Art & Entertainment | Book Reviews | Education | Entertainment Video | Health | Lifestyle | Sport | Sport Video | Search

 


Waikato Siblings Show Desire to Top Badminton Rankings

15 April 2014
From the SKYCITY Badminton NZ Open, for further information visit www.nzbadmintonopen.com

Waikato Siblings Show Stomach for Heights And a Desire to Climb to the Top of Badminton Rankings

Waikato brother/sister badminton combination Oliver and Susannah Leydon-Davis appear very relaxed in the lead up to the SKYCITY NZ Open at the North Shore Events Centre this week, in fact so relaxed about being home were the pair that they finished off their preparations for the Grand Prix tournament with a quick trip down the Sky Tower.

Neither showed outward signs of nerves as they embarked on the SKYJUMP from 192m high at the popular tourist attraction, freefalling for a couple of seconds to reach 85kph before reducing speed and heading safely towards the ground and waiting cameras.

The pair are ranked 47 in the world in Mixed Doubles, giddy heights for a couple that spend most of their time on opposite sides of the world, Oliver living and playing in Europe and around the world while Susannah is based in her home town of Hamilton as she juggles study, part time work and a dedication to sport that runs strong in the family.

Both loved the chance to take the SKYJUMP this morning, although quickly brought the subject back to the sport they love.

“The adrenalin is slowly subsiding but I am still buzzing a bit,” said Susannah.

“It was fantastic, a huge adrenalin rush, amazing,” said Oliver before admitting perhaps he was churning a little more on the inside than he was letting on.

“In terms of nerves though, I would take the chance to face off against the best players in the world on a badminton court any day!”

Once on solid ground again, the focus quickly reverted to the job in hand, playing in the SKYCITY NZ Badminton Open at the North Shore Events Centre this week, with Oliver playing Mixed Doubles with Susannah and Men’s Doubles with regular partner Kevin Dennerly-Minturn. Susannah will line up in the Women’s Doubles with fellow Kiwi Kritteka Gregory.

“This is a fabulous opportunity, to play in front of family and friends which is an opportunity we don’t get often at all,” said Susannah. “To have an event like this with the prestige it has and to have SKYCITY on board and all the other sponsors it is just great to be a part of such an event.”

For Oliver who is based in Denmark, the chance to play at home means even more.

“We get this chance once a year to play on home soil and to have this level of badminton here in New Zealand, it is nice to be home and hopefully put in a good performance.”

Far from feeling daunted, the pair are the top seeds in the Mixed Doubles, although the quality of the field is such that there will be no easy games, with former world number one Kien Keat Koo and Hui Lin Ng (Malaysia) a likely opponent should the Kiwis make it through a first round match against an Australian pairing.

“It is a great challenge to be top seeds, we have a tough draw in the second round if we make it through but that is just another challenge and the onus is on us to put in good performances this week,” said Susannah.

“The pressure is what you put on yourself in these situations, we will control what we can control and not look beyond that. Once we step on court it is the same wherever you are playing, we will just take it from there and not change anything,” said Oliver.

“We have drawn former world number one Keat in the second round, he won gold in Delhi in the mixed and is a former world number one in doubles. We are relishing that prospect and the chance to be on court against a player of his quality and see how we will go. But we have to get through the first round yet and that is tough as well. We will need to be at our best against a tough Australian pairing in that first match.”

Susannah agreed, far from shying away from the prospect, it is one the 21 year old is looking forward to.

“It is a privilege to be on court against a player of such a high level, a player with so many tournament wins to his name, that is a great opportunity for us and one we are looking forward to.”

Given that 23 year old Oliver spends the vast majority of his time overseas each year, living out of a suitcase and a small shared apartment in Denmark, does the distance affect the chemistry when the pair are on court?

“Being based on the opposite side of the world makes this sort of tournament and these sorts of opportunities all the more important. We have to maximize every moment we have on court in practice and in games to make sure things are working well,” said Oliver.

Susannah agrees, saying they do keep in contact throughout the year though, even if they are on different sides of the planet.

“There are a few skype calls, we keep in touch throughout the year, planning our schedule and how we will take on big events. We will look at our plan of attack for each event.

As well as the chance to impress in front of family, friends and local sponsors and media, the SKYCITY NZ Badminton Open is a final chance to secure ranking points and convince selectors of the New Zealand teams merit in going to the Glasgow Commonwealth Games, something both are aware of.

“We are almost confirmed for Glasgow,” said Oliver. “That is our main focus, one of our peak events this year as well as the World Championships. We can start our preparations for that soon, once selections are confirmed.”

“It will be great to get another good performance under our belts to underline that selection so our focus is very much on doing that here at the SKYCITY NZ Open this week,” said Susannah.

Don’t be surprised if this daring young badminton pair venture back to the Sky Tower once the tournament is over for another SKYJUMP either, both enjoyed the rush so much.

Oliver and Susannah Leydon-Davis will play in first round Mixed Doubles and Men’s and Women’s Doubles action respectively tomorrow (Wednesday) at the SKYCITY NZ Badminton Open.

For all information, including live streaming of Courts 1 and 2 throughout the tournament, draws, schedules and results, visit www.nzbadmintonopen.com

Day one tonight features the first appearance of former world number 1 Lee Hyun Il (Korea) in his first round match at approx. 6.00pm. Tickets start from as little as $10 for adults and free for children, for further ticketing information, CLICK HERE


ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines

 
Gordon Campbell: On Chuck Berry (And James Comey, And Bill English)

Back when many people were still treating rock’n’roll as a passing fad – was calypso going to be the new thing? – Chuck Berry knew that it had changed popular music forever. What is even more astonishing is that this 30-ish black r&b musician from a middle class family in St Louis could manage to recreate the world of white teenagers, at a time when the very notion of a “teenager” had just been invented. More>>

Howard Davis Review:
The Baroque Fusion Of L'arpeggiata

Named after a toccata by German composer Girolamo Kapsberger, L'Arpeggiata produces its unmistakable sonority mainly from the resonance of plucked strings, creating a tightly-woven acoustic texture that is both idiosyncratic and immediately identifiable. Director Christina Pluhar engenders this distinctive tonality associated with the ensemble she founded in 2000 by inviting musicians and vocalists from around the world to collaborate on specific projects illuminated by her musicological research. More>>

African Masks And Sculpture: Attic Discovery On Display At Expressions Whirinaki

Ranging from masks studded with nails and shards of glass to statues laden with magical metal, the works are from ethnic groups in nine countries ranging from Ivory Coast to the Democratic Republic of the Congo. More>>

Scoop Review Of Books: We’re All Lab Rats

A couple of years ago, there were reports that Silicon Valley executives were sending their children to tech-free schools. It was a story that dripped of irony: geeks in the heart of techno-utopia rejecting their ideology when it came to their own kids. But the story didn’t catch on, and an awkward question lingered. Why were the engineers of the future desperate to part their gadgets from their children? More>>

  • CensusAtSchool - Most kids have no screen-time limits
  • Netsafe - Half of NZ high school students unsupervised online

  • Obituary: Andrew Little Remembers Murray Ball

    “Murray mined a rich vein of New Zealand popular culture and exported it to the world. Wal and Dog and all the other Kiwi characters he crafted through Footrot Flats were hugely popular here and in Australia, Europe and North America." More>>

    ALSO:

    Organised Choas: NZ Fringe Festival 2017 Awards

    Three more weeks of organised chaos have come to an end with the Wellington NZ Fringe Arts Festival Awards Ceremony as a chance to celebrate all our Fringe artists for their talent, ingenuity, and chutzpah! More>>

    ALSO:

    Wellington.Scoop: Wellington Writer Wins $US165,000 Literature Prize

    Victoria University of Wellington staff member and alumna Ashleigh Young has won a prestigious Windham-Campbell Literature Prize worth USD$165,000 for her book of essays Can You Tolerate This? More>>

    ALSO:

    Scoop Review Of Books: Excerpt - Ice Bear: The Cultural History Of An Arctic Icon

    “During the last decade the image of the polar bear has moved in the public imagination from being an icon of strength, independence and survival in one of the most climatically extreme of world environments, to that of fragility, vulnerability and more generally of a global environmental crisis.” More>>

    Get More From Scoop

     
     

    LATEST HEADLINES

     
     
     
     
    Culture
    Search Scoop  
     
     
    Powered by Vodafone
    NZ independent news