Anna Rankin on her way to the Comm Games
Southland's Anna Rankin is heading to the Commonwealth Games.
Rankin was last night named in the New Zealand badminton team to compete at the Games in Glasgow which run from July 24 to August 4.
The 24-year-old former James Hargest College pupil is one of eight players named in the New Zealand badminton team and she is the only player from a South Island association.
For Rankin the years of hard work continue to be rewarded with the latest chance to represent her country.
"Representing New Zealand is something that I grew up dreaming about. It is a great honour to represent my country and I am very lucky to have been given [these] opportunities.
"It gives me a great sense of pride to know that I have my family, friends, and the New Zealand Badminton community backing me all the way."
The Commonwealth Games bid has had its ups and downs for Rankin and at times she has had to battle thoughts of chucking it in.
"Following Delhi [Commonwealth Games] for several reasons I was wanting to give the sport up, and I have faced a lot of challenges in the last 3 years. The qualifying period had plenty of ups and downs and I really appreciate the people who have helped me along the way. In particular I couldn't have made it through without the support of my dad," she said.
Part of her quest to get to Glasgow has included basing herself in Kuala Lumpur fulltime to help get the best preparation and competition.
"It is great living in a country where badminton is to the nation [what] rugby is to Kiwis.
"Being able to fully immerse myself in badminton has been great, however, being away from home and travelling a lot has its challenges. I train 11 times a week, which includes on court, gym work and track training, in temperatures between 30-40 degrees [Celsius] all year round."
Rankin is aware that selection is one thing but having a successful campaign in Glasgow is another big step. "Naturally I was really excited when we qualified but at the same time I need to stay focused on training for the next few months as I really want to put in some good performances in Glasgow and not simply be satisfied with competing."
NZ badminton team for Glasgow (age, home town, current world ranking): Joe Wu (28, Northland, 96th in men's singles) Michael Fowke (23, Waikato, 155th men's singles) Michelle Chan (26, Auckland, 67th women's singles) Anna Rankin (24, Southland, 76th women's singles and 51st women's doubles) Oliver Leydon-Davis (23, Waikato, 50th mixed doubles and 50th men's doubles) Susannah Leydon-Davis (22, Waikato, 50th mixed doubles) Kevin Dennerly-Minturn (23, Auckland, 50th men's doubles) Madeleine Stapleton (21, Waikato, 51st women's doubles)
The Southland Times