Meet the winners from the YONEX Waikato International 2019

Players from around the world congregated in Hamilton, New Zealand, this week for the Badminton World Federation (BWF) International Series event – the YONEX Waikato International 2019.

With a handful of players celebrating back-to-back finals, following on from last week’s YONEX North Harbour International in Auckland, Vietnamese men’s singles star and the young Chinese men’s doubles pair sweep the gold medals from New Zealand, while up-and-coming talent from China and Japan claim their first International Series title.

Men’s singles

For two weekends in a row, Tien Minh Nguyen and Gao Zhengze meet in the finals on the international badminton circuit. Tien, currently ranked 67 in the world and with a bronze medal from the 2013 World Championships attached to his name, sits 222 places higher than the younger Chinese player.

Similarly, Gao celebrated a bronze medal at the 2017 World Junior Championships and showed pure determination in today’s final. The youngster was the only player to bring an end to Tien’s two-game winning streak from the last two tournaments, but it was not enough to stop the 36-year-old Vietnamese legend from taking the gold medal home.

I’m so happy to be Champion again. I feel this country is very lucky for me, so I like it. The result is great and I plan to come back every year and play.” – Tien Minh Nguyen

I was a lot more prepared this week as I studied last week’s match. I didn’t do as well in the last game which is where Tien’s experience came through. I have definitely learnt a lot from the game and hopefully I’ll be more prepared for next time” – Gao Zhengze




Tien Minh Nguyen [1]


Gao Zhengze


14-21 21-16 21-17

Women’s singles

In an all-Chinese final, Wang and Wu were both competing in their first BWF International Series final. Wu returned to the court following her emphatic win over the first seed from Vietnam in the semi-finals. Similarly, today’s final was another three-game thriller, but it was Wu’s slightly older compatriot and team mate, Wang Siqi, who stormed ahead in the third and final game to secure the win.

I didn’t play too well at the beginning, but I managed to pick it up in the second one. I sticked to a plan and was pushing my opponent to the limits and just carried the same energy to the third round which helped me to win the game.” – Wang Siqi

I played well in the first game, but I lost my concentration from the second game onwards. I’m hoping to gain more experience on the international level so that I can keep improving.” – Wu Yuqi




Wang Siqi


Wu Yuqi


18-21 21-17 21-13

Men’s doubles

The eighteen-year-olds from China, Xuheng and Zhang, were celebrating back-to-back finals after winning the YONEX North Harbour International last week. The pair saw off the challenge from the Australian first seeds, Simon Leung and Mitchell Wheller, in three close games yesterday and brought the same confidence to the finals to overcome the big-hitting second seeds from Singapore.

“We learnt a lot of things in this competition, especially the standard of speed and strength which we will work on over the coming months.” – Han Zhuo Toh

“The Chinese were very strong. We hope we can match the skills in the future.” – Wen Xing Abel Tan

We felt a lot of pressure before the match today so we studied our opponents. We were behind in the first game but we stuck to the game plan and we’re very happy with the end result.” – Xuheng Zhuany




Xuheng Zhuanyi/Zhang Binrong


Wen Xing Abel Tan/Han Zhuo Toh [2]


21-17 21-10

Women’s doubles

Both pairs are celebrating back-to-back final appearances after breaking onto the BWF International Series scene last week at the YONEX North Harbour International. All four players displayed exceptional skills and resilience to compete on the senior stage, brushing past their seeded opponents along the way.

In yesterday’s semi-finals, Jiajia and Fangfang saw off the challenge from the Australian first seeds, Setyana Mapasa and Gronya Somerville and today, they went one better to avenge their teammates from last week’s final to take the win in two games.

“I’m very happy that we won. Our connection was better than last week and we would like to thank our coaches.” – Li Jiajia

“We were upset we didn’t do as well today. We made a lot of unforced errors” – Yang Jiayi

I felt like my partner had to carry me through the game today” – Pan Hanxiao




Li Jiajia/Hou Fangfang


Pan Hanxiao/Yang Jiayi


21-12 21-17

 Mixed doubles

The 18-year-olds from Japan are riding the wave of success following a successful year on the BWF Junior International circuit in 2018. The pair went one better today to win their first BWF International Series event against the first seeds from Australia, and reining regional Champions, Simon Wing Hang Leung and Gronya Somerville.

“I brought my best abilities to the court today and obviously we’re very happy to have won the overall match.” – Natsu Saito

“We had a strategy which we implemented well to win today. We hope to take this experience to Vietnam, Osaka and other International Series.” – Hiroki Midorikawa

This is our first real match playing together as a mixed doubles pair against a pair of that ability which is great experience heading into the future tournaments” – Gronya Somerville




Hiroki Midorikawa/Natsu Saito


Simon Wing Hang Leung/Gronya Somerville [1]


21-15 21-13

All results from the tournament are available to view on Tournament Software.


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