The Counties Manukau Badminton International Futures tournament starts this afternoon with the shadow of the volcanic ash cloud hovering over it. The tournament which runs 17-19 June has entries from Malaysia, USA, Australia, Nigeria, New Caledonia, Tahiti and New Zealand.
However a number of players have had major problems getting to the event and have had to withdraw as connecting flights or getting out of the last tournament, which was in Melbourne has proved too difficult. Those not being able to make the tournament in time include a couple of talented Malaysian players as well as some Australians and other nationalities which have meant a few walkovers in the draw.
The event is still strong with Yogendran Krishnan(Malaysia) and Karyn Valez(United States) who won the men’s and women’s singles titles at the recent Altona International in Melbourne the top seeds in this tournament which is held in Papakura.
Other notable names in the women’s singles include Victoria Na from Australia and Anona Pak from North Harbour who recently won all three titles on offer at the New Zealand under19 nationals. In the men’s draw there is former national coach TJ Weistra from the Waikato, Whyte Trophy rep, James Eunson(Southland), Canterbury’s Asher Richardson and Waikato resident, Bjorn Seguin who plays under the American flag. Michael Fowke(Waikato) who reached the singles final in Melbourne last weekend faces William Jannic from New Caledonia in the first round.
Former English professional who had a world top 20 ranking Andrew Smith is in the men’s doubles with current Kiwi national singles champ and former Commonwealth and World Championship medallist Dan Shirley. The pair will also play Wisden Cup provincial badminton for Waitakere at the beginning of August.
Shirley will play mixed in the tournament with his sister Gaby Aves. Another notable occurrence is the clash of three Leydon-Davis siblings in the mixed doubles draw. New Zealand team member Oliver Leydon-Davis is paired with one of his sisters, Susannah and they will play the other sister Felicity who is combined with Howard Chou.
Smith will team with top British hope Emily Hollis in the mixed doubles who is still a teenager, but rated as one of the big hopes for the sport in England in the future. Hollis is paired with former Kiwi player Danielle Barry in the women’s doubles and will be the favourite for the title.
Quarterfinals are from 10am Saturday 18 June with semifinals in the evening. All finals will be held from 11am on Sunday 19 June
For more details phone tournament organisor, Julie Carrel 021 760 327