Tuesday 21 February 2023 | Written by Al Williams | Published in Badminton, Sports
It was down to Australia in the end who captured their sixth successive mixed team title and eighth overall at the Oceania Badminton Championships after six wins from six games
It was the first time a team from the Cook Islandsentered the VICTOR Oceania Open Mixed Team Championships - a three-day event held in Auckland over the weekend.
Cook Islands’ entry was testament to the collaboration between Badminton Oceania and Badminton Cook Islands over player development initiatives and coach development opportunities which helped them reach this milestone, a statement from Badminton Oceania said.
Thomas Mereana-Ngauru, Badminton Cook Islands president, told Cook Islands News last week:
“Now everyone in our country can see that our hard work is finally producing results. I hope we are an example to other countries. It’s been hard and it’s been a lot of work. Thanks to Oceania for pushing us and helping us, if it wasn’t for the team at Oceania we wouldn’t be here, we feel so lucky.”
Hosts New Zealand had won their previous five matches but were thrashed 5-0 by Australia in a one-sided decider at the Auckland Badminton Stadium on Sunday.
With both teams holding unbeaten records in the tournament, it looked set to be a thrilling top-of-the-table clash but Australia proved too strong.
New Zealand won the opening game in the first contest only for Kenneth Zhe Hooi Choo and Gronya Somerville to come from behind to beat Edward Lau and Anona Pak 18-21, 21-14, 21-14.
Jack Yu doubled Australia’s lead with a 21-15, 21-18 victory over Abhinav Manota before Tiffany Ho ensured there was no way back for New Zealand.
Ho lost the first game against Shaunna Li before coming back to triumph 11-21, 21-9, 21-10.
Kaitlyn Ea and Somerville teamed up to defeat Erena Calder-Hawkins and Pak 21-17, 19-21, 21-12 before Choo and Ming Chuen Lim saw off Manota and Jack Wang 27-25, 21-16.
The bronze medal went to New Caledonia after they overcame Tahiti 3-2.
Remi Rossi put Tahiti 2-1 in front courtesy of his 21-7, 21-9 trouncing of Lucas Juillot before New Caledonia turned things around.
Dgenyva Matauli and Marine Souviat defeated May Gaymann and Jenny Maho 21-11, 21-13 before Juillot responded to his singles loss to win 21-15, 21-12 along with Jeremy Lemaitre against Glen Lefoll and Kaihei Teiefitu.
Significant steps in Badminton Cook Islands’ journey to date include: