We caught up with New Zealand’s only first seeded player in the VICTOR Oceania Open Individual Championships 2019, Abhinav Manota.
The 2018 men’s singles champion denied Tahiti of their first ever gold medal in these Championships in Waikato, New Zealand, after Manota defeated Remi Rossi in the final 21-12 21-14. There is every possibility of a rematch this year as both players will be competing again.
We asked Manota how he plans to defend his title in Melbourne once the Individual event gets underway from 11 – 14 February 2019 at Melbourne Sports and Aquatics Centre:
1) How have you been preparing for the VICTOR Oceania Championships 2019?
This will be my second time playing Oceania tournament and I am really looking forward to it, so I have been training six days a week with a variety of on court and off court exercises. This year, I am also training for doubles as I will be playing men’s doubles with Oliver Leydon-Davis. Together, we played our first tournament in Scotland last year. I guess preparation is a tricky thing, while I undertake plenty of training and preparation in the build up to the event, there will always be room for improvement. It’s all about how you apply them on court what you have learned.
2) What are the pressures of entering the men’s singles event as first seed?
Coming in at number one seed is tough as there is a high expectation to win, where as last year I was unseeded and lucky enough to win men’s singles title. I guess it’s all about learning from new challenges and I can’t wait to learn more from the competition and learn more about myself.
3) What are you most excited about at the VICTOR Oceania Championships 2019?
Representing my country has always been my dream. I am very excited to be playing for New Zealand again this year which means I get to wear the silver fern – which is always an honour.
4) What can spectators and those watching on the live-stream expect to see at VICTOR Oceania Championships 2019?
Plenty of fast-paced and high level badminton. There will be players from lots of countries in the Pacific that have played the Olympics and Commonwealth Games previously. It will be great to see the new partnerships being played in Doubles and Mixed events too.
5) The event will see juniors and open players, competing on courts next to each other. What advice would you give to the younger players?
My main piece of advice is to support your team mates on and off the court. Cheer for them as it does make a huge difference when you are on court playing some hard games. Stay focused, try your hardest and don’t give up until it’s finished. Go for every point.