It is not all that common for New Zealand players to travel the world, training and playing on the badminton circuits. Recently, Dylan Soedjasa and Justine Villegas spent time in Europe while Anona Pak ventured to the Northern Pacific and Asia. Another player determined to make the most of his opportunities is Ricky Cheng. Taking time away from his studies, Cheng is spending several months training, playing, and living in China.
Since leaving New Zealand, Ricky has played in three international tournaments including the 2023 Ruichang China Masters, 2023 Osaka International Challenge, the Hangzhou China International Challenge 2023, plus the Lin Dan Cup Badminton Open, held in China. He started training with a team in Shanghai from early April and the first half of May, then moved to train with the Shanghai Jiaotong University team for the rest of the month. June, July and August sees players change to tournament sessions which makes them unavailable for Cheng to participate in. Using his down time wisely, Cheng takes the opportunity to visit his grandparents who live in China, while still being able to keep up training with friends. From mid-August Cheng will start training with the Xiamen team, then will play the Toyota Gazoo Racing Thailand International Series 2023 in September with fellow North Harbour player, Edward Lau. “I’ve gained good experience so far from training with different teams, and I’m looking forward training with them again next month as this will help me improve more,” said Cheng.
About to travel to Thailand, courtesy of a BWF player scholarship is North Harbour’s Edward Lau. Badminton Oceania, in conjunction with the Badminton World Federation provide scholarships to selected players in order to assist with the cost of overseas training and accommodation for a five-week period, with this being at the Banthongyord Club in Thailand.
Edward leaves New Zealand in late August and heads straight into his first international tournament on his way to Thailand; the XPORA Indonesia International Challenge 2023. The training aspect of the scholarship begins at the Banthongyord Club on 4 September through to 7 October. During this period, Lau will play at the Toyota Gazoo Racing Thailand International Series 2023 in singles and men’s doubles with Cheng.
After leaving Thailand, Lau will travel to Australia to compete at the YONEX Bendigo International 2023 followed by the Sydney International 2023 before returning home in time for the New Zealand Tour Finals starting 29 October.
Photo Credit: Lin Dan Cup Badminton Open