Wednesday, 21 July 2010

New Zealand's Badminton squad for Commonwealth Games

An eight-strong badminton team was today named to represent New Zealand at the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi in October.

The badminton team consists of Joe Wu, James Eunson, Henry Tam, Oliver Leyden-Davis, Donna Haliday, Anna Rankin, Danielle Barry, Michelle Chan.
New Zealand Olympic Committee secretary general and Commonwealth Games team selector Barry Maister said the youthful team would only benefit from the experience.

(Read: New Zealand's Commonwealth Games Swimming squad)

"They're a young group of players and will face some tough competition in Delhi," he said. "Many still have five to seven years ahead of them before they hit their peak and Delhi will provide invaluable international experience"

One of the youngest in the team, 20-year-old Oliver Leydon-Davis, mixes twice daily trainings with full-time study for a Bachelor of Business Management at Waikato University and a part-time job as a warehouse assistant.

Leyden-Davis said his strongest discipline was the men's doubles which he competes in alongside 22-year-old Henry Tam, and hopes that New Delhi will be an important stepping stone in his career.

"I've definitely got my eyes on the Olympics and going to Delhi is a step along the way."

Tam also pairs with Donna Haliday, 29, in the mixed doubles to form the team's top ranked partnership at 25th in the world.

Haliday, who works full-time with Badminton Auckland, said her challenge will be ensuring a favourable draw in New Delhi.

"We've got a busy schedule ahead training and competing in Asia and Tahiti before the games. Our objective is to stay within a fifth to eighth seeding to get a good draw.

"We're currently sixth and our challenge is to stay there. We've got a tough competition ahead of us."

The New Zealand badminton players will compete in both team and individual events. Final combinations are yet to be confirmed.

(Read: New Zealand's Commonwealth Games Swimming squad)

New Zealand's total Commonwealth Games squad is expected to number 195 athletes and 100 support staff. The final selections will be made in early August.

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