The 2020 National Tertiary Badminton Championship was held at the Counties Manukau Badminton Association over the weekend with 48 students representing six universities in seven teams. As the lone tertiary championship event of the year, excitement levels were high as the teams arrived at the venue and began warm-ups on Saturday morning.
The tournament got off to a fast start as the top seeded University of Auckland 1 team faced off against the defending champions University of Waikato in round one. The tie was the first to be played on the streaming court as spectators at home tuned into the action through Sky Sport Next. The depth of the University of Auckland 1 team shone through to win the tie 4-1 with Massey University and the University of Auckland’s second team also claiming wins in the first round.
The remainder of the day’s pool play rounds also went to script with the higher-seeded teams taking the win against their less-fancied opponents. At the end of the day it was University of Auckland 1 and Massey University that remained undefeated, topping the two pools.
The University of Waikato and University of Auckland 2 also progressed to the semi-finals by finishing the day in second place in their respective pools. Finishing 3rd in pool B, the University of Otago proceeded directly to the 5th place playoff leaving AUT and Victoria University of Wellington to battle for the other spot.
The two ties in Sunday morning’s championship semi-final round could not have been more different from each other - Massey University didn’t drop a match against the University of Waikato, but the battle of the University of Auckland teams went down to the wire with the top team scraping through in the fifth and final match. In the minor playoffs, AUT defeated Victoria University of Wellington to progress to the 5th place match in which they defeated the University of Otago, and in the battle for bronze University of Auckland 2 defeated the University of Waikato 4-1.
The stage was set for the Grand Final between the two undefeated teams, Massey University and University of Auckland 1. The tie began with what can only be described as the match of the tournament, in which Massey University's Edward Lau faced the University of Auckland's Oscar Guo in men’s singles. It was a match of runs, going to a third game with both players attacking relentlessly in order to put their team on the front foot. In the end it was Oscar Guo who took the deciding game, showing plenty of passion as the final game ended at 21-19.
The rest of the tie followed the same see-sawing script with Massey University winning the women’s singles, the University of Auckland winning the men’s doubles, then Massey University winning the women’s doubles to leave it at 2-2 ahead of the last match. In yet another gripping 3-game match, it was the University of Auckland’s mixed doubles pair of Dacmen Vong and Alyssa Tagle who sealed the championship, defeating Edward Lau and Catelyn Rozario to wrap up an incredible weekend of tertiary badminton.
For the first time outside of the National Tertiary Ultimate Championship, UTSNZ implemented the Spirit of the Game award – an award presented to a team who displayed outstanding sportsmanship, support and respect throughout the duration of the tournament as voted by the teams and officials. Winning the award this year was Victoria University of Wellington with each team member receiving a custom Spirit medal and sponsored t-shirt.
Also announced during presentations was the tournament team which consisted of Oscar Guo and Dacmen Vong from the University of Auckland, Edward Lau and Selina Huang from Massey University, Ella Smith from the University of Waikato, and Sally Fu from AUT.
UTSNZ would like to congratulate all participants and thank the universities and their staff for their support of the event. We would also like to thank event partners Badminton New Zealand and Counties Manukau Badminton Association for their work in the lead-up to and during the event, we look forward to doing it all again in 2021!
- University of Auckland 1
- Massey University
- University of Auckland 2
- University of Waikato
- University of Otago
- Victoria University of Wellington
Spirit Team: Victoria University of Wellington
Tournament Team: Oscar Guo and Dacmen Vong (University of Auckland), Edward Lau and Selina Huang (Massey University), Ella Smith (University of Waikato), and Sally Fu (AUT).
This article was originally published on the UTSNZ website.