Te Rauparaha Arena is set to welcome schools from around the country next week, as 45 teams converge on Porirua to contest the New Zealand Secondary School Badminton Championships being held as part of School Sport NZ's Winter Tournament Week. Entries have rebounded strongly following the disruption of the past few years, and the battle for national honours promises to be a thrilling contest.
Seeds in boys' division one, Macleans College and St Patrick's College, will face a tough challenge to reach the final, with 10 other teams also pursuing the title. Keep a close eye on Auckland Grammar School, Westlake Boys and Rangitoto College to show their pedigree in this event, with a strong line-up of players.
Macleans College takes the top spot in girls' division one as well, and will have high hopes, with two New Zealand representatives in their squad. Kristin School's squad features plenty of emerging talent, while Palmerston North Girls' High School and Wellington East Girls' College bring a range of experienced players to the court.
The division two competitions will feature 18 boys' teams and 8 girls' teams, with many players getting their first taste of national competition at this event. Many of these players are in their first years of secondary school, so expect to see these teams grow and develop in the coming years.
Overall, Te Rauparaha Arena will be a hub of activity, with close to a thousand matches taking place throughout the week, including four live-streamed ties on Whakaata Māori, thanks to the New Zealand Sports Collective, and partners Apollo Projects, Caltex, Bayleys, New Zealand Carbon Farming and Porirua CIty Council.
Check out the New Zealand Secondary School Championships event page to follow all the action, and enter exclusive competitions.