A TASMANIAN under-17 team will be heading across the Tasman tomorrow for a week of top-class badminton.
To be held in Auckland, the June Bevan Trophy is a team event featuring up to three matches each day and will be followed by the four-day Australasian individual championships.
Coached by Rodney Lockett, the Tasmanian team consists of Sam Lockett and Josh Partridge, from the North, Aaron Harvey and Montana Viney, from the North-West and Alec Avellana, Ben Oakley, Rebecca Green, Siobhan Duhig and Rebekah Thomas, from the South.
Manager Steven Partridge said they will be up against 14 other teams including eight from New Zealand, two from both Western Australia and NSW and one each from South Australia and Victoria.
"Traditionally, New Zealand, WA and NSW are very strong," Partridge said.
"Some of the states have up to 2000 kids trying out for their teams hence the level of competition is very high.
"While we don't get anywhere near that amount, the Tassie kids have really improved thanks to the Tasmanian Badminton Association talent identification squad where coaches and players give up their weekend once a month to train the kids in skills, fitness, nutrition, recovery and umpiring.
"This also gives the kids the chance to build camaraderie before being throw together as a state team."
The Tasmanian team, which will be accompanied by umpire Pauline Dobson, ranges in age from 11 to 15 with Josh Partridge, Lockett (both 14) and Harvey, 15, also due to represent the state in Western Australia in July at the under-19 national championships.