Harbour players, Edward Lau and Shaunna Li are presently on the international circuit, training and playing, predominantly in Thailand. While Shaunna is due to return to New Zealand soon, Edward will remain in Asia, making his way home in late October via the Yonex Bendigo International 2023 and the Sydney International 2023.
Getting an insight into a player’s daily life when overseas is the premise for this article. Edward has shared his thoughts on what it is like to be emersed into living and breathing badminton in a foreign country.
Leaving New Zealand, Edward arrived in Indonesia to compete at the XPORA Indonesia International Challenge 2023 before moving to Thailand to join the vigorous training camp at the Banthongyord Badminton Club. This trip, courtesy of Badminton Oceania and the BWF, is via a scholarship to provide selected players with assistance toward the costs involved in overseas training and accommodation.
The XPORA Indonesian International Challenge 2023 was the first international tournament that both Lau and Li have played in a while, so the adjustment to players, schedules, conditions etc had to be made on the fly. ‘The air-conditioning caused a lot of drift, so the situation was a good opportunity for me to utilise different tactics and playing styles as one side of the venue was faster than the other’ Lau explains.
Moving onto Banthongyord Badminton Club for two weeks of training was an adjustment for Lau. Coming from a New Zealand winter, the 30+ degree heat has been testing, together with the length of the sessions. “My daily routine consisted of eat, sleep, train, repeat…”Lau said of his new regime. Coming from training in New Zealand, there has been a big leap in intensity in Thailand. Up to three, three-hour sessions per day, six days per week is the new norm for Lau. Sharing his thoughts around training, Lau explains “I just try to recover (eat, sleep, stretch) as fast as possible as there are so many sessions”. Keeping up with the program and the workload is something that has been a challenge for him, but a positive experience.
Currently Lau and Li are competing at the TOYOTA Gazoo Racing Thailand International Challenge 2023. Playing in singles and mixed doubles, Lau exited the singles in round two and Li in round one. As this goes to publication, the pair are due to play in the mixed doubles quarterfinals, hoping to progress further in the draw. Follow their progress.
Following this tournament, Lau travels back to Banthongyord Badminton Club for a further two weeks training before heading back to New Zealand via the two Australian Grade 3 tournaments in Bendigo and Sydney.