NZ Champs – Kiwis have “their” Kylie too

Kylie Minogue maybe one of Australia’s best Ambassadors, their neighbours from New Zealand now have their own Kylie – Kylie Luo won her first National crown in Auckland, both in […]

Kylie Minogue maybe one of Australia’s best Ambassadors, their neighbours from New Zealand now have their own Kylie – Kylie Luo won her first crown in Auckland, both in woman’s singles and womens’ doubles, while the men’s events were dominated by retired players.

By Tjitte Weistra, live from Auckland. Photos : Rights reserved

Photo : from Left to Right: Kevin Dennerly-Minturn, Kylie Luo, Henry Tam, Stephanie Cheng & Daniel Shirley

The New Zealand were held in Auckland (North Harbour) last weekend (18-20 March). The Ladies Singles was an all Auckland Badminton Association affair between Kylie Luo and Lilian Shi, just 16 years of age and who caused an upset by beating the number one seed Anna Rankin from Southland on the way to that final. Kylie Luo dominated the final to win her first New Zealand singles title. Kylie also went on the win the ladies doubles title partnering with Stephanie Cheng, also from Auckland for her first national title. They beat Danielle Barry and Mary O’Connor from Waitakere in the final. Stephanie also made it two titles when winning the mixed doubles final partnering Kevin Dennerly-Minturn from Auckland beating Luke Charlesworth and Mary O’Connor from Waitakere in straight games. It was then Kevin’s turn to make it two and he pulled it off by winning the men’s doubles partnering Henry Tam from Auckland when facing two young players from Auckland (both 16 years old) Samuel Ho and Riga Oud.

Old timers strike again

The most interesting fact was that two retired, former international players played for the men’s singles title on Sunday. Daniel Shirley (31), multiple medal winner at Commonwealth Games’ as well as a bronze at the 2005 World Championships in mixed doubles entered the men’s singles and won the event by beating another former international player, Tjitte Weistra (35,  originally playing for The Netherlands and now living in New Zealand) in the final. Both players dug very deep and at one point in between the 2nd and 3rd had a bit of a laugh about being out there knowing how the body would feel like the next day or perhaps the entire week. Daniel Shirley represents the Waitakere region in New Zealand where Tjitte Weistra plays for Waikato, both on the New Zealand’s North Island.

The event was a good preparation for many as the Li-Ning NZ International starts next week with a very strong field in especially the men’s and ladies singles after which the Oceania Circuit moves to Australia for the Australian Open GP.

Full results of the New Zealand National Championships can be found HERE

Draws for the Li-Ning NZ International Challenge can be found HERE

About Tjitte Weistra