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New Zealand hold high hopes of success

24 July 2002

New Zealand’s badminton team have arrived in Manchester at the peak of their game after a 10-day training camp with some of the best players in China.

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China are the current world champions and the New Zealand team travelled to Qingdao, on the eastern coast, to train with the Shangdong provincial squad.

“Shangdong are the best provincial side in China and the training was excellent,” said New Zealand head coach Graeme Robson

“In addition we have found it much easier to adjust to the time zone coming in from the East rather than the West, as we would normally, so we are ready to go,” said Robson.

Moving on from China, the team travelled to the Netherlands, where they sparred with some of Europe’s leading players.

Sara Runesten-Petersen (NZL), a Danish-born doubles player, is hopeful her first Commonwealth Games will be a successful one.

“We’ve been training hard and we hope to win our group, although, it will be tough to beat India,” said Runesten-Petersen.

The team left New Zealand three weeks ago and spirits are kept high by a few practical jokers in the camp.

John Gordon (NZL) and Chris Blair (NZL) arrived in Manchester free from the restrictions of underwear after their team-mates hid their boxer shorts while staying in Amsterdam.

Fortunately, for any spectators planning on coming to watch the badminton in Bolton, they have since been re-united with their pants.

Info News Service/sh/sdb

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