draw.
New Zealand received one wild card entry for each discipline – awarded to Riga Oud and Daxxon Vong in the men’s doubles – who will compete against a Chinese pair and the winner of qualifier 2, either Jiang Zhengbang/Liang Yongwang or Liang Weikeng/Shang Yichen.
“My partner Riga and I are really looking forward to the opportunity to play in the main round for NZ open, and the exposure to all the top international players we won’t usually have in local tournaments will be a good learning experience for us. We are very lucky we are able to compete in such a big tournament in our home country, as we will usually have to travel for opportunities like this, and will try our best to put on a good show for our friends and family. We will be playing the winners from the qualifying draw so we will be watching their games and will try to put what we have done in practice to our game, and hopefully give our opponents a good run and see how we compete in an international level.” – Daxon Vong, New Zealand
In the women’s doubles, New Zealand could take all four qualification sports, as six out of eight pairs in the qualifiers consist of New Zealand players. The following qualifying matches take place tomorrow:
- Shaunna Li/Ashely Tan (NZL) vs Sayaka Hobara/Natsuki Sone  (JPN)
- Rebecca Hayley Fong/Stephanie Liao (NZL) vs Chen Xiaofei/Zhou Chaomin (CHN)
- Erena Calder-Hawkins/Anona Pak (NZL) vs Roanne Apalisok/Janice Jiang (NZL)
- Jasmin Chung Man Ng/Justine Villegas (NZL) vs Ella Smith/Jacqueline Yu  (NZL)
New Zealand’s Sally Fu and Alyssa Tagle will compete in the main draw as New Zealand’s wild card entry, facing Korea’s Kim So Yeong and Kong Hee Yong in the first round.
Meanwhile, the reigning VICTOR Oceania Individual Champions from Australia, Gronya Somerville and Setyana Mapasa, have qualified for the main draw where they will face the Japanese second seeds, Misaki Matsutomo and Ayaka Takahashi in the first round on Wednesday.
Somerville has also qualified for the main draw of the mixed doubles, playing alongside her partner Simon Wing Hang Leung. The pair won the VICTOR Oceania Individual Championships in February and are looking to extend their lead in the Oceania Tourwhere they are currently ranked first. They will face the seventh seeds from Germany, Mark Lamsfuss and Isabel Herttrich on Wednesday.
New Zealand’s Maika Phillips and Anona Pak will compete as New Zealand’s wild card entry in the main draw, where they’ll face Indonesia’s Akbar Bintang Cahyono and Annisa Saufika. Phillips and Pak will be joined by at least one other Oceania pair as three New Zealand and one Australian pair will compete in the mixed doubles qualifications tomorrow:
- Mitchell Wheller/Hsuan-Yu Wendy Chen  (AUS) vs Min Hyuk Kang/Baek Ha Na (KOR)
- Dhanny Oud/Jasmin Chung Man Ng (NZL) vs Yeung Ming Nok/Yeung Nga Ting (HKG)
- Evan Wong/Jacqueline Yu (NZL) vs Jonathan Curtin/Erena Calder-Hawkins (NZL)
“I have trained hard and well in the past couple of weeks, so I am ready to fight and enjoy the competition.” – Hsuan-Yu Wendy Chen
You can read more about Oceania’s singles players here.
The draws and results for the whole tournament are available to view on Tournament Software.