Oceania Rivals Join Forces for the SATHIO Australian Badminton Open

May 31, 2024

The biggest tournament in Oceania is just two weeks away, and four of our very own Kiwis are set to compete among the world's best!

Edward Lau by Badminton Oceania - Foxall Photography

The SATHIO Group Australian Badminton Open - Super 500, a star-studded event featuring top players like Jonatan Cristie (Indonesia), FENG Yan Zhe and HUANG Dong Ping (China) plus many more, will see New Zealand represented in Men’s Singles, Men’s Doubles, and Mixed Doubles events.

Leading the charge in Men’s Singles is the current Oceania Men's Singles Champion, Edward Lau. This marks Edward’s debut in a Super 500 tournament, presenting a fantastic opportunity for him to gain experience and compete against higher-ranked players.

Edward will be teaming up with Gronya Somerville, the 2024 Oceania Mixed Doubles Champion from Australia, for their debut in the mixed doubles event. The two recently faced off against each other with their respective partners (Shaunna Li - NZL and Kenneth Choo - AUS) at the 2024 Oceania Individual Championships in Geelong, where Lau and Li closely missed out in a 3 game match for the Oceania Mixed Championship title. “I don’t really have any expectations; we’re probably the underdogs since we’re a scratch pairing. I’m looking forward to challenging others and hopefully beating them,” says Edward.

When asked about potential challenges, Edward notes, “I think there will be times where we get confused on court since we’re not used to playing together. However, if this happens, I believe we’ll be able to scramble and cover for each other.”

Joining the mixed doubles to represent New Zealand are Adam Jeffrey and Justine Villegas. Justine shares, “It’s really exciting to get the opportunity to play against the world's best especially in Australia. Our last international tournament was in May last year, and our partnership was less than a year old back then. This level of competition is a huge jump from International Challenges to the Super 500, but it’s definitely something we can learn from.”

Justine Villegas and Adam Jeffrey by Foxall Photography

Jeffrey adds, “Like Justine said, I’m excited! It’ll be fun, and I want to see the gap between us and these top players. I feel like I haven’t earned my spot to play in it, but this opportunity showed up and we’re definitely very fortunate to compete in a Super 500.”

In addition to Mixed Doubles, Adam will represent New Zealand in Men’s Doubles with Dylan Soedjasa - 2024 Oceania Men's Doubles Runner-Up. “I love these big tournaments because we get the chance to play against different styles of badminton. With New Zealand being quite a small country, we often play the same people, so it’s great to face new opponents.”

Adam Jeffrey and Dylan Soedjasa by Foxall Photography

The Australian Open Super 500 will take place from 11-14 June 2024 in Sydney. The draw will be released on 4 June 2024. Stay tuned to see who the Kiwis will be up against!