Tahiti have won bronze at the Oceania Mixed Team Championships in Auckland, New Zealand, today after a shock 5-0 win over New Caledonia at the X-TRM North Harbour Centre today.
The Mixed Doubles saw Leo Cucuel and Aurelie Bouttin take immediate control of their tie with experienced New Caledonian pair Loic Mennesson and Johanna Kou from start to finish, winning 21-14, 21-14.
Cucuel, who said prior to the competition that Tahiti’s target was bronze, saw that dream come closer in the Men’s Singles when Quentin Bernaix defeated Thomas Lahaut 21-16, 21-16, to hand the French Polynesians a 2-0 lead.
In the Women’s Singles, 13-year-old Chloe Segrestan caused a sensation when she beat New Caledonia’s experienced Cecilia Moussy. Moussy won the first game comfortably 21-6 but the match turned completely when Segrestan stormed back in the second to notch a thrilling 22-20 win.
With momentum hers, Segrestan sealed a 23-21 victory in the third to give Tahiti an unassailable 3-0 advantage and an historic first ever bronze medal.
The rout continued in the The Men’s Doubles when Cucuel and Hugo Sautereau beat Lahaut and Mennesson 21-15, 21-17. The Women’s Doubles saw Tahiti’s Aurelie and Coralie Bouttin defeat Kou and Moussy 16-21, 21-15, 21-16, to rubber-stamp a memorable evening for Tahiti.
Chloe Segrestan was delighted with her own performance but paid tribute to her team-mates and coach Cucuel.
“I’m very proud of everyone in the team but I am also very happy with myself as I don’t turn 14 years old until Monday. To win a first ever bronze medal for Tahiti is special.
“The first game was difficult for me but I decided in the second that I had nothing to lose and the pressure shifted to my opponent.
“The experience of my opponent didn’t bother me, I felt the support of my team-mates and the objective to win the tie was reached,” she said.
Cucuel reserved praise for Segrestan.
“I’m very proud of everyone, they didn’t get overwhelmed by the pressure. We expected a closer match, not to win 5-0.
“Chloe played very well and also Aurelie and Coralie in the Women’s Doubles,” he said.
His opposite number Fabian Nadmimin said there were no excuses for the margin of defeat for New Caledonia.
“We were not mentally strong enough today and fatigue is no excuse – too many experienced players did not perform.
“Tahiti were in a different gear mentally for this tie and we didn’t match that. Overall, the feeling is one of disappointment,” he said.