Badminton Life

Minnows Hoping for Beijing Run

While the major badminton powers are finalising their squads for the Beijing Olympics, players from other countries with no real culture for the sport are also trying to secure their ticket to the Games.

The badminton governing bodies for Australia, New Zealand and Ireland were last week busy putting forward names for the Olympics, though the final decision would remain with the respective country's Olympic committee.

The Aussies, who have never won an Olympic medal, are hoping to send five players to Beijing. They are men's doubles pair Glenn Warfe and Ross Smith, women's doubles pairing of Tania Luiz and Eugenia Tanaka and men's singles player Stuart Gomez.

All of these shuttlers qualified for the Games in August, based on world rankings.

Warfe, Smith and Luiz represented Australia at the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne but it will be the first time they, along with the others, will play for their country at the Olympics, should they be approved.

Badminton Australia chief executive Paul Brettell knows that Australia will struggle against the Asian powers. Brettell himself was once chief executive of the Hong Kong Sports Institute so he is well aware of the kind of standards that the Aussie players will be up against.

The players were now awaiting formal endorsement by the Australian Olympic Committee.

Also hoping to gain Olympic committee sanction are players from New Zealand, which has proposed four representatives for the Beijing Games.

Badminton New Zealand has put forward the names of John Moody and Rachel Hindley for the men's and women's singles respectively and mixed-doubles pair Craig Cooper and Renee Flavell.

The Kiwis are nervous because the Olympic committee has already turned down a nomination from the table tennis association.

Meanwhile, Ireland are hoping that 19-year-old singles player Chloe Magee will be approved by the Olympic Council of Ireland.

Magee has benefited from a re-allocation of Olympic places by the BWF but it still depends on the final decision of the Council. The Irish have already had Scott Evans qualify for the Beijing Games and they are hoping Donegal-born Magee can join him.

Ireland have not had an Olympic shuttler since the 2000 Games in Sydney when Sonya McGinn flew the Irish colours.

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