National Falcons Team members Angela Yu and Ricky Tang aim to soak up as much international experience as they can when they make their Sudirman Cup debuts in Suzhou.
The TotalEnergies BWF Sudirman Cup Finals 2023 swing into gear on Sunday with Australia drawn into Group C alongside Malaysia, Chinese Taipei and India.
Both Yu (QLD) and Tang (NSW) understand that competing against players in their group will be a tough challenge, but it’s an aspect of their trip to China they are ready to embrace.
Tang heads into the 2023 edition of the Sudirman Cup fresh off his first Men’s Singles National Individual Championship title win and is eager to get onto court at the Suzhou Olympic Sports Centre.
Tang secured a dream finish to the 2023 YONEX National Individual Championships in April with a 21-16, 21-13 performance to claim the title over South Australia’s Gavin Ong.
“I am definitely more confident after the win in Bendigo and I know this experience is going to be great for my development,” Tang said.
“I am going to try my best to challenge the top international players.
“I’ll take it one point at a time. If I lose, I lose. But I will go down fighting hard.”
Irrespective of his performance at Nationals, his selection for the Sudirman Cup squad was announced back in early April.
When Tang first heard the news of his selection in Australia’s Sudirman Cup team back in early April before Nationals he was “over the moon”.
“ I am on a really good trajectory ahead of Sudirman and will be able to play some of my best badminton,” he said.
“It’s a chance to also observe how the top players train, prepare and play which will show me where I am as a player.”
Queensland’s Angela Yu shares the same vision to learn from the world’s best badminton players once on court in Suzhou.
“After the recent tour in Europe, I am feeling more confident heading into Sudirman,” Yu said.
“I hope to learn from this experience and see where my strengths and weaknesses are.
“Areas I am looking to improve on are my tactics and speed which I will be able improve by competing against very strong players.”
One aspect of the trip to Suzhou is having her brother Jack also on this year’s National Falcons Team.
“It’s very nice to be able to travel as siblings and I am excited that he will also gain plenty of experience,” she said.
Read more about Australia’s opponents: Group C Preview: The Group of Death? (By the BWF)
Other women on the team are Gronya Somerville (VIC), Kaitlyn Ea (VIC), Tiffany Ho (NSW) and Sydney Go ( VIC).
Meanwhile, the selected men are Rayne Wang (VIC), Kenneth Choo (VIC) and Nathan Tang VIC) and Jack Yu (QLD).
National Head Coach Leanne Choo has competed at several Sudirman Cup tournaments during her career as a player.
However, in 2023 the South Australian heads into the tournament ready to make her Sudirman coaching debut.
“This is going to be the first big event that I’ve coached at and it’s a tournament where we are really going to be on the world’s stage,” Choo said.
“It’s all very exciting but at the same time to see the best players in the world can be nerve-racking.”
Australia’s campaign in Group C begins at 12pm (AEST) on Sunday against Malaysia.
They will then face Chinese Taipei on Monday at 12pm (AEST), followed by India at 12pm (AEST) on Wednesday.
“This is our opportunity to see what the gap is between us and the best in the world,” Choo said of the upcoming encounters.
“As a player you don’t always get to see this level of competition all the time, but when you head to Sudirman it’s always the best of the best.”
Choo knows there’s tough matches ahead this week on the badminton court, however, she believes the Australian players will gain plenty of experience from the tournament.
“For nearly half of our team it’s their Sudirman debut and we’ve talked about expectations and what we can get out of our time in Suzhou,” Choo said.
“When we’re at a tournament of this scale my expectation is that they get out on court and play some great matches while competing at their best.”
Hosts, top seed and defending Champions China has drawn Group A alongside Denmark, Singapore and Egypt.
Group B includes inaugural Sudirman Cup Champions Indonesia, Thailand, Germany and Canada.
Meanwhile, Japan will lead Group D and go up against South Korea, France and England.
First held in 1989, the biennial Sudirman Cup is named in honour of former Indonesian badminton player and founder of the Badminton Association of Indonesia Dick Sudirman.
China currently holds the record for most victories (12), followed by South Korea (4) and Indonesia (1).
Keep up to date with Australia’s progress across Badminton Australia’s social media channels.