Team named for badminton world champs
Badminton New Zealand has named a seven-strong team for next month's world championships in Denmark, 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 (Auckland), Oliver Leydon-Davis (Waikato), his sister 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.
Stapleton, who is headed to her second world champs, said 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.''
For Chan the world champs represents a return to where her professional career began, while for Oliver Leydon-Davis and Dennerly-Minturn, Denmark has been their home away from home for the past three years, based there for their club.
''World champs is massive for us and we'll have a three-week period in between to try and recuperate and peak again,'' Leydon-Davis said of the plan after the Games.
''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 three 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.''
Ironically the New Zealand team is currently in Copenhagen, under the watchful eye of coach Svend Sorensen, who is working with the Glasgow team in their pre-Games camp.
Post-Games the players will then each prepare and refocus individually on their world champs programme.
AT A GLANCE
New Zealand team for the Badminton World Championships Copenhagen, Denmark, August 25-31 (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).