Badminton contest goes up a notch
A new elite badminton competition is set to hit universities on Sunday.
Auckland Badminton’s inaugural University Super League Competition will see four teams made up of some of New Zealand’s leading players and coaches representing the Auckland University of Technology, University of Auckland, University of Waikato and Massey University.
Auckland Badminton development manager Cliff Freeman says players have not been able to compete at this level in New Zealand until now.
‘‘We wanted to create something that would really instil some pride in the sport, something that would help profile and grow the sport.’’
The number of primary and intermediate school-age players picking up badminton has grown over the last five years.
Auckland Badminton is now looking at redefining the sport, especially gearing it towards the 17-23 year age group which is typically more tough for sports to attract, Freeman says.
Up-and-coming central Auckland players Annika Andresen and Carmen Yuen will represent the university in the tournament.
More than 150 students at the University of Auckland play the racket sport.
Yuen says she feels like it has a strong team going into the contest.
‘‘The Waikato will probably have a pretty tough team so it will be a good region on region battle. It will definitely be interesting.’’
Tournament winners will be awarded the Robson University Shield, named after badminton legends Jeff and Heather Robson.
University of Auckland sport and recreation officer Albie Gysberts says the university hopes the competition will grow to include teams from universities across the country.
The competition is free to watch and will be held on Sunday from 9.30am at the University of Auckland Recreation Centre, 17 Symonds St.
Elite competition: Badminton players Annika Andresen and Carmen Yuen will represent the University of Auckland at the inaugural University Super League Competition on Sunday.