AUCKLAND, New Zealand – Tahiti and New Caledonia have advanced to Stage 2 of the Oceania Mixed Team Championships at X-TRM North Harbour Centre in Auckland, New Zealand, after wins over Guam and Tonga today.
New Caledonia downed Tonga 4-1 but the tie was a lot closer than the scoreline suggests with one key match going to three games in the Men’s Doubles between the young pairing of Yohan De Geoffroy and Ronan Ho-Yagues and Lauti Naaniumotu and Metuisela Talakai Vainikolo.
De Geoffroy-Ho-Yagues won a thrilling first game 21-14 before Naaniumotu-Vainikolo took out the second with a stylish 21-9 win to set up a nail-biting third game. De Geoffroy, who stands well over 185cm, and Ho-Yagues – the youngest and shortest player in the tournament at 14 years and 165cm – prevailed 21-14 in an action-packed repeat of the first game.
De Geoffroy had earlier combined with Soizick Ho-Yagues to beat Naaniumotu and Litea Lupe Moe Valu Tatafu in the Mixed Doubles 21-18, 21-19, in another edge of your seat encounter only for Vainikolo to down Ronan Yo-Hagues 22-20, 21-15 in the Men’s Singles.
New Caledonia wrapped up the tie when the experienced Johanna Kou and Wallis’ player, Dgenyva Matauli – making her first appearance in the competition – downed Lusia Ki Taulanga Faukafa and Tatafu in the Women’s Doubles, 21-10, 21-9.
New Caledonia now face New Zealand in the first tie of Stage 2 and coach Fabian Nadmimin praised his team and said it was important his players enjoyed the opportunity before them.
“I was very pleased with the performance of our team but particularly the level of our young players which was the difference for us today.
“It was not easy for us to win, particularly in the Men’s Doubles. Yohan and Ronan had good chemistry in a tough match.
“It was important we gave other players a chance to play for the balance of our team but the game with New Zealand will be very hard. We will have to give our best but it is important that also enjoy the opportunity on-court,” Nadmimin said.
Tonga manager Leody C. Vainikolo said it was a tough match but there was reason for optimism.
“We didn’t win but we performed well. The team feels they played well and we are giving our best by maximising the benefit for us by being here.
“The Men’s Doubles was so close but we can now gauge where we are and what we need to do to improve,” she said.
In the morning’s other tie, Tahiti comfortably accounted for Guam by 5-0 with straight forward wins in the Mixed Doubles for Aurelie Bouttin and Leo Cucuel over Emily Yang and David Yao 21-4, 21-14, Quentin Bernaix over Sunardi Li 21-6, 21-11 in the Men’s Singles, Chloe Segrestan over Michelle Kremper 21-15, 21-10 in the Women’s Singles.
There were also comprehensive victories in the Men’s Doubles for Hugo Sautereau and Kyliam Scilloux as they brushed by Li and Yao 21-12, 21-16, while in the Women’s Doubles for Aurelie and Coralie Bouttin were too good for Grace and Sarah Cai as they won 21-15, 21-6.
Tahiti’s victory was comfortable but they face a formidable opponent in Stage 2 when they take on Australia. Senior player Cucuel was pleased with his team’s form but realistic about the task ahead.
“There were some good games and Guam provided good opposition for us so it was good for everyone to have a competitive game ahead of this afternoon.
“Everyone is very excited to play Australia, it is a great opportunity for us and it will be a great experience,” he said.
Guam’s Sunardi Li was philosophical about what the results meant for his team but he was adamant the Pacific Player Development Camp and competition made for a valuable experience.
“We’ve put up a team for the first time and it’s great to get to know players from Tonga, Tahiti and New Caledonia. This has allowed us to know where we are at, where can get to and how we can get there.
“It’s been a big help for the federation in planning for the future. The intensity and high level competition has been valuable. It was a great camp Oceania Badminton put together, it’s a well-run tournament and we’ve enjoyed our time,” he said.
The Oceania Mixed Team Championship Stage 2 begins at 4.00pm NZST today when Australia face New Caledonia and host nation New Zealand take on Tahiti.
Oceania Mixed Team Championship – Stage 1
Results available here
Standings available here
Oceania Mixed Team Championship – Stage 2
Wednesday 17 February
4.00pm NZST Australia v Tahiti
4.00pm NZST New Zealand v New Caledonia
Thursday 18 February
10.00am NZST Australia v New Caledonia
10.00am NZST New Zealand v Tahiti
4.00pm NZST Australia v New Zealand
4.00pm NZST New Caledonia v Tahiti
(Men): Matthew Chau, Michael Fariman, Anthony Joe, Robin Middleton, Sawan Serasinghe.
(Women): Hsuan-Yu Wendy Chen, Leanne Choo, Joy Lai, Gronya Somerville.
(Men): David Yao, Sunardi Li and John Conducto.
(Women): Michelle Kremper, Grace Cai, Sarah Cai, Emily Yang.
(Men): Kevin James Dennerly-Minturn, Oliver Leydon-Davis, Asher Richardson, Dylan Soedjasa, Niccolo Tagle.(Women): Michelle Chan Ky, Vicki Copeland, Susannah Leydon-Davis, Anna Rankin, Danielle Tahuri, Deborah Yin.
(Men): Yohan De Geoffroy, Ronan Ho-Yagues, Thomas Lahaut, Loic Mennesson and Fabian Nadmimin.(Women): Soizick Ho-Yagues, Johanna Kou, Dgenyva Matauli and Cecilia Moussy.
(Men): Leo Cucuel, Michael Ajonc, Quentin Bernaix, Hugo Sautereau, Kyliam Scilloux.
(Women): Aurelie Bouttin, Coralie Bouttin, Chloe Segrestan, Pauline Segrestan.
(Men): Lauti Naaniumotu, Metuisela Vainikolo.
(Women): Lusia Ki Taulanga, Litea Lupe Moe Valu Tatafu.
Oceania Men’s and Women’s Team Championships
19-21 February, 2016
Auckland, New Zealand