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Seven Strong Team Named for World Badminton Champs

Seven Strong Team Named for World Badminton Champs

Badminton New Zealand has named a seven-strong team for the 2014 Li Ning World Championships in Denmark from 25-31 August, with the tournament coming hot on the heels of the Glasgow Commonwealth Games.

The seven players who qualified individually through ranking tournaments are Anna Rankin (Southland), Michelle Chan (Auckland), Joe Wu (Waitakere), Kevin Dennerly-Minturn (Waikato), Oliver Leydon-Davis (Waikato), Susannah Leydon-Davis (Waikato) and Maddie Stapleton (Waikato).

For many of the New Zealand players the timing is perfect, allowing them to peak for the one month in the year (albeit two events) and for those based in New Zealand, to concentrate all their energies on the one significant sortie to the Northern hemisphere.

Waikato’s Maddie Stapleton is headed to her second World Championships and says the timing is perfect so close to Glasgow.

“Having the Commonwealth Games prior to Worlds will enable us to grow our New Zealand fan-base and allow the people back home to see badminton being played at a top level. Competing in the World Champs will hopefully add to this and allow viewers to fully realise our commitment to the sport and our potential to be world class in a global game.
“It was always my goal to play in both the Commonwealth Games and the World Championships and I am so proud and honoured to say that these goals will soon become a reality.”
Auckland’s Michelle Chan will play singles in Denmark and for her it represents a return to where her professional career began.
“Copenhagen is the place where I started my professional league career six years ago. Being able to play here feels like I’ve gone full circle and I can’t wait to play on what is almost a home court to me, with my coaches and family and friends from Denmark and New Zealand to support me.”

Anna Rankin has spent the past 18 months living in Kuala Lumpur but is ironically about to move her playing base to Denmark (Odense). The 24 year old got a taste of World Championships play last year in the doubles with Maddie Stapleton but is looking forward to playing singles in Denmark and knows what it means to the game back home.

“Any coverage that the sport receives during the Glasgow Games will expose young Kiwi’s to badminton and hopefully inspire them to take it up. The World Championships is one of the most prestigious events on the Badminton Calendar and I think that it is great for younger players to see that it is a realistic target for them too, particularly with such a strong contingent from New Zealand having qualified this year. “

Susannah Leydon-Davis and her brother Oliver performed superbly at the 2013 World Champs in China, making the round of 32 in the mixed doubles, she can’t wait for the biggest month of her career.
“It is great to have so many of the New Zealand team competing at both the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow and also having qualified for the World Championships. Both are prestigious events for any player and to be donning the silver fern at each is a privilege and exciting experience as a New Zealand representative.
“It would be great to replicate the result from last year in China again in Denmark. Coming off the back of the Commonwealth Games our expectations are mainly centred around a great performance on our side of the net on match day.”
Olly echoes those sentiments about a tournament that will mean so much more given Denmark is his home away from home for the majority of the year along with doubles partner Kevin Dennerly-Minturn.
“World champs is massive for us and we'll have a three week period in between to try and recuperate and peak again. Until then all focus is being directed towards Glasgow, once that is over then our attention turns to Worlds. It's particularly special to be playing a top tier event in Copenhagen, having lived in Denmark for the last 3 years and it has basically become a second home here so hopefully we'll have a little extra support!

“Every chance we get to perform on the world stage while wearing the silver fern presents an opportunity to boost badminton's reputation and profile back home, and to have two massive events within four weeks of each other is something to be excited about for sure.”

Joe Wu (Waitakere) is at 28 the oldest of a young team and has realistic expectations in his men’s singles competition.

“This has always been my goal, to play both in Glasgow and then Copenhagen. A realistic expectation would be to get to the Round of 16’s, that would be a great result for me and for the sport back home as it is a very tough field especially in Men’s Singles.”
The New Zealand team is currently (and ironically) in Copenhagen, under the watchful eye of Coach Svend Sorensen who is working with the Glasgow team in their pre-Commonwealth Games camp. Post Games the players will then each prepare and refocus individually on their World Championship programme.

New Zealand team to the Lin Ning 2014 Badminton World Championships
Copenhagen, Denmark
25-31 August
World ranking in brackets

Michelle Chan, 27 years old, Auckland, women’s singles (65)
Kevin Dennerly-Minturn, 25, Auckland, men’s doubles (51)
Oliver Leydon-Davis, 24, Waikato, mixed doubles (61), men’s doubles (51)
Susannah Leydon-Davis, 22, Waikato, mixed doubles (61)
Anna Rankin, 24, Southland, women’s singles (79), women’s doubles (63)
Madeleine Stapleton, 21, Waikato, women’s doubles (63)
Joe Wu, 28, Northland, men’s singles (107)


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