One of the biggest events on the Badminton Australia calendar finished on Saturday with the Australian National Championships taking place in Launceston, Tasmania at the Elphin Sports Complex. The individual championships see the best of Australian talent compete against one another for the Australian title across five disciplines. Although timed to run in conjunction with the Ede Clendinnen Trophy, the Australian National Championships are for individuals to show their skills independent of their state teams, allowing for some surprise names to get up as was the case this year!
Starting at 10AM Saturday morning top seeded Simon Leung and Gronya Somerville took on Yingxiang Lin and Lee-Yen Khoo. Prior to Saturday Yingxiang Lin and Lee-Yen Khoo fought their way to the final by taking down second seeds Mitchell Wheller and Wendy Chen in three games. Despite Lin and Khoo’s great victory the day before, Leung and Somerville’s experience saw them through, taking the first game 25-23 before easily dispatching of their opponents 21-12 in the second and claiming the Mixed Doubles Australian Title for 2020. The pair have been playing internationally in an effort to gain qualification to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games and have done everything they can and continue to put their best case forward for selection.
Following the mixed doubles was the Women’s singles match between number one seed Wendy Chen and third seed Tiffany Ho. Tiffany had a fantastic run of three game wins on her way to the final, with victories over two of Badminton Australia’s highly touted National Junior Squad members Kaitlyn Ea and Angela Yu. Tiffany also was able to snatch victory over the number two seed Louisa Ma in three games, setting up a tantalising match up with Wendy Chen. While Wendy’s first match on her path to the final against Yingzi Jiang went to three games, she managed to dominate her other two opponents in matches lasting less than 30 minutes. Although this was shaping up to be a game of inches Wendy was able to show her class over Tiffany, who no doubt would have been feeling her lead up matches in her legs, by taking the match convincingly 21-11 and 21-12. Wendy has again established herself as Australia’s leading Women’s Singles player and continues her impressive run of victories including six consecutive titles at the Oceania Championships.
Next up on finals day was the Men’s singles where fourth seed Jacob Schueler faced off against unseeded Yingxiang Lin. Yingxiang’s campaign saw him take tidy two game victories in all matches, although Yingxiang did faulter slightly against Nathan Tang going to three games, but was able to compose himself to take the win. Jacob saw an opposite run to Yingxiang with two of his three lead up matches going to three games, all of which were longer than 45 minutes, Jacob also played a 53-minute epic in the mixed doubles between his singles campaign. Coming ino the final Jacob had racked up in immense 134 minutes over three games while Yingxiang totalled 131 minutes across his four MS games. Unfortunately for Jacob, Yignxiang proved too strong taking the match in two, however Jacob put up a significant fight with the games going 17-21, 19-21. A brave performance from both players!
The Women’s doubles final was up next, Badminton Australia Junior Squad alumnus Victoria He paired with current Badminton Australia Junior Squad member Angela Yu to take on two powerhouse players Gronya Somerville and Wendy Chen. A last-minute injury to her regular partner Setyana Mapasa, Gronya Somerville quickly found rhythm with Chen and the pair saw little challenge throughout their campaign to the final. With the field being smaller the pair played only two matches prior to the final, taking both games convincingly for a total game time of 55 minutes, 84 points for and 51 points against. Similarly, for the challengers a total of 52 minutes, 84 points for and an impressive 40 points against suggested a close encounter come the final. However, the number one seeds, Chen and Somerville, managed to stave off any upset from the young pair taking the match 21-17, 21-11 in under 30 minutes.
The final match for the day was the Men’s doubles which saw number one seeds Mitchell Wheller and Simon Leung playing off against Ming Lim and Tran Hoang Pham for the title. Both pairs handled their matches in the lead up to the final match with confidence and consistency, no matches went to three games. Having to play an extra match didn’t seem to phase Lim and Pham as they made their way into the final, taking the first game 21-16 but Wheller and Leung fought back to take the second in a tighter affair 21-18. The final game went to the unseeded Lim and Pham as they had in the first 21-16, wrapping up a successful campaign for the pair.
A big congratulations to all the players, a tournament that saw upsets, gritty victories and fantastic badminton play from the best in Australia. As with all tournaments this one could not have gone ahead without the time, dedication and efforts from all our volunteers, technical officials and coaches. On behalf of the players Badminton Australia would like to thank all of those who chipped in and contributed to the another successful Australian National Championships.
15/8 Techno Park Drive, Williamstown
(03) 9397 4722
*** END ***