The VICTOR Oceania Championships 2022 will feature 97 players from four member associations: Australia, Fiji, New Zealand and Tahiti.
The global COVID-19 pandemic has certainly created barriers for players to travel, meaning the draw is heavily dominated by Australian and New Zealand players. However, Sristi Nadan and Jared Chung will be representing Fiji with pride as they travel to Melbourne unaccompanied by a coach to compete in their respective singles and doubles disciplines, and teaming up with each other in the mixed doubles draw.
Sristi first competed in the Junior Continental Championships in 2017 before tackling the Open Championships in 2019. This year, she will return to the Oceania stage in Melbourne as she hopes to extend her playing experience which she ultimately hopes will inspire the children she coaches through Shuttle Time sessions in local communities throughout Fiji.
Learn more about her playing ambitions and the impacts she hopes to make through badminton in this Q+A:
Oceania Champs will be your first Int’l tournament since Oceania Champs ’19. What has your badminton journey looked like since then?
“Coming back for Oceania games is a pleasant experience. As you are all aware, there was a pandemic in 2020, which resulted in numerous restrictions and lockdowns. I stay in Lautoka and due to lockdown there was no movement so I practiced at home with my family to keep up with my training. In the same year, I was appointed as badminton’s development officer, and once the lockdown was lifted, I was able to maintain my contact with the sport by instructing children in remote areas. It was difficult to train because Lautoka lacked a good badminton court. We were able to obtain a training facility in Nadi, and I’ve been able to maintain my training while juggling my work schedule. After such a long time, we finally held a competition in February of this year, which helped me maintain my stamina.”
“Though it is a hardship, I am really committed to badminton and am able to stay up with it.”
How did COVID-19 affect your training/badminton ambitions?
“Training had been challenging for Covid-19, and being in lockdown had made it impossible to keep up at times. At home in the backyard with my family, I maintained some level of training. It was fortunate that after the lockdown was released, I was able to jump immediately back into proper training. Being under lockdown forced me to rethink my priorities.”
This will be your third Oceania Champs (having entered one junior and one Open before):
Reflecting on previous OC Tournaments, what have you learnt from the experiences?
“When participating in a match, I believe that having a game strategy is critical. Prior to a game, I’ve also learned to be more concentrated and work on my mindset.”
What are your ambitions in this year’s tournament?
“My goal for this year’s event is to gain a better understanding of badminton. I’d like to gain more experience and improve my talents, and what better way to achieve so than to compete in an international tournament.”
What motivates you the most to keep training and competing at this level?
“For me personally the love that I have for badminton is a great motivation In itself. Together with this, playing at this level helps me in acquiring new skills which is plus point. Another aspect of this tournament for me is that I’m able to share my experience with children that I coach in my journey as a development officer.”
What are you overall badminton aims for 2022 – and beyond? (e.g. Pacific Games??)
“My overall aim for badminton as a player is to develop my skills more and be able to participate in more international tournaments. I also hope to promote badminton as a sport in my country and encourage more players to participate. I was really looking forward to the pacific games this year but fiji badminton won’t be sending a team. However, I am hopeful that I will be given more opportunities in the future.”
What does it mean for you to able to represent Fiji?
“It is a great honor for me to be able to represent my country. It is a source of pride to represent one’s country, and being able to do so for my small country is an incredible feeling.”