Pictured: Shaunna Li (left) and Edward Lau (right). Photo credit: Badminton Photo
This month, two of New Zealand’s top singles players are heading to the European Centre of Excellence (based in Denmark) as part of our player development Tier 1 scholarship.
Oceania’s 2019 Junior Champion, 2020 Open Runner Up and 2022 Open Champion, Edward Lau, will be attending for six weeks to develop his game.
Similarly, Oceania’s 2019 Junior women’s singles champion, Shaunna Li, is attending the camp for four weeks. Having missed out on this year’s Oceania Championships due to COVID-19, Shaunna aims to utilise this opportunity to catch up on any lost time over the frustrating last two years. While she couldn’t compete internationally due to New Zealand’s strict borders, she thrived domestically, winning the National Championships two years in a row (2021 and 2022).
The pair also play mixed doubles together but admitted they would like to focus on their singles game with their eyes set on future Oceania titles and representing New Zealand in future Commonwealth and Olympic Games.
The European Centre of Excellence has a strong reputation for developing players to compete on the world stage, while also giving the pair an opportunity to network and train with a more diverse mix of players than their usual stomping ground in Auckland.
“This will be good preparation for the Grade 3 tournaments in Oceania later this year”, says Edward Lau
“Edward and Shaunna are still early on in their badminton career. At only 21 and 18 years old [respectively], they still have lots of potential and this scholarship provides them with a fantastic opportunity to take their game to the next level ” says Badminton Oceania Coaching and Development Manager, Robbie Thackham.
Both players aim to compete in Oceania’s upcoming tournaments from October onwards: Sydney International (5-9 October), Bendigo International (12-16 October), North Harbour International (19-23 October), CROWN Group Australian Badminton Open (15-20 November), New Zealand Open (22-27 November) and Manawatu International (1-4 December). All six tournaments are part of the Oceania Tour 2022 (where Edward is currently leading following his win at the VICTOR Oceania Championships 2022), which provides both players the chance to compete for prize money to support further development opportunities.
Later this month, Tahiti’s golden boy from the recent Northern Marianas 2022 Pacific Mini Games, Rémi Rossi, will also be heading out to Denmark to join the pair in training.
However, Rémi will be attending for a much longer period of three months, with aims to compete in BWF tournaments throughout the rest of 2022 and setting greater targets for the VICTOR Oceania Championships and the BWF World Championships in 2023.