YONEX North Harbour International 2019 attracts a mix of familiar faces and fresh talent to the badminton circuit.
From Thursday 21 – Sunday 24 March 2019, players who are representing countries as far as England will compete in the BWF Future Series event at Badminton North Harbour in Auckland.
With a huge entry in the men’s singles event, the draw of 63 players has attracted the likes of Tien Minh Nguyen of Vietnam and Andre Marteen of Indonesia – who both sit within the top 100 of the world rankings. Nguyen is currently ranked at number 64 and is a previous winner of the YONEX Waikato International – previously a BWF Future Series, now a BWF International Series which takes place the week after the YONEX North Harbour International. Marteen is currently sat at 92 following two final appearances in 2018 at the Mongolian International Series (runner-up) and YONEX Slovak Open (winner).
Elsewhere in the draw, there has been no entry from New Zealand’s top two men’s singles players – Oscar Guo and Abhinav Manota. The two players are previous winners of the VICTOR Oceania Championships over the last two years, however there will be some other familiar faces who competed at the regional championships last month at North Harbour – Australian fourth and fifth seeds, Pit Seng Low and Peter Yan will be looking to challenge for the podium, while New Caledonia’s Ronan Ho-Yagues will compete. Meanwhile, Tonga’s inspirational performance from the VICTOR Oceania Junior Championships has created waves in the country, with three Tongan representatives competing in this men’s singles draw: Jadore Fotu, Reneay Naaniumotu and Lauti Na’Aniumotu.
We are also excited to see some fresh talent from China compete on the international stage for the first time: Tang Kaifeng, Gu Junfeng, Zhang Weiyi and Gao Zhengze are young clubs players and we are sure they’ll be travelling to New Zealand with high aspirations.
Like husband, like wife, Thi Trang Vu from Vietnam is the first seed in the women’s singles draw. The world number 59 is married to the Tien Minh Nguyen – first seed in the men’s singles draw. The husband-wife competitors will be looking to return home with a gold medal in hand. Meanwhile, the second seed from Myanmar, Thet Htar Thuzar, has already celebrated an incredible 2019 after winning the Uganda International in February and the Kenya International last week.
Similarly, there is no sign of the previous (five-time winner) VICTOR Oceania Champion, Hsuan-Yu Wendy Chen, of Australia. Meanwhile, semi-finalist from the recent regional championships and New Zealand’s third seed, Sally Fu will compete in the event in front of a home crowd.
The reigning champions from the VICTOR Oceania Championships, Simon Wing Hang Leung and Mitchell Wheller (Australia), will look to further their reign in the men’s doubles where they enter the draw as first seeds. Similarly, Jonathan Curtin and Dylan Soedjasa, who were quarter-finalists at the regional championships will compete as third seeds in front of a home crowd. Meanwhile, representatives from England will travel to North Harbour to compete in the event. Farouk Hassan and Chun Kar Lung will play as the fourth seeds while mixed nationality pairing of Hin Shun Wong (England) and Jeffrey Lam (Canada) will compete as the second seeds.
In the women’s doubles, New Zealand take the top two seed spots, with Sally Fu and Alyssa Tagle competing as the first seeds, while compatriots Elena Calder-Hawkins and Anona Pak will enter as second seeds, with a first round tie against China’s Hou Fangfang and Li Jiajia. Two of the juniors who represented Tonga for the first time ever at the recent VICTOR Oceania Championships are also looking to gain more experience on the international stage. The Tongan youngsters, Mele Lingisiva Kei and Lata ‘Isitolo will come up against New Zealand’s Ko Hyun Jeong and Fransisca Rahardja.
Finally, in the mixed doubles, Simon wang Hang Leung and Gronya Somerville will be looking to capitalise on their recent win at the VICTOR Oceania Championships when they compete as the first seeds. Meanwhile, New Zealand’s Maika Phillips and Anona Pak and Jonathan Curtin and Erena Calder-Hawkins enter the event as second and fourth seeds respectively. The third seeds from Malaysia, Eveshgaran Vasigaran and Dharshinie Vasigaran will be looking to further their badminton careers, after recently celebrating a quarter final appearance in the YONEX Sunrise Bangladesh International Challenge in December 2018.
The full draw is now available to view on Tournament Software: