Readying themselves to smash the shuttlecock through the air at over 350km per hour in the world’s fastest racquet sport, the five-strong Australian badminton will strive to bring home Australia’s first Olympic medal in the sport.
Readying themselves to smash the shuttlecock through the air at over 350km per hour in the world’s fastest racquet sport, the five-strong Australian badminton team will strive to bring home Australia’s first Olympic medal in the sport.
Kicking off on Day 1 (July 28), men’s doubles partners Ross Smith and Glenn Warfe, women’s doubles partners Leanne Choo and Renuga Veeran and women’s singles player Victoria Na will take to the courts at London’s Wembley Arena.
The team came through a long qualification process needing to push themselves up the rankings in a bid to book their spot at the most prestigious of badminton events, the Olympic Games.
With the Beijing Games in 2008 already under their belt, Smith and Warfe performed consistently to steadily climb to be ranked number 31 in the world and make a second Olympic Games appearance certain.
“The two of us are really happy to have made the Games in London,” said Smith.
“The past 12 months have been our most successful so far in our careers and we are definitely looking to progress further again on the Olympic stage.”
Knowing the pressure and rigours of Olympic competition, the pair will be hoping to use their experience to take on some of the more favoured teams throughout the tournament.
“Going into Beijing I was definitely in awe of the occasion. I think the second time around we will be more aware of what exactly goes on, the media hype that accompanies the event and how we can go in more prepared to handle this.”
With three Olympic debutants alongside him, Smith is hoping to provide them with some reassurance to what will be the biggest tournament of their lives.
“Both Glenn and I have had a chat to the three girls about what it is like at your first Games.
“In Beijing none of the team had been to an Olympics before so I think it will be good for them to have someone there to help mentor them through the competition.”
Traditionally dominated by the Asian teams, in particular China, Australia has continued to improve and show strong representation at the world’s leading events.
“As a country we have been doing well to develop the game by bringing our juniors through the ranks. We’ve had a higher level of competition in Australia over the past few years at events like the Australian Open helping to expose our players to the best in the world.”
Alongside Smith and Warfe will be women’s doubles Choo and Veeran who will realise their Olympic dream in London having worked all their lives to step out onto the court in an Olympic competition.
“It will definitely be amazing to represent Australia at the Games,” said Veeran.
“Having come from Malaysia and being given this opportunity is just amazing. It has been a goal in my life and my family’s and to achieve the biggest goal (in making the Olympics) is just great.”
The doubles pairings will be joined by lone singles representative 21-year-old Na. The team will now finalise their preparations in the build up to the biggest tournament of their lives.
“The men’s and women’s doubles pairs now head to the Singapore Open before we all join together at the Victorian International in Melbourne,” said Smith.
“We then stay on here for a two week training camp and then we head to Derbyshire to get a final week of preparation in the UK.”
Australian Olympic Committee