The Northern Territory news Wed 7 Oct 2015
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WEDNESDAY OCTOBER 7 2015 SPORT 45 V1 - NTNE01Z01MA LEO SCHLINK Northern Territory badminton representative players Bernadete Aniceto (left) and Elysia Viravong have returned from the Australian Under-15 Championships in Adelaide Picture: KATRINA BRIDGEFORD A 12-YEAR-OLD girl made Northern Territory badminton history at the Australian Under-15 Championships in Adelaide late last month. Bernadete Aniceto became the first Territorian female to earn a national ranking thanks to her respective quarter-final and semi-final singles and doubles efforts at the championships. Only two other Territorians both males have ever been ranked nationally and that was 22 years ago at under-19 level. Eight players are ranked in each gender and age group, with Aniceto earning the No.5 slot in the under-15 girls on the basis of her performances this year. All four players ranked above Aniceto will be too old to contest next years Australian Under-15 Championships in Darwin. Even more special for the Territory was Anicetos doubles run came alongside 13year-old clubmate Elysia Viravong, who is also making her mark at national level. Anicetos and Viravongs coach, Saidina Pawero, said their results were exciting for them and for NT badminton as a whole. Its good they rose to the occasion and it meant a lot to them they made the semis together, Pawero said. There was a coach from Adelaide who has worked with three Olympians and he saw the potential in these two and wanted to work with them. They wanted to do well at this tournament, and games started at 9am and they had to be at the stadium by 8am, but I made sure they were up at 6.15am eating breakfast and there were no complaints. The hunt is now on for a maiden national title, something Pawero believes is within the girls reach in the next 12 months. Aniceto said the fact the championships was in Darwin this time next year could be decisive for them. I just want to win it, Aniceto said. When we went down to Adelaide they were like, Oh, NT youngster registers first in badminton my God, its boiling and we were like, Oh, my Gosh, its freezing, so probably the temperature will be our biggest advantage. Viravong is not far off a national ranking either, evidenced by her three-set, 45minute, second-round tussle with an opponent announced post-championships as the No.6 under-15 girl. She hopes the Darwin event in 2016 will help attract more Territorians to take up badminton. Aniceto and Viravong are also in line to represent Australia at the Singapore Youth International next month. Ill definitely be nervous if I get picked, Viravong said. Well have to prepare mentally, because the players there are a lot stronger than the local people in Darwin. Aniceto, who said her backhand and temperament still needed work, was confident she would handle the situation well if she earned a call-up for the November 16-22 event. Anyone interested in playing badminton can attend junior training on Mondays and Wednesdays between 5pm and 7pm at NT Badminton Association, 21 Albatross St, Darwin. MARC McGOWAN Ill definitely be nervous if I get picked WALLY Masur will not be an applicant for the Davis Cup captaincy, paving the way for Lleyton Hewitt next year. A former long-serving Cup player before coaching and then captaining Australia, Masur yesterday ruled himself out of contention. Masur retirement opens door for Hewitt as Davis Cup captain Im not going to nomi nate, the US Open semi-finalist said before hailing Hewitts experience, enthusiasm and energy. Lleytons got unbelievable experience, enthusiasm and energy, theres no doubt hes a great candidate. If the young guys we have at the moment can feed off Lleyton and learn from him, the sky is the limit. Were in such an interesting spot right now with (Nick) Kyrgios, (Thanasi) Kokkinakis and (Bernard) Tomic. Theyre all probably three years away from their best tennis. If Lleyton can harness that, its going to be great for Australian tennis. The owner of virtually every Australian Davis Cup playing record, Hewitt, 34, would become only the seventh man to captain the nation in 66 years if he is selected. Due to retire at Januarys Australian Open, he is poised to follow Harry Hopman, Neale Fraser, John Newcombe, John Fitzgerald and Pat Rafter and Masur as captain. Hewitt was initially anointed as the man to take over from Masur but criticism of the process forced TA to clarify its position. It has now thrown open the position, advertising the role on its website. The application window closes on Sunday. Businessman Don Argus, TA president Steve Healy, vice-president Chris Freeman, Todd Woodbridge and Newcombe sit on the selection committee. Australia will play archrival the United States in the firstround next season. A venue for what is likely to be a sellout tie has not been announced. GET UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL WITH THE 2015/16 NTFL SEASON Dont miss any of the action this NTFL season. The Ultimate NTFL season guide for 2015/16 includes season fxtures and previews for all teams including the womens league, and is yours free in this Saturday's NT News.