Hear from the winners and see all the podium photos at the 2023 YONEX National Championships

What a great week it was in Bendigo for the 2023 YONEX Ede Clendinnen Shield and National Championships!

From the very first team match on Monday through to the last final on Saturday, players from across the country competed at their very best to showcase the immense badminton talent we have in Australia.

The first big win came on Wednesday with New South Wales claiming the 2023 YONEX Ede Clendinnen Shield after a thrilling 3-2 win over Victoria.

The victory for the New South Wales squad ended a 12-year drought as the last time the state captured the Clendinnen Shield was back in 2011.

It wasn’t long before the action for the National Championships was underway, with several matches played on Wednesday evening at the Bendigo Eaglehawk Badminton Association’s stadium in Eaglehawk.

After several nail-biting matches on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, the stage was then set for thrilling contests on Saturday.

To start the day NSW’s Rizky Hidayat Ismail and Setyana Mapasa defeated the Victorian duo and 2022 Champions Kenneth Choo and Gronya Somerville in the Mixed Doubles Final.

“We both enjoyed playing and especially for myself as I’ve just come back from retirement,” Mapasa said.

“Really happy to be back on court.”

Mepasa and Ismail secured the XD title in just two games (21-14, 21-11).

However, the win didn’t come easy as they were up against the strong duo from Victoria.

“They (Choo and Somerville) are a really good pair, and the win has shown us that we can still perform well.”

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Gold: Setyana Mapasa/Rizky Ismail (NSW), Silver: Gronya Somerville/Kenneth Choo, Bronze: Frengky Wijaya Putra/Citra Putri Sari Dewi (NSW) and Kaitlyn Ea (VIC) and Jack Yu (QLD)

The day was only just getting started for Mepasa and Ismail as they were both due back on court later in the day for the Women’s Doubles and Men’s Doubles.

Although next on court was the much-anticipated Women’s Singles match between Tiffany Ho (NSW) and Louisa Ma (VIC).

After reaching the final last year but falling short against Queensland’s Wendy Chen, Ho achieved a spirited finish to the week with a stunning 21-13, 15-21, 21-9 triumph over Ma.

“It was definitely tough,” Ho said.

“I was a bit nervous during the game, but it feels great to come away with the win.”

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Gold: Tiffany Ho (NSW), Silver: Louisa Ma (VIC), Bronze: Isabella Yan (NSW) and Sydney Tjonadi (NSW)

Ho said she had anticipated strong competition from Ma and described their playing styles as being quite similar.

“I knew there were going to be plenty of long rallies that I would have to grind through,” she said.

“Mentally I just tried to stay in it no matter what, especially during that third game which got me through in the end.

“I am known for always going to three which is something I am trying to break,” she laughed.

“Overall, I’m very happy to go one better than I did last year and be on the winning side.”

After knocking out the number one Men’s Singles seed Jacob Schueler in the semi-finals, South Australia’s Gavin Ong booked himself a spot in the title match against NSW’s Ricky Tang.

Tang secured a dream finish to his week with a 21-16, 21-13 performance to claim the title.

“It was definitely tough, and I feel that I was the underdog and certainly didn’t expect to win,” an elated Tang said.

“Gavin defeated me during the team event, but I came back on court ready to give it my all.

“He’s a great player but during the match I played some of my best badminton.”

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Gold: Ricky Tang (NSW), Silver: Gavin Ong (SA), Bronze: Jie Ying Chan (NSW) and Jack Yu (QLD)

The title win was truly unexpected for Tang as at the start of the week in Bendigo he didn’t feel he was performing at his best.

“Then as the week went on, I continued to get stronger and stronger,” he said.

“I wasn’t focused on winning or losing, I just wanted to show everyone what I can do.

“In the final I showed my best game, and I am happy to come away as the winner.”

It was now time for the Women’s Doubles clash between Mapasa and Sylvinna Kurniawan (NSW) against Joyce Choong (VIC) and Angela Yu (QLD).

Delighted by the win earlier in the day, Mapasa’s momentum picked up from right where it left off with the NSW duo proving to be too strong to win the match 23-21, 21-12.

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Gold: Sylvinna Kurniawan/Setyana Mapasa (NSW), Silver: Angela Yu(QLD)/Joyce Choong (VIC), Bronze: Kaitlyn Ea (VIC). Absent: Gronya Somerville (VIC), Grezel Alcuitas and Audrey Ho

The National championships wrapped up with the Men’s Doubles between Choo (VIC) and Rayne Wang (VIC) against NSW’s Ismail and Frengky Wijaya Putra.

Ismail’s confidence was still flowing from the day’s opening match and was ready to cap off his time in Bendigo alongside Putra.

The NSW players showed no signs of slowing as they paved their way to a strong 21-15, 21-18 win over the Victorians.

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Gold: Rizky Ismail/Frengky Wijaya Putra (NSW), Silver: Kenneth Choo/Rayne Wang (VIC), Bronze: Yingxiang Lin, Kai Chen Teoh, Julian Lee, Hong Yuan Wong (WA)

Putra and Ismail had faced the Victorian pairing earlier in the week and went down fighting 19-21, 21-8, 10-21 during the Clendinnen Shield.

One thing that was for certain in the final was to avoid a repeat of that match.

“Last time we played them I feel that we lost in the driving aspect of the match, but this time around we were both able to lift that up,” Putra said.

“There was plenty for us to prepare to ensure we were ready for the finals match. We learnt from the first match.”

Falcons Team member Kaitlyn Ea (VIC) was awarded the prestigious Cliff Cutt Memorial Trophy.

“It’s an honour to now be a part of the community (Cliff Cutt winners) and I feel that my recent trip playing in Europe helped with my performance at Nationals,” Ea said.

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Badminton Australia President Andrew Greenway congratulates Victoria’s Kaitlyn Ea on being the 2023 recipient of the Cliff Cutt Memorial Trophy

At the end of each Clendinnen Shield and National championships, the Cliff Cutt Memorial Trophy is awarded to the player of a State/Territory team who exhibits the highest standards sportsmanship, personality, court demeanour, playing ability and appearance throughout the tournament.

Having her name engraved alongside some of the country’s best players has amplified Ea’s belief in herself on the badminton court.

“It’s shown me that I can do it and has helped me build more confidence in myself,” she said.

The countdown has already begun for the tournament’s return to Bendigo in 2024!