Mixed Team Event podium at the Samoa 2019 Pacific Games. Photo Credit: Pacific Games News Service, Trina Edwards
Badminton has been part of the Pacific Games sporting programme in four editions since 2003 – Fiji (2003), New Caledonia (2011) and Samoa (2007 and 2019) – with a mixed team event and individual tournament taking place in each.
The multi-sport Games are held every four years with ‘Mini Games’ (lesser number of sports offered) held 2 years after the Pacific Games, also on a four-year cycle. This year, badminton will feature at the Pacific Mini Games for the first time in the Northern Marianas 2022 edition (rescheduled from its original date in 2021), taking place from 20-25 June 2022.
Two-time mixed team champions, New Caledonia, will enter the tournament as top seeds based on the world ranking points of their players, followed by Tahiti as second seeds.
In 2019, the highly anticipated final game between New Caledonia and Tahiti came to an electrifying finish. New Caledonia’s narrow 3-2 victory caused a three-way tie for the gold, with Fiji also in contention. The countback awarded Fiji with the gold medal, followed by New Caledonia (silver) and Tahiti (bronze). Fiji won’t be competing in 2022 and Tahiti will be seeking vengeance for their bronze finish.
Overall, there are six countries competing, with Wallis and Futuna (Badminton Oceania’s newest member association) excited to make their international badminton team debut. They will open their campaign on day one against the top seeds.
Meanwhile, Guam will field a team (last seen at the VICTOR Oceania Mixed Team Championships 2019), fresh from training with Ian Piencenaves (part of our player development programme) and exhibition matches with their neighbours and hosts, Northern Marianas. Similarly, the Solomon Islands will go one better than their Pacific Games 2019 appearance, where their three players only competed in the individual competition. Guam and Solomon Islands will be competing against each other in the first round of the round-robin-format competition.
The hotly contested match between New Caledonia and Tahiti will be the last tie to take place, on Wednesday 22 June.
Finally, tournament hosts Northern Marianas are thrilled to be competing in front of a home crowd after making their Pacific Games debut in Samoa 2019. Three years ago, they were commended for the self-sufficient methods including YouTube videos and self-led exercises (before the age of COVID) to coach themselves and learn the skills to compete. Since then, the association has expanded, and the sport increased in popularity as they took advantage of the BWF MA Grants to support grassroots programmes and have taken part in Badminton Oceania’s player development programmes. There skills will be put to the test straight away as have to take on the second seeds from Tahiti in their opening game.
Play commences from 9am (local time, GMT+10) on Monday 20 June 2022. You can follow the latest updates on Badminton Oceania’s Facebook page and website. Moreover, you can follow the draw and view seedings on Tournament Software – available on this link bit.ly/PMG22Team
The draws and seedings for the Individual events will be available next week.